QIt is my understanding as a graduate student in molecular anthropology that we consider anything that has been domesticated as a GMO, because domestication is one of the earliest forms of genetic engineering. I was wondering whenever I hear GMOs rightfull

It is my understanding as a graduate student in molecular anthropology that we consider anything that has been domesticated as a GMO, because domestication is one of the earliest forms of genetic engineering. I was wondering whenever I hear GMOs rightfully being defended, none of the experts ever point this out. Why is it?

AExpert Answer

I agree that it has essentially has been a lapse on scientists’ part not to express this “truth” whenever appropriate. I believe that allowing the definition of “GMO” to be limited to the use of modern scientific technologies has, over time, caused its placement within the context of genetic improvement to be lost. Especially for non-specialists, there seems to be a tendency to not understand that all foodstuff contain DNA and with no to few exceptions, were and are deliberately modified by humankind.
 
At first, the modifications were accomplished without understanding the underlying genetic mechanisms, but without doubt, they were deliberate. Later, we learned more and improvement became accelerated. Keep in mind that still, we do not understand everything about genetic function and gene expression and may never do so. It has dumbfounded some to hear that all organic crops are produced from bred (i.e., heavily modified) cultivars, often to the point of disbelief.
 
I present the following text on a slide in all of my presentations, and in fact, did so just this week at the annual meeting for the American Society of Horticultural Science.
 
Basic Tenets of Crop Improvement
 
1.    Without exception, all crops utilized for food and fiber were genetically improved by man.
2.    Crops like corn didn’t even exist in nature and only evolved through our deliberate actions.
3.    Improved crop plants have fed the world.
4.    Further improvement is urgently required to meet current and future demands.
 

Posted on November 17, 2017
When people refer to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), they are referring to precision plant breeding using genetic engineering. It allows plant breeders to take a desirable trait (like resistance to drought, insects, weeds, and disease) from one plant or organism and transfer it to the plant they want to improve, as well as make a change to an existing trait in a plant they are developing. You may have also heard of agricultural biotechnology or biotech seeds.... Read More
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Posted on October 25, 2017
This question was previously answered here.   We hope this answers your question. If you have any additional questions, please ask. Read More
Posted on October 17, 2017
While we cannot answer and speak to that specific situation, below is some information we think you might find helpful. There are a couple ways to genetically modify plants. This response explains the different ways plants are modified to produce a GMO. Kevin Folta, Interim Chair and Associate Professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at University of Florida, also created a video in this response that explains the difference between GMO cross breeding and cross pollination.  ... Read More

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