QOnly one gene dominating in GMO crop will be sown by farmers for many years.wont it make the other genes disappear and will end the bio diversity one day ,disturbing the whoe ecosystem ecosystem

Only one gene dominating in GMO crop will be sown by farmers for many years.wont it make the other genes disappear and will end the bio diversity one day ,disturbing the whoe ecosystem ecosystem

AExpert Answer

There is actually a great deal of genetic diversity among the hybrids and varieties that have also had a gene added by genetic engineering. Once an engineered version of the plant is developed, it goes back into the regular breeding system which is used to develop lines that are adapted to different soils and climates. Now from a pest evolution perspective it isn’t wise to depend on only one Bt gene for insect resistance or one gene for tolerance to one herbicide. That tends to select for pests which become unaffected by those single traits. That is why it is important to keep coming up with new genes to alternate or combine and also to pursue “integrated pest management” combining chemical, biological and genetic strategies. Genetic engineering has greatly benefited farmers in the few crops where it has been approved. It could be a great solution for many other crops that are harder and slower to breed (e.g. coffee, grapes, olives, potatoes, apples…). The ideal would be to tap into the genetic diversity that exists in the wild versions of these crops to move just the pest resistance genes without having to mess with all the other thousands of genes that are the basis of why the cultivated form of the species is desirable. That has been achieved and belatedly approved in the case of the “Innate Potato” which has a disease resistance gene from a wild potato from the Andes. Wisely the company that has commercialized these potatoes strongly recommends that the growers still use some fungicides during the season to minimize the chance of the pest evolving resistance to that genetic trait. The technology to discover and move desirable genes has become vastly less expensive today, but whether it will allow farmers to access those traits is mostly blocked by activist’s ability to prevent brand sensitive companies in the food manufacturing and retail industries from allowing that to happen or to inform consumers about why that is a good idea.

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