QWhen did your company, or any company or individual connected with Monsanto, begin the practice of genetic modification? What were some of the first things genetically modified and for what purpose?

When did your company, or any company or individual connected with Monsanto, begin the practice of genetic modification? What were some of the first things genetically modified and for what purpose?

AExpert Answer

First, let me mention that details on the history of crop modification can be found in the Explore section of GMO Answers. And, as described in the History of Crop Modification reel, plants have been genetically modified through conventional breeding for centuries. 

 

The first use of biotechnology involving transformation and recombinant DNA technology, or what is commonly referred to as GM, at Monsanto was research work with E. coli for producing proteins in the laboratory in the 1970s.  This use of genetic modification for generating proteins is best known for medical uses, such as insulin for diabetics and growth hormone for growth insufficiency. In addition, other organisms, such as microbes, have been modified for common fermentation uses, such as cheese and beer production.  Monsanto does not commercialize any products related to these uses of biotechnology.

 

The first modification of plants through the use of genetic engineering at Monsanto was petunias in the 1980s.  These were not marketed but were used for research purposes, due to the fact that they could be transformed and the genetics were relatively well known.  The first major GM plant products commercialized in 1996 were Roundup Ready soybeans and Bollgard cotton. Roundup Ready soybeans were developed to provide growers with a tool to more effectively control weeds, while Bollgard cotton was developed to protect plants from bollworm and certain other insect pests.

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
Answer:
Posted on October 26, 2017
An "LMO" (Living Modified Organism) is basically a GMO that is alive and capable of passing on its genes to a subsequent generation. In most situations, the terms LMO and GMO are essentially synonymous, but neither term is really used by most biotechnologists! More on that below.    The term LMO was used in the Cartegena Protocol (basically a big document that came out of an international convention several years ago, more detailed info here.)   The reason we as... Read More
Answer:
Posted on October 6, 2017
Biotechnology as a discipline focuses on understanding molecular biology and has applications in medicine/health, environmental science, industrial products and agriculture. Biotechnology is widely used in all these sectors. I will focus my answer on agricultural biotechnology.   In many countries (e.g., Brazil, Canada, India, and the United States) a significant amount of agricultural research, especially basic research in molecular biology, is conducted by governmental agricultural... Read More