PART II: Genetically Modified Organisms
So now you know a lot of information about plants! However, one of the most common questions from both students and researchers is...... How does this relate to me and my life?!
Have you ever heard of the Flavr-Savr tomato? How about problems with hard
taco shells? What's in the cotton that you're wearing? These crops - and serveral
others - are examples of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. You will
investigate just what GMOs are, and explore the
pros and cons of changing plants.
There are three tasks that you must perform:
1. Understand what genetically modified organisms actually ARE, and what might be some good and some bad things about them! Click HERE for links to general information about GMOs.
2. Apply your knowledge - how might different groups of people in the world be impacted by GMOs?
Click on the image for your interest group for links to websites and information that will be relevant to your presentation and essay. REMEMBER TO USE OTHER RESOURCES - newspaper articles, magazines, and books will ALL be helpful! These links are just a guide - do your own web research as well!
3. Your final assignment for this project will be to write an essay describing your own personal opinion on the issues and debate surrounding GMOs. You must incorporate evidence that you gathered from your resources, and information that you learned during the debate. The following points must be addressed in your essay:
General information about GMOs:
Genetic engineering can have effects on insects. One case in particular involves Bt corn and monarch butterflies. Consider the risks that GMO’s can have on insect life, and how genetic modifications can be both beneficial and harmful for insects.
Losey, John E., “Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae,” Nature, May 20, 1999; 399: 214;
Hellmich, Richard L., et al., “Monarch larvae sensitivity to Bacillus thuringiensis-purified proteins and pollen,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 9, 2001; 98 (21): 11925–11930; and
Sears, Mark K., et al., “Impact of Bt corn pollen on monarch butterfly populations: A risk assessment,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 9, 2001; 98 (21): 11937–11942.
The above articles are complex and contain material beyond what you need to know. However, there is some useful material in them!
Consider the impact that genetic engineering has on the generation of crops. Issues that farmers face include increase supply of crops in third world countries, as well as ensuring that pests do not descimate their crops. At the same time, those against genetic engineering may not purchase crops, causing problems for farmers.
FDA/Government regulation and associations
(NOTE: this is NOT a link, you must type the address into the browser)
Concerned Public Citizens
Proteins can be allergens, meaning that genetically modified organisms that have foreign genetic material may cause issues for human health.
Hileman, Bette, “What’s hiding in transgenic foods?” Chemical & Engineering News, Jan 7, 2002, 20–22
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