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Alyssa Freiman

on 13 June 2013

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Transcript of GMO

Genetically Modified Organisms
A segment of DNA is extracted from one organism (the donor) & is spliced into a recipient organism's preexisting DNA (the recipient)
Genetic Modification
GM foods should be labeled
Consumers have a right to know the origin of their food & if genes have been altered
There should be stricter regulations for safe GM food - gov agencies
Future Recommendations
The Basics of Genetics
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
- found in the nucleus of every cell
Control-center of the cell
Carries genetic information
Consists of 4 reoccurring units - nucleotides/bases
- specific sequence of bases that functions as a unit
Code proteins
Unit of heredity
Responsible for numerous characteristics
Methods to achieve DNA exchange:
Electro/chemical poration
- direct DNA uptake by host cells
Creates pores in the cell membrane to allow entry of new gene directly
- of DNA directly into host cells using a fine glass needle
- utilizing a type of bio gun to fire tiny metal particles coated with DNA of interest into host cells
Employing plasmids found in bacteria/virus
- vehicle to carry the DNA into host cells - recombinant DNA.
Organism whose genome has been engineered in the laboratory to favor the expression of desired physiological traits or the production of desired biological products
Role of GMOs in everyday life:
Medicine and research
Environmental management
Genetically Modified Foods
1st approved for human consumption in the U.S. in 1995
GM crops:
Resist certain pests, diseases, environmental conditions, chemical treatments, or have increased nutritional content.
Ex: Engineered for resistance to a specific chemical- herbicide-resistant crops (HRC) - enable effective control of weeds - only resistant crops survive
Controversial - crops encourage increased application of chemicals to the soil
Numerous scientific panels (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
concluded that consumption is safe.
Including GM foods with genetic materials from distantly related organisms
Foods containing GM ingredients DO NOT require special labeling in the U.S.
Groups lobby to change this ruling
Genetically Modified Foods
Public Opinion of GM Foods
Safety concerns are widespread
FDA acknowledges they conduct no safety studies before allowing them on the market
Rely on the word of biotech companies that these foods are safe
USDA long opposed mandatory labeling of GM foods
These foods so far bring NO NEW RISKS to human health or the environment
Roughly 70% of foods in U.S. contain some ingredients from genetically engineered crops (April 14, 2013 - Wall Street Journal)
Most ingredients = byproducts - oil, starch, sweeteners derived from 3 GMO crops: soybeans, corn, sugar beets
World's hungriest people can benefit from GM foods.
Ex: Asia - poor consumers don't get enough vitamin A from rice-only diets
Better protected against blindness if farmers plant "Golden Rice" (genetically engineered high beta-carotene content)
Nutrient enriched crops = address malnutrition
GM crops ensure worldwide food production with growing population
Farmers grow more reliable crops and make more profits
93% of a random national sample of 1,024 adults want the federal government to require GM labels.
-Telephone poll conducted by ABC News (June 2012)
Mark Bittman's New York Times blog poll (Feb 2011):
83% are bothered by the presence of GMOs in food.
89% want labeling of GM foods.
About 85% would like to see stricter regulations.
Polls - GM Foods
Loss of biodiversity
Reinforce genetic homogeneity
Promote large-scale monoculture crop production
Increase vulnerability of crops to climate change, pests, disease
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United States:
75% of plant genetic diversity = lost since 1990 as farmers grow genetically uniform mass-produced crops
Spread of transgenes
Affects on surrounding environment & species
Fitness of other species
Population dynamics
Promoting local extinctions, population explosions, & changes in community structure
Superweeds & superbugs
No specific tests designed to analyze the long-term safety of GM foods, little or independent research, no post-marketing follow-up analysis
Toxicity levels
Allergic Reactions
U.S. Gov Regulation
Divided among 3 regulatory agencies:
1. EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
Developed strongest regulations
Agency has authority over a subset of biotech crops - those characterized as pesticides
Requires developer to verify safety of toxin- conduct food-safety analysis - ensure food is not allergenic
2. FDA - Food & Drug Administration
Task = adapting existing statutes to govern new technology - safety of GM crops eaten by humans & animals
Considers most GM crops as “substantially equivalent” to non-GM crops
Oversees GM foods under largely voluntary consultation program
3. USDA - U.S. Department of Agriculture
All GM crops - regulated as potential "plant pests"
Weak, contorted, patchwork of regulations
CT = 1st state in nation to pass GMO labeling law (Monday, June 3rd, 2013)
Food advocates promoted laws to require labeling of GM foods - called on federal gov & state legislators
Lawmakers publicly endorsed strong bill
Lobbyists led by Monsanto Company & Biotechnology Industry Organization trade association - succeeded in neutering law
2 Requirements must be met for GMO labeling regime to begin in CT:
1. 4 other states, including 1 bordering CT must pass similar laws
2. Any combination of other Northeast region states with combined total pop of more than 20 million must also pass similar laws
Lobbying campaign = impact on lawmakers' decision
Vermont legislators = considering a GMO labeling bill
CT lawmakers were convinced to forgo a strong bill in favor of a law that does nothing on its own
Puts CT on the map as the first state to try labeling GM products
Law does nothing unless other states follow CT's lead.
Interest Groups
Publicly traded American multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation
"Company committed to improving lives by improving agriculture. It is our purpose to work alongside farmers, academics & society & find solutions to make agriculture
more sustainable." (www.monsanto.com)
Non GMO Project:
Non-profit 501(c)3 organization
"Offers North America's only third party verification
& labeling for non-GMO food & products."
Government-Business Partnership vs. Small Non Profit
Is Monsanto trying to make a brighter and more sustainable world?
Are they striving to improve the lives of millions all over the world or are they focused on improving their own company profits?
"More than 90 percent of soybean farms in America use Monsanto seeds" (Huffington Post - Business - May 16, 2013)
Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology poll of 1,000 American consumers was conducted between Sept. 26 and 29. The margin of error is about 3.1%.
June 14, 2012
ngm.nationalgeographic.com - Dwindling Food
Original Source: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA)
nutritionwonderland.com - GMOs: Does Regulation Ensure Safety?
Alyssa Freiman
(Fridovich-Keil, "Genetically Modified Organism," in Encyclopedia Britannica)
(Gertsberg, "Loss of Biodiversity and GM Crops," GMO Journal Food Safety Politics)
(Ronnie Cummins, "FDA Must Heed Consumers and Require Labeling of GMO-Laced Foods")
Original Source: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA)
(Paarlberg Robert,
"The World Needs Genetically Modified Foods," Wall Street Journal)
Bates Nursery and Garden Center
(Case Studies in Agricultural Biosecurity
Federation of American Scientists)
(1. Stephanie Strom, "Connecticut Approves Genetic Labeling," The New York Times
2. Sheets, "Army of Lobbyists’ Led by Monsanto")
(Sheets, "Army of Lobbyists’ Led by Monsanto")
ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=97567&page=1#.UbOJSr8rw5Q.

Case Studies in Agricultural Biosecurity. http://www.fas.org/biosecurity/education/dualuse-agriculture/2.-agricultural-biotechnology/us-regulation-of-genetically-engineered-crops.html.

Cummins, Ronnie. "FDA Must Heed Consumers and Require Labeling of GMO-Laced Foods." McClatchy Newspapers. SIRS Issues Researcher.

Fridovich-Keil, Judith L. "Genetically Modified Organism." In Encyclopedia Britannica, 1-4.

Gertsberg, Deniza. "Genetic Modification 101." GMO Journal Food Safety Politics. http://gmo-journal.com/2009/07/20/genetic-modification-101/.

"Loss of Biodiversity and Genetically Modified Crops." GMO Journal Food Safety Politics. http://gmo-journal.com/2011/06/17/loss-of-biodiversity-and-genetically-modified-crops/.

"6 Reasons to Avoid GMOs." GMO Journal Food Safety Politics. http://gmo-journal.com/2010/09/27/6-reasons-to-avoid-gmos/.

The Hartford Courant. "No Reason for Connecticut to go it Alone on GMO Labels."

H.R. 6527, 2013 Gen. Assem. (Conn.).

Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/16/hugh-grant-monsanto-elitism_n_3285378.html.

The New York Times. http://bittman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/gmo-poll-results-and-more/.

Robert, Paarlberg. "The World Needs Genetically Modified Foods." Wall Street Journal. http://sks.sirs.com/cgi-bin/hst-article-display?id=S165296-0-146&artno=0000350512&type=ART&shfilter=U&key=GMO&title=The%20World%20Needs%20Genetically%20Modified%20Foods&res=Y&ren=N&gov=N&lnk=N&ic=N.

Sheets, Connor Adams. "‘Army of Lobbyists’ Led by Monsanto Helped Neuter GMO Labeling Law in Connecticut." International Business Times.

Strom, Stephanie. "Connecticut Approves Genetic Labeling." The New York Times.

Union of Concerned Scientists. http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/environmental-effects-of.html.

The World's Biggest GMO Lovers. Photograph. http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/02/gmo-farming-crops-more-popular-than-ever-world-charts.

State of Connecticut
Substitute House Bill No. 6527
Public Act No. 13-183
Labeling requirement DOES NOT apply to...
Food not packaged for retail sale that is intended for immediate consumption
Certain farm products (ex: farmer's market)
Subjects knowing violators to a daily fine
Up to $1,000 per product
Law allows Department of Consumer Protection to place an embargo on, and possibly seize the food.
A person who misbrands or sells misbranded food - may be subject to criminal penalties
Consumer Protection
H.R. 6527, 2013 Gen. Assem. (Conn.).
Full transcript