Biotechnological procedures have been employed over eras to produce human's necessary foods. Using of microorganisms like bacteria and yeast have been done by earlier people without even knowing of their presence ( 2 ). Nowadays, there are only a few information is available about the specific characteristics of genetic background of most of the organisms that may included in the process of fermentation. A new techniques of biotechnology offer a chance to produce different kinds of genes into a variety of organisms. In addition of the biotechnology, genetically modified can be applied in other science such as medical and biological. ( 2 )
During last two decades Genetically modified organisms has been used noticeably in the field of agriculture in many countries especially the developed one , and just in 2008 about 125 million hectares of genetically modified crops has been grown ( 1 ) ..
In spite of there are a lot of benefits of biotechnology and (GMOs) and its vast application in many different areas, it has also become a very controversial issue in many different countries and there are a lot of discussion about it especially in the term of safety ( 4 )
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Consumers in America tend to consume GM foods/products more than the European countries because of the following reasons: the press effectively, trusting in regulators, and having a vast knowledge of this new technology (Gaskell et al., 1999). ( BB )
What are Genetically Modified Organisms ?
In our life, there are many different types of creation. These creatures are different morphologically, physically and completely. Some of them are very simple and small in size such as bacteria and virus, while others are more sophisticated and developed like humans. These organisms are set up of Cells which are the basis of the structure of all these creatures. Each cell is covered by a wall called cell membrane with a nucleus which is located at the center. A unique instruction is saved on DNA (Dixie nitric acid). Each DNA contains of small parts called genes.. ( 4 )
Naturally, transfer a gene from one living organism to another may happen only between the same species or between organisms which are closer to each other. While as a result of the advancement of technology, biologists and researchers have a chance to understand how to produce plant or organisms with a new traits by transfer a special gene from one living organism into other successfully (Burke, 1998). '' The process of transferring genes from one organism to another is known as recombinant DNA or gene technology (Lessick et al., 2002). The outcome of the transfer is an organism referred to as ''genetically modified'' or ''genetically engineered,'' resulting in an organism that is unlikely to develop naturally ( Pascalev, 2003)''.( AA)..
The main purpose for GM modified in the field of agriculture is to produce resistant plant to pesticide, herbicide and in order to tolerate harsh conditions. ( 4 ) )
The production of genetically engineered foods/products needs adding a new DNA into the plant's genomic DNA. This process called transformation 'event'. This new DNA has all information needed to produce the product with a new required characteristics.(11,L2)
Why Genetically Modified Organisms ?
Producing of genetically modified has increased noticeably all over the world due to the fact that genetically modified has many advantages for both producers and also customers. The main characteristics in (GMO) crops are: lower price, high nutritional value with the ability of durable. (Who)
There are many purposes and objectives behind the development of genetically modified crops as shown below: (4)
-Insect resistance: in this case the genetically modified crops have the ability to resist insecticide and this achieved by transferring a toxin gene from the bacterium Bacillus (Bt) into the plant. This toxin is non-harmful for human consumption. By this way the GM plants which produce this toxin permanently do not need high quantities of insecticide
-Virus resistant: to produce a genetically modified crop resistance to virus which cause disease, need to transfer a special gene into the plant. By this way a resistant plant will be produced which led to high crop yield.
-Herbicide tolerance is produced by the introduction of a specific gene from a bacterium conveying resistance to some herbicides into the plant. In conditions where weed pressure is high, the use of such crops has resulted in a reduction in the quantity of the herbicides used.
Application area of Genetically Modified Organisms
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The main reasons for applying GMOs in the field of agriculture are to produce plant resistant to pests, herbicides, improve shelf life and also to give plants the ability to tolerate tough environmental conditions . This achieved by transfer a specific gene into the plant. For instance, transfer a toxin gene from bacterium Bacillus ( Bt ) into the plant. This toxin is safe for human consumption. By this way the GM plants which produce this toxin permanently do not need high quantities of insecticide.
GMOs used in this field are mainly used in the health area, surgery, treatment and dental. Many patient people are losing their lives every year due to the fact that they are not being replaced by a suitable organ at fit time. Therefore the first urgency for biometrics is biocompatibility with the host tissues to which they have been applied. There may be a chance in the future to solve this problem by using of GMOs to generate biomaterials. This achieved by using transgenic animals which have the ability to offer a large quantity of organs biocompatible to the receivers.
Application of GMOs in the field of pharmacy gives scientists a chance to produce drugs and vaccines in short time with large quantities. Otherwise the process takes a long time and also not too expensive . For example, yeast or such bacteria can produce drugs and vaccines in high quantities and in much more efficient way.
In spite of the experiments in this field are in the begging stages to produce biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels. However, this may motivate some scientists to study certain species of yeast that can produce alcohol. For example, GM yeast with higher alcohol tolerance may produce much more ethanol in the same condition. This will have a very important contributed to minimizing the global warming and pollution concerning.
Genetically Modified Organisms Risks
Nowadays, there has been a lot of discussion about the genetically modified crops in terms of safety. People tend to take care for the consumption and environmentally friendly of it. Therefore, it is suggested by different groups including environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and customers that GM crops should be tested before being offered in markets and consumed by people.
In 2000 and 2006, a review had been done about the information which is published in world-wide scientific journals. The interview showed that very limited reference was about concerning human and animal toxicological/health risks studies on GM food/plants and there was no information available on some products such as cucumber, tomatoes and potatoes.
Once have to take into consideration is most of the studies have been achieved by companies who produced GM products for commercializing. These findings suggest a remarkable development in comparison with the lack of studies published in recent scientific journals by those companies. This new information is critically studied. ( 7 )
There is a study has been done on genetically modified maize in the term of tolerating to round up (which is a herbicide) to show the health effects of consumption GM maize on rats for two years. The results show that GM maize has a health effects on both sexes, especially in female due to the fact that all female treated rats died 2-3 times more than not-treated rats and in less time. In the male the health effect was with liver, while in female was with sex and hormone. ( 9 )..
Traceabilty and labelling of GMO
In the labelling of GMO products, laborers have to check that the following information:
For pre-packaged GMO, should write this information ''This product contains genetically modified organisms' or 'This product contains genetically modified [name of organism(s)]'' on the the label. And also the same words should appear on the label for non-pre-packaged products which is reached to the final consumer. ( 8 )
Traceability requirements for crops/products which is produced from genetically engineered crops/products :
1-The following information may have on the products which are produced from GMOs on the market. This will give a chance to trace back of products:
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Each ingredient of the product which is produced from genetically modified organisms should have an indication.
A clue of each of the feed materials or additives, which is produced from GMOs;
When there is not any indication of the product. This means that the product has produced from genetically modified organisms. ( 8 )
Detection methods of Genetically Modified Organisms
LEVELS OF DETECTION
Detection methods are divided into three main levels, as shown below:
1- Screening: this used to examine in general if a product is produced by GM tech or not and the result will be either a positive or negative statement.
2- Identification: this way can identify the type of GM crop or product are present and also to know if the product have an authorization in the country or not.
3- Quantification: in this level contains GM varieties will be shown. Then it will be evaluated with the Regulation to determine the amount of each GM ingredients individually ( 6 )
There are many reasons for testing GMOs: the first one is to fulfil the labelling legislations,the
-Protein detection method: there are a great number of proteins in each cell. In order to isolate the specific protein from mixing group its need to isolate once from the others. This process can be done by ''size (1-D electrophoresis) or in two dimensions by overall charge and size (2-D electrophoresis), followed by a suitable detection method''. These approaches,however, is not suitable for routine test. Generally, identifying specific proteins can be done by using antibodies with some preparation required. .( 11, L 20)
DNA detection method: PCR method can be used as a method for detection different kinds of GMOs, such as micro-organisms, potatoes, tomatoes and different types of maize. In this way the product-specific PCR is depend on the allocated gene for screening, ''Detection limits are in the range of 20 pg to 10 ng of target DNA and 0.0001% to 1% of the mass fraction of the GMO''. ( 12, L13)
There are many different ways to identify and detect GMO :
Labelling Legislation of Genetically Modified Organisms
Regarding Labelling legislation and trade there are different requirements according to one country to another. (11)
As recent questionnaire which has been done by the Consumers Association shows that 94% of the UK consumers interested in non-GMO products and they wished to be labelled.( 10 )
In the EU, production must be displayed on the label if a foodstuff contains or consists of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or contains ingredients produced from genetically modified organisms. For GM products sold 'loose', all details have showed immediately next to the food to display that the food is GM.
On the 18th of April 2004, there was a new rule about genetically modified appeared and implemented EU Member's countries.
In order to cover all genetically modified food and animal feed in EU Member's states, to make sure the contains of genetically modified in the final product, the genetically modified Food and Feed Regulation (EC) No. 1829/2003 has been produced.
According to this legislation, foodstuffs like flour, glucose syrups and oils have to be displayed providing they are coming from GM as a source or not. While products come with the technology of genetically engineered, such as cheese with GM enzymes for instance, do not need to be labelled. And also animal products such as eggs, milk and meat are not required to be labelled.
The following table includes examples about requirement rules for labelling genetically engineered products according to the European Commission (EC) legislation No. 1829/2003: ( GM labelling )
Examples of labelling requirements under EC Regulation No. 1829/2003 for authorized GMOs
(updated April 2008)
Maize, soybean, tomato
Food produced from GMOs
Maize flour, highly refined soya oil, glucose syrup from maize starch
Food from animals fed GM animal feed
Meat, milk, eggs
Food produced with help from a GM enzyme
Cheese, bakery products produced with the help of amylase
Food additive/flavoring produced from GMOs
Highly filtered lecithin extracted from GM soybeans used in chocolate
Feed additive produced from a GMO
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
GMM used as a food ingredient
Alcoholic beverages which contain a GM ingredient
Wine with GM grapes
Products containing GM enzymes where the enzyme is acting as an additive or performing a technical function Products containing GM enzymes where the enzyme is acting as an additive or performing a technical
Feed produced from a GMO
Corn gluten feed, soybean meal
Food containing GM ingredients that are sold in catering establishments
Yes (the FSA's legal view is that labelling is required across EU Member States under EC Regulation 1829/2003).
In conclusion, nowadays, genetically modified products or foods have become a controversial topic in many different countries all over the world and there is a lot of discussion about it. Due to the fact that it has a very essential role in many different fields such as agriculture, biofuels, biomaterials and pharmaceutical sciences. In the field of agriculture GMOs has many benefits for both producers and customers because GMO crops have many specifications, such as lower price, high nutritional value and it can be kept for long time. On the other hand, people tend to take care more for the consumption of genetically modified because it is said that GMOs may cause many problems in the term of safety. So the studies in GMO foods/crops sould be carried on to ensure that GMO crops/products are safe and suitable for consuption.