and Genetic Engineering
1990's and Beyond
- The U.S.
begins a 13-year effort coordinated by the U.S.
Department of Energy and the National Institutes
- The project
originally was planned to last 15 years, but
rapid technological advances have allowed 97% of
all genes to be identified by 2000.
- Project goals are
to identify all the 100,000 genes in human DNA,
determine the sequences of the 3 billion
that make up human DNA, store this information
in databases, develop tools for data analysis,
transfer related technologies to the private
sector, and address the ethical, legal, and
social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the
The Year 2000 and
- Genetic Engineering
is moving on to the food
Here, genes for important food traits can be
inserted into plant DNA. The food that is grown
has more desireable traits.
- Genes for pest
resistance can also be inserted into plant DNA
to allow plants greater survival rates.
versions of familiar
that are custom "built" to improve quality or
remove unwanted traits. Insect-resistant apples,
long-lasting raspberries, and potatoes that
absorb less fat are among the more than 50 plant
products under study now that are likely to
reside soon on grocers' shelves.
- Whether genetically
engineered foods succeed or fail ultimately
depends on public acceptance. Early reports on
the Flavr Savr tomato, the first recombinant
DNA-derived whole food product to reach grocery
shelves, were favorable.
- However, the idea
of genetically modified foods has caused much
controversy. Scientists wish to stress that as
for safety, FDA officials have assured them that
these foods will be just as safe as products
consumers are used to finding on their store
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Jody Becker, Robin Norwood and Brad Greenspan. All Rights
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This site was designed by Jody Becker, Robin Norwood and
Brad Greenspan for MBI 699.W in August of 2000.