Genetically modified (GM) plants attracted in recent years much public attention. Although consumers remain largely unaware of what GM crops really are, what the advantages and disadvantages of existing technologies are, and in what areas of economy these technologies and their products can be used, the company overall adjusted negatively in relation to the prospects for their use as food. The spread of GMO-phobia is demonstrated by at least the presence of the label "GMO" on almost all commercial products, including mineral water and salt. Moreover this marking occurs on non-food items, such as kitchen utensils and even (!) the bags of cement, which once again testifies to a woefully low level of awareness about the subject. Moreover, parliaments of several countries, such as Russia, have introduced laws prohibiting the cultivation of GM plants and animals and the importation of them from abroad. At the same time a priori denial of the possible problems associated with the use of GM crops would also be wrong. Actually with the advent of the first generation of such crops two major concerns have emerged: the risk to the environment and risk to human health. Since the introduction of the GM-lines of plants and animals will steadily increase, we can predict a corresponding increase in public concern about potential risks. So, we tried to analyze scientific evidence about the possible impact of GM plants on human health both directly – through their participation in the human diet and farm animals and in the production of recombinant medicines, and indirectly, through the impact on the environment.
Indeed, for the discrimination of GM products being transformed with the gene of interest selective marker genes are often used (e.g., kanamycin, which kills normal cells non-GM plants). According to opponents, this increases the risk of antibiotic resistance (ABR) spreading in the bacterial population. But it is well known that the ABR genes were originally isolated from soil bacteria which are widely distributed in nature. Studies have shown that the probability of ABR transmission from plants to bacteria is extremely low. Getting selectable markers that do not use resistance to AB, as well as procedures that remove the marker from the plant genomes at the end of transformation, almost completely takes off fears this kind.
The second problem related to GM technology was the transfer to the plant genomes of the unnecessary, redundant DNA and it was also successfully solved. A minimal gene cassette was developed, which houses a well-defined DNA fragment.The third problem relates to the possible increase of the level of natural mutations result in lowering the stability of the genome, which can cause certain undesirable effects. Generally, in the process of tissue culture may appear in the so-called somoclonal variations and possible rearrangement of the endogenous DNA around the integrated transgene. In practice, however, these effects are not registered. It should be emphasized that the appearance of GM crops on the market is preceded by a variety of large-scale tests.
Keywords: transgenic food, genetically modified organisms, GMO.
- Banuelos G, Leduc DL, Pilon-Smits EAH, Terry N. Transgenic Indian mustard overexpressing selenocysteine lyase or seloncystiene methyltransferase exhibit enhanced potential for selenium phytoremediation under field conditions. Environ Sci Tech. 2007; 41:599–605.
- Cox TS, Wood D. The nature and role of crop biodiversity. In Agrobiodiversity: Characterization, Utilization, and Management, eds D. Wood and J.M. Lenne. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing, 1999: 35–57.
- EMBO Reports. Molecular farming for new drugs and vaccines. EMBO Reports. 2005;6:593–9.
- Ewen SWB, Pusztai A. Effects of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus Nivalis lectin on rat small intestine. Lancet. 1999; 354:1353–4.
- European Food Safety Authority. Scientiﬁc opinion addressing the safety assessment of plants developed through cisgenesis and intragenesis. EFSA J. 2012; 10:2561.
- Executive summary of Global Status of Commercialised Biotech/GM crops: 2007. ISAAA Briefs No. 37. Ithaca, NY ISAAA, 2007.
- Fox JL. Puzzling industry response to Prodigene fiasco. Nat Biotech. 2003;21:3–4.
- Fu XD, Duc LT, Fontana S. et al. Linear transgene constructs lacking vector backbone sequences generate low-copy-number GM plants with simple integration patterns. Transgenic Res. 2000;9:11–19.
- Gay PB, Gillespie SH. Antibiotic resistance markers in genetically modified plants; a risk to human health. Lancet Infect Dis. 2005;5:637–646.
- Hare PD, Chua NH. Excision of selectable marker genes from GM plants. Nat Biotech. 2002;20:575–580.
- Herman E. Soybean allergenicity and suppression of the immunodominant allergen. Crop Sci. 2005;45:462–467.
- Hermsen JG, Ramanna MS. Double bridge hybrids of Solanum bulbocastanum and cultivars of Solanum tuberosum. Euphytica. 1973;2:457–466. doi: 10.1007/BF00036641.
- Herzog U. Cisgenesis: A Report on the Practical Consequences of the Application of Novel Techniques in Plant Breeding, 2012. Available at: http://bmg.gv.at/cms/home/attachments/6/6/0/CH1052/CMS1352183689337/cisgenesis_20121105.pdf.
- Kapusta J, Modelska A, Figlerowicz M. et al. A plant-derived edible vaccine against hepatitis B virus. FASED J. 1999;13:1796–1799.
- Latham JR, Wilson AK, Steinbrecher RA. The mutational consequences of plant transformation. J Biomed Biotech. 2006;1–7: Article ID 25376.
- Mascia PN, Flovell RB. Safe and acceptable strategies for producing foreign materials in plants. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2004;7:189–195.
- Ortiz-Garcia S, Ezcurra E, Schoel B, Acevedo F, Soberon J, Snow AA. Absence of detectable transgenes in local landacres of maize in Oaxaca, Mexico (2003–2004). Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2005;102:12338–12343.
- Paine JA, Shipton CA, Chaggar S, et al. Improving the nutritional content of Golden Rice through increased provitamin A content. Nat Biotechnol. 2005;23:482–487.
- Pereira A. Atransgenic perspective on plant functional genomics. Transgenic Res. 2000;9:245–260. doi: 10.1023/A:1008967916498.
- Prescott VE, Campbell PM, Moore A et al. Transgenic expression of bean α-amylase inhibitor in peas results in altered structure and immunogenicity. J Agric Food Chem. 2005;53:9023–9030.
- Quist D, Chapela JH. Transgenic DNA introgressed into traditional maize landraces in Oaxaca, Mexico. Nature. 2001;414:541–543.
- Russell AW, Sparrow R. The case for regulating intragenic GMOs. J. Agr. Environ. Ethic. 2008;21:153–181. doi: 10.1007/s10806-007-9074-5.
- Schouten HJ, Krens FA, Jacobsen E. Do cisgenic plants warrant less stringent oversight? Nat. Biotech. 2006; 24:753–753. doi: 10.1038/nbt0706-753.
- Scientiﬁc opinion addressing the safety assessment of plants developed through cisgenesis and intragenesis. EFSA J. 2012;10:2561.
- Sijmons PC, Dekker BM, Schranmeijer B, Verwoerd TC, van den Elzen PJ, Hoekema A. Production of correctly processed human serum albumin in GM plants. Biotechnology. 1990;8:217–221.
- Southgate EM, Davey MR, Power JB, Merchant R. Factors affecting the genetic engineering of plants by microprojectile bombardment. Biotechnol. Adv. 1995;13:631–657.
- Tanksley SD, McCouch SR. Seed banks and molecular maps: unlocking genetic potential from the wild. Science. 1997;277:1063–1066. doi: 10.1126/science.277.5329.1063.
- Twyman RM, Schillberg S, Fischer R. Transgenic plants in the biopharmaceutical market. Expert Opin Emerg Drugs. 2005;10:185–218.
- Van der Vossen EA, Gros J, Sikkema A. et al. The Rpi2blb2 gene from Solanum bulbocastanum is an Mi21 gene homolog conferring broad spectrum late blight resistance in potato. Plant J. 2005;44:208–222. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2005.02527.x.
- Van der Vossen EA, Sikkema A, Hekkert B et al. An ancient R gene from the wild potato species Solanum bulbocastanum confers broad spectrum resistance to Phytophthora infestans in cultivated potato and tomato. Plant J. 2003; 36:867–869. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313X.2003.01934.x.
- Viswanath V, Strauss SH. Modifying plant growth the cisgenic way. Inform. Syst. Biotechnol. News Rep. 2010;1–4.
- Xu C, Liberatore KL, MacAlister CA et al. A cascade of arabinosyltransferases controls shoot meristem size in tomato. Nature Genetics. 2015; doi:10.1038/ng.3309.
- Ye XD, Al-Babili S, Kloti A et al. Engineering the provitamin A (β-carotene) biosynthetic pathway into (carotenoid-free) rice endosperm. Science. 2000;287:303–305.