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Аuthors: A. G. Dyachenko, A. O. Zagrebelna

Pages: 1–11



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.

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