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Learn Biology: Genetically Modified Organisms

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Uploaded on Jan 20, 2011

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Mahalo biology expert Mary Poffenroth explains genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

GMOs are creating a lot of news these days, but what exactly they are? GMO is the abbreviated form of "genetically modified organisms," which are found in many food products today.

Altering the genomes of animals and plants using traditional breeding techniques is not an unfamiliar process and has been in practice for decades. Selecting desired traits artificially has resulted in a variety of "new" organisms, such as hairless cats and 
sweet corn.c However, the use of bacteria and viruses for manipulating food products began in the 1990s with the introduction of genetic modification, or GM. GM involves an assortment of technologies, which result in the alteration of genetic makeup in plants, animals and bacteria.c

Functions of GMOs
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GMOs were initially introduced with the intention of enhancing the quality and nutrition of food products. In the case of crops, genetically modified organisms create enhancements in quality and taste, reduction of maturation time, increases in the levels of nutrients and stress tolerance, and improved resistance towards pests and diseases. In the case of animals, use of GMOs results in increases in yields of milk, eggs and meat.c c 

Effects of GMO
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The possible health impacts of GMO on human beings include allergic reactions, transfer of the antibiotic DNA resistance markers and many other unknown effects. The common environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms include accidental transmission of the transgenes by means of cross pollination, disruption of flora and fauna biodiversity and effects on organisms like soil microbes.c

Read more by visiting our page at:
http://www.mahalo.com/genetically-mod...

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