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Concept: Golden rice


The landscape for genetically modified organisms is changing, thanks to sharp increases in the amounts and numbers of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops and the classification of two of the most commonly used herbicides as probably or possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Health, Agriculture, Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organisms, Golden rice


Public opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) remains strong. By contrast, studies demonstrate again and again that GM crops make a valuable contribution to the development of a sustainable type of agriculture. The discrepancy between public opinion and the scientific evidence requires an explanation. We argue that intuitive expectations about the world render the human mind vulnerable to particular misrepresentations of GMOs. We explain how the involvement of particular intuitions accounts for the popularity, persistence, and typical features of GM opposition and tackle possible objections to our approach. To conclude, we discuss the implications for science education, science communication, and the environmental movement.

Concepts: Scientific method, Gene expression, Agriculture, Horizontal gene transfer, Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organisms, Golden rice


The DNA target sequence is the key element in designing detection methods for genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Unfortunately this information is frequently lacking, especially for unauthorized GMOs. In addition, patent sequences are generally poorly annotated, buried in complex and extensive documentation and hard to link to the corresponding GM event. Here, we present the JRC GMO-Amplicons, a database of amplicons collected by screening public nucleotide sequence databanks by in silico determination of PCR amplification with reference methods for GMO analysis. The European Union Reference Laboratory for Genetically Modified Food and Feed (EU-RL GMFF) provides these methods in the GMOMETHODS database to support enforcement of EU legislation and GM food/feed control. The JRC GMO-Amplicons database is composed of more than 240 000 amplicons, which can be easily accessed and screened through a web interface. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt at pooling and collecting publicly available sequences related to GMOs in food and feed. The JRC GMO-Amplicons supports control laboratories in the design and assessment of GMO methods, providing inter-alia in silico prediction of primers specificity and GM targets coverage. The new tool can assist the laboratories in the analysis of complex issues, such as the detection and identification of unauthorized GMOs. Notably, the JRC GMO-Amplicons database allows the retrieval and characterization of GMO-related sequences included in patents documentation. Finally, it can help annotating poorly described GM sequences and identifying new relevant GMO-related sequences in public databases. The JRC GMO-Amplicons is freely accessible through a web-based portal that is hosted on the EU-RL GMFF website.Database URL:

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Molecular biology, Horizontal gene transfer, Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organisms, Golden rice


Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been available for commercial purchase since the 1990s, allowing producers to increase crop yields through bioengineering that creates herbicide-resistant and insect-resistant varieties. However, consumer knowledge about GMOs has not increased at the same rate as the adoption of GMO crops. Consumers worldwide are displaying limited understanding, misconceptions, and even unfamiliarity with GMO food products. Many consumers report that they receive information about GMO food products from the media, Internet, and other news sources. These sources may be less reliable than scientific experts whom consumers trust more to present the facts. Although many in the United States support mandatory GMO labeling (similar to current European standards), consumer awareness of current GMO labeling is low. A distinction must also be made between GMO familiarity and scientific understanding, because those who are more familiar with it tend to be more resistant to bioengineering, whereas those with higher scientific knowledge scores tend to have less negative attitudes toward GMOs. This brings to question the relation between scientific literacy, sources of information, and overall consumer knowledge and perception of GMO foods.

Concepts: Scientific method, Gene expression, Agriculture, Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organisms, Monsanto, Golden rice


Genetically modified organisms have been at the centre of a major public controversy, involving different interests and actors. While much attention has been devoted to consumer views on genetically modified food, there have been few attempts to understand the perceptions of genetically modified technology among farmers. By investigating perceptions of genetically modified organisms among Brazilian farmers, we intend to contribute towards filling this gap and thereby add the views of this stakeholder group to the genetically modified debate. A comparative analysis of our data and data from other studies indicate there is a complex variety of views on genetically modified organisms among farmers. Despite this diversity, we found variations in such views occur within limited parameters, concerned principally with expectations or concrete experiences regarding the advantages of genetically modified crops, perceptions of risks associated with them, and ethical questions they raise. We then propose a classification of prevailing profiles to represent the spectrum of perceptions of genetically modified organisms among farmers.

Concepts: Maize, Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Genetic engineering, Monsanto, Golden rice


The application of agricultural biotechnology attracts the interest of many stakeholders. Genetically modified (GM) crops, for example, are rapidly increase in production for the last 20 years. Despite its known benefits, GM crops also pose many concerns not only to human and animal health but also the environment. Malaysia, in general, allows the use of GM technology applications but it has to come with precautionary and safety measures consistent with the international obligations and domestic legal frameworks. This paper provides an overview of GM crop technology from international and national context and explores the governance and issues surrounding this technology application in Malaysia. Basically, GM research activities in Malaysia are still at early stage of research and development and most of the GM crops approved for release are limited for food, feed and processing purposes. Even though Malaysia has not planted any GM crop commercially, actions toward such direction seem promising. Several issues concerning GM crops as discussed in this paper will become more complex as the number of GM crops and varieties commercialized globally increase and Malaysia starts to plant GM crop.

Concepts: DNA, Agriculture, Biotechnology, Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Genetic engineering, Golden rice


Current genetically modified organism (GMO) detection methods allow for sensitive detection. However, a further increase in sensitivity will enable more efficient testing for large grain samples and reliable testing for processed foods. In this study, we investigated real-time PCR-based GMO detection methods using a large amount of DNA template. We selected target sequences that are commonly introduced into many kinds of GM crops, i.e., 35S promoter and nopaline synthase (NOS) terminator. This makes the newly developed method applicable to a wide range of GMOs, including some unauthorized ones. The estimated LOD of the new method was 0.005% of GM maize events; to the best of our knowledge, this method is the most sensitive among the GM maize detection methods for which the LOD was evaluated in terms of GMO content. A 10-fold increase in the DNA amount as compared with the amount used under common testing conditions gave an approximately 10-fold reduction in the LOD without PCR inhibition. Our method is applicable to various analytical samples, including processed foods. The use of other primers and fluorescence probes would permit highly sensitive detection of various recombinant DNA sequences besides the 35S promoter and NOS terminator.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Molecular biology, Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organisms, Ice-minus bacteria, Golden rice


As the amount of commercially available genetically modified organisms (GMOs) grows recent years, the diversity of target sequences for molecular detection techniques are eagerly needed. Considered as the gold standard for GMO analysis, the real-time PCR technology was optimized to produce a high-throughput GMO screening method. With this method we can detect 19 transgenic targets. The specificity of the assays was demonstrated to be 100 % by the specific amplification of DNA derived from reference material from 20 genetically modified crops and 4 non modified crops. Furthermore, most assays showed a very sensitive detection, reaching the limit of ten copies. The 19 assays are the most frequently used genetic elements present in GM crops and theoretically enable the screening of the known GMO described in Chinese markets. Easy to use, fast and cost efficient, this method approach fits the purpose of GMO testing laboratories.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Molecular biology, Horizontal gene transfer, Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Monsanto, Golden rice


Genetically modified food is able to solve many of the world’s hunger problems and to help protect and preserve the environment, even if the patents in this matter are symptomatic of several doubts. And also, transgenic consumption provokes doubts and hesitations among consumers in several European countries, but above all in Italy, where there was a strong opposition over recent years. For this reason, this study conducted a survey to analyze the consumption of genetically modified foods among Italian young generation. This survey had two main aims: firstly to analyze genetically modified foods consumption among a particular category of consumers; secondly to propose a quantitative model to formalize the origins of behaviours regarding genetically modified foods consumption and detect the drivers of their purchase. The proposed model shows that transgenic food consumption depends above all on knowledge and impact on environment and mankind’s health.

Concepts: Nutrition, Food, Maize, Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Genetic engineering, Golden rice, Genetically modified food controversies


I engage in a reflective self-narrative of my experience attempting to maintain a diet free of genetically modified organisms. Social tension over the genetically modified organism industry in Hawai'i, United States, has led to public debates over jobs and social identities. Drawing on local media sources, grassroots organizations, and blog posts, I describe the way this tension has shaped my experience with food, eating, and being with others as a genetically modified organism avoider. I utilize discursive positioning to make sense of my experiences by locating them within the ongoing public conversations that give structure to the daily lives of Hawai'i’s residents.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Horizontal gene transfer, Genetically modified organism, Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organisms, Ice-minus bacteria, Golden rice