Mar 28, 2017 · GMO potatoes controversies. Not all GMO potatoes were an instant success on the market. For example, the Amflora potato, introduced on the market by BASF was banned from the European Union and it was retired from the market after consumers had several objections. The main problem of Amflora potatoes was the gene marker contained by them – NPT ...
GMO potatoes were originally halted in Europe after a team of 30 researchers on a budget of 2 million euros in 1998 found serious potential health risks in genetically modified potatoes. But now a similar potato has landed on United States grocery store shelves, backed by the potato company J.R. Simplot.
A genetically modified potato is a potato that has had its genes modified, using genetic engineering.Goals of modification include introducing pest resistance, tweaking the amounts of certain chemicals produced by the plant, and to prevent browning or bruising of the tubers.
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Jun 25, 2020 · The potential of the potato has only just begun to be realized. Some 368 million metric tons of potatoes were harvested globally in 2019, as people from Vietnam to Kenya, the Peruvian Andes to Rwanda produced a wide variety of the root vegetable, helping feed an estimated 1.3 billion people who rely on them as a staple food.
Mar 07, 2019 · Rommens is the author of a new book, Pandora’s Potatoes: The Worst GMO’s. Rommens is the Ex-Director at J.R. Simplot and team leader for Monsanto. After spending twenty-six years in the agriculture industry as a genetic engineer, Rommens has developed over 150,000 varieties of GM potatoes.
Oct 31, 2018 · The potato has been added to the High-Risk list of the Non-GMO Project Standard because GMO versions of the potato are now “widely commercially available” in the United States. The Non-GMO Project Standard is the controlling document that defines the requirements for a product to be Non-GMO Project Verified.
Oct 17, 2018 · Given the nature of the potato industry, the most common potato varieties, such as Russet Burbank and Ranger Russet, will soon be contaminated with GMO stock. Other GMO Foods Have Hidden Concerns, Too. My book describes the many hidden issues of GMO potatoes, but GMO potatoes are not the exception. They are the rule.
May 03, 2017 · This GMO potato, called Amflora, was approved in the EU in 2010, but withdrawn in 2012 due to lack of acceptance by EU farmers. Other than that, experiments in GMO potatoes are pretty rare to find. How to Avoid. If you are dead-set against eating any GMO products, your best bet is to eat only food you’ve grown yourself, or has a certified ...
Nov 08, 2018 · The genetically modified Innate potato was approved by the USDA in 2014. The “Innate” potato is a group of potato varieties that have had the same genetic alterations applied using a new form of genetic engineering known as RNA interference (RNAi). Five different potato varieties have been transformed, including the Ranger Russet, Russet Burbank, and Atlantic potatoes.
Summary: As the prevalence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) continues to rise, there has been an increasing public interest for information concerning the safety of these products. Concerns generally focus on how the GMO may affect the environment or how it may affect the consumer. One specific concern is the possibility for GMOs to negatively affect human health. This could result from differences in nutritional content, allergic response, or undesired side effects such as toxicity, organ damage, or gene transfer. To address these concerns, there have been over 100 research studies comparing the effects of traditional food to genetically modified food, the results of which have been reviewed in various journals , . How these results affect regulation can be found through The Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, which hosts a GM Crop Database that can be searched by the public to find GMO crop history, style of modification, and regulation across the world . Though knowing who to trust and what to believe regarding this topic is an ongoing battle, major health groups, including the American Medical Association and World Health Organization, have concluded from the research of independent groups worldwide that genetically modified foods are safe for consumers . Regarding toxicity, this includes any dangers related to organ health, mutations, pregnancy and offspring, and potential for transfer of genes to the consumer.
After genetically modified foods were introduced in the United States a few decades ago, people independently reported toxic effects caused by GMOs. One example is an anti-GMO advocacy group called the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), which reported that rats fed a diet containing a GMO potato had virtually every organ system adversely affected after just ten days of feeding . The IRT stated that the toxicity was the result of genetic modification techniques and not a specific case for that particular potato. They claimed the process of making the GMO caused it to be toxic and thus all GMOs were high risk for toxicity. Mutagenicity aside, there are also concerns surrounding the ability of the modified DNA to transfer to the DNA of whomever eats it or have other toxic side effects. Depending on the degree of processing of their foods, a given person will ingest between 0.1 and 1 g of DNA each day ; as such, DNA itself is regarded as safe by the FDA . To determine if the DNA from GMO crops is as safe to consume as the DNA from traditional food sources, the International Life Sciences Institute reviewed the chemical characteristics, susceptibility to degradation, metabolic fate and allergenicity of GMO-DNA and found that, in all cases, GMO-DNA was completely indistinguishable from traditional DNA, and thus is no more likely to transfer to or be toxic to a human . Consistent with this, the researchers working on the GMO potato attempted to isolate the bar gene from their GMO eating rats. Despite 5 generations of exposure to and ingestion of the GMO, the researchers were unable to detect the gene in the rats DNA .
Scientists across the U.S. and the rest of the world have sought to rigorously test the assertions of the IRT and others to uncover any possible toxicity caused by GMOs. To this end, many different types of modifications in various crops have been tested, and the studies have found no evidence that GMOs cause organ toxicity or other adverse health effects. An example of this research is a study carried out on a type of GMO potato that was genetically modified to contain the bar gene. The product of the bar gene is an enzyme that can detoxify herbicides and thus protects the potato from herbicidal treatment.
In order to see if this GMO potato would have adverse effects on consumer health like those claimed by the IRT, a group of scientists at the National Institute of Toxicological Research in Seoul, Korea fed rats diets containing either GMO potato or non-GMO potato . For each diet, they tracked male and female rats. To carefully analyze the rats health, a histopathological examination of tissues and organs was conducted after the rats died. Histopathology is the examination of organs for disease at the microscopic level (think pathologist doing a biopsy). Histopathological examinations of the reproductive organs, liver, kidneys, and spleen showed no differences between GMO-eating and non-GMO-eating animals.
To directly test the ability of a GMO to cause mutations, a research group from the National Laboratory of Protein Engineering and Plant Genetic Engineering in Beijing, China applied the Ames test to GMO tomatoes and GMO corn . GMO tomatoes and corn express the viral coat protein of cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Expression of this coat protein confers resistance to CMV, which is the most broadly infectious virus of any known plant virus, thought to infect over 1,200 plant species from vegetable crops to ornamentals. The results of the Ames test demonstrated no relationship between GMO tomatoes or corn and mutations. They repeated their analysis using two additional methods for analyzing mutagenicity in mice and got the same result, allowing them to conclude that genetically modified DNA did not cause increased mutations in consumers. The modified DNA, like unmodified DNA, was not mutagenic.
After more than 20 years of monitoring by countries and researchers around the world, many of the suspicions surrounding the effects of GMOs on organ health, our offspring, and our DNA have been addressed and tested (Figure 1). In the data discussed above, alongside many more studies not mentioned here, GMOs have been found to exhibit no toxicity, in one generation or across many. Though each new product will require careful analysis and assessment of safety, it appears that GMOs as a class are no more likely to be harmful than traditionally bred and grown food sources.
Megan L. Norris is a Ph.D. candidate in the Molecular, Cellular and Organismal Biology Program at Harvard University.