Destruction of public and governmental experiments of GMO in Europe
The purpose of this article is to compile the destruction of GMO trials from academic or governmental research institutes in Europe, in a factual manner and to highlight their main characteristics. About 80 acts of vandalism against academic or governmental research on GMOs are identified, mainly in 4 countries; namely France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. Examples are also provided for Italy and Belgium. The general conclusions that can be drawn from these acts are also discussed.
The income and production effects of biotech crops globally 1996–2010
A critical feature in evaluating the global value of crop biotechnology in agriculture must include an assessment of its economic impact at the farm level. This paper follows earlier studies which examined economic impacts on yields, key costs of production, direct farm income, indirect (non-pecuniary) farm level income effects and impacts on the production base of the four main crops of soybeans, corn, cotton and canola. The commercialization of biotech crops is continuing to proceed rapidly, with significant changes in the overall level of adoption and impact taking place in 2010. This updated analysis shows that there have been substantial net economic benefits at the farm level amounting to $14 billion in 2010 and $78.4 billion for the 15-year period (in nominal terms). The non-pecuniary benefits associated with the use of the technology have also had a positive impact on adoption (in the US accounting for the equivalent of 22% of the total US direct farm income benefit). Biotech crops are, moreover, making important contributions to increasing global production levels of the four main crops. They have, for example, now added 97.5 million tons and 159 million tons respectively, to the global production of soybeans and corn since the introduction of the technology in the mid-1990s.
Safety evaluation of genetically modified mustard (V4) seeds in terms of allergenicity: Comparison with native crop
Genetically modified (GM) mustard line (V4) with increased carotenoid content was compared with native mustard to find the difference in allergenic potential, if any. Simulated gastric fluid (SGF) digestibility of crude protein extract from GM as well as its native counterpart mustard crop was envisaged to understand the intended or unintended changes in GM crop along with IgE immunoblotting. BALB/c mice were used as model for allergenicity studies for monitoring total and specific IgE, specific IgG1, histamine level, histopathology, and systemic anaphylaxis score. Allergenicity of mustard was checked in humans by clinical history, skin prick test and IgE levels. Similar results were evident by significant increase in total IgE, specific IgE, IgG1, histamine levels, in GM and native mustard in comparison to control group. Prominent anaphylactic symptoms (score 2: 60%; score 3: 20%; score 4: 20% in native mustard and score 2: 40%; score 3: 40%; score 4: 20% in GM mustard) and eruptive histopathological changes were observed in both GM and native mustard when compared with controls. One protein of approximately 16 kDa was found stable up to 1 h in both GM as well as non GM mustard. IgE immunoblotting detected three protein components of approximately 29, 24 and 16 kDa in both GM and non GM varieties. Collectively, our data demonstrate substantially equivalent allergic responses against GM as well as its native counterpart. Therefore, the GM mustard may be as safe as its native counterpart with reference to allergenic responses.
Detection of genetically modified DNA in fresh and processed foods sold in Kuwait
Developments in genetic engineering technology have led to an increase in number of food products that contain genetically engineered crops in the global market. However, due to lack of scientific studies, the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the Kuwaiti food market is currently ambiguous. Foods both for human and animal consumption are being imported from countries that are known to produce GM food. Therefore, an attempt has been made to screen foods sold in the Kuwaiti market to detect GMOs in the food. For this purpose, samples collected from various markets in Kuwait have been screened by SYBR green-based real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. Further confirmation and GMO quantification was performed by TaqMan-based RT-PCR. Results indicated that a significant number of food commodities sold in Kuwait were tested positive for the presence of GMO. Interestingly, certain processed foods were tested positive for more than one transgenic events showing complex nature of GMOs in food samples. Results of this study clearly indicate the need for well-defined legislations and regulations on the marketing of approved GM food and its labeling to protect consumer’s rights.
In vitro cormlet production of saffron (Crocus sativus L. Kashmirianus) and their flowering response under greenhouse
A complete protocol for the saffron cormlet production under in vitro conditions and subsequent flowering under greenhouse conditions is described. Highest number of cormlets (70.0 ± 0.30) per corm slice (explant) could be regenerated on Murashige and Skoog (MS) half strength medium supplemented with thidiazuron (TDZ) (20 µM), Indole acetic acid (IAA) (10 µM), and sucrose (40 g/l). Maximum germination (90%) of these cormlets could be achieved on MS medium containing 6-benzyl amino purine (BAP) (20 µM) and α-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) (15 µM). In order to increase the size of the in vitro raised cormlets, these were cultured on MS medium containing TDZ (15 µM) and IAA in the range of 1.5–30 µM. Maximum increase in cormlet size could be attained on TDZ (15 µM) + IAA (12.5 µM) + sucrose (30 g/l), and the average size of cormlets was 2.5g. In another experiment, apical vegetative buds of actively growing corms were cultured for cormlet development, and corms of size 2.5g could be developed on MS medium with NAA (15 µM), BAP (20 µM), and sucrose (30 g/l). The in vitro developed cormlets were dried under shade at 25 ± 2°C for 7 d. These were then planted in small cups containing clay loam soil and kept in green house at 20 ± 2°C. In vitro developed cormlets with mean weight 2.5 g showed maximum flowering (25%) as well as vegetative growth (55%), while only 19% cormlets of 2.0 g flowered. To our knowledge this is the first report on successful flowering from in vitro raised cormlets under greenhouse.
Possible consequences of the overlap between the CaMV 35S promoter regions in plant transformation vectors used and the viral gene VI in transgenic plants
Multiple variants of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter (P35S) are used to drive the expression of transgenes in genetically modified plants, for both research purposes and commercial applications. The genetic organization of the densely packed genome of this virus results in sequence overlap between P35S and viral gene VI, encoding the multifunctional P6 protein. The present paper investigates whether introduction of P35S variants by genetic transformation is likely to result in the expression of functional domains of the P6 protein and in potential impacts in transgenic plants. A bioinformatic analysis was performed to assess the safety for human and animal health of putative translation products of gene VI overlapping P35S. No relevant similarity was identified between the putative peptides and known allergens and toxins, using different databases. From a literature study it became clear that long variants of the P35S do contain an open reading frame, when expressed, might result in unintended phenotypic changes. A flowchart is proposed to evaluate possible unintended effects in plant transformants, based on the DNA sequence actually introduced and on the plant phenotype, taking into account the known effects of ectopically expressed P6 domains in model plants.
Effect of antifungal genes expressed in transgenic pea (Pisum sativum L.) on root colonization with Glomus intraradices
Pathogenic fungi have always been a major problem in agriculture. One of the effective methods for controlling pathogen fungi to date is the introduction of resistance genes into the genome of crops. It is interesting to find out whether the induced resistance in crops will have a negative effect on non-target organisms such as root colonization with the AM fungi.
The objective of the present research was to study the influence of producing antifungal molecules by four transgenic pea (Pisum sativum L.) lines expressing PGIP gene from raspberry, VST-stilbene synthase from vine, a hybrid of PGIP/VST and bacterial Chitinase gene (Chit30) from Streptomyces olivaceoviridis respectively on the colonization potential of Glomus intraradices. Four different experiments were done in greenhouse and climate chamber, colonization was observed in all replications. The following parameters were used for evaluation: frequency of mycorrhization, the intensity of mycorrhization, the average presence of arbuscules within the colonized areas and the presence of arbuscules in the whole root system which showed insignificant difference between transgenic and non-transgenic plants. The root/shoot ratio exhibited different values according to the experiment condition.
Compared with negative non-transgenic control all transgenic lines showed the ability to establish symbiosis and the different growth parameters had insignificant effect due to mycorrhization. The results of the present study proved that the introduced pathogen resistance genes did not affect the mycorrhization allocations in pea.
Molecular breeding of Osfer2 gene to increase iron nutrition in rice grain
Rice being a staple food, contains little iron in the edible grain. To increase the iron nutrition in rice grains, our present study highlights the first time development of high iron rice grain by exploring the endosperm specific overexpression of endogenous ferritin gene. The gene has been cloned from rice and overexpressed under the control of endosperm specific GlutelinA2 (OsGluA2) promoter. After genetic transformation of aromatic indica rice cultivar, Pusa-sugandhi II, the milled seeds of resulting T3 transgenics exhibited 7.8-fold of ferritin overexpression, which contributed to 2.09- and 1.37-fold of iron and zinc accumulation respectively. T3 seeds demonstrated endosperm specific localization of iron that confirms the tissue specific activity of GluA2 promoter. Transgenic and non-transgenic plants showed no difference in their agronomic traits. Our study suggested that overexpression of rice endogenous ferritin gene is a step ahead toward cisgenic approach and can act as an effective tool for iron biofortification.