Genetics and Biotechnology


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Genetics and Biotechnology Biotechnology  A group of many technologies that use living cells or their processes to make products or solve problems  Used in basic and applied research  Used in developing products for the marketplace Insect resistance: Bt corn  Plants contain a gene from the soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringensis  Bacillus thuringensis strains contain genes for a series of proteins called Bt toxins  Bt toxins:  are toxic to certain insects, including European corn borer  break down rapidly in the soil  are not harmful to mammals or birds Concerns  Environmental concerns  Effect of Bt corn on monarchs  Invasion of natural plant populations by genetically engineered crops  Food safety concerns  StarLink in taco shells  Farmer’s point of view Impact of Bt corn on monarch butterflies  In 1999, an article* was published stating that pollen from Bt corn plants could kill monarch butterfly larvae  Assertion: planting of Bt corn poses a risk to monarch butterflies  Concerns were raised and more research was done * Losey et al., 1999. Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae. Nature 399:214. Phytoaccumulation  Nickel is removed from soil by moving into plant roots, stems, and leaves.  Plant is then harvested and disposed of, and site is replanted until nickel levels are acceptably low. Genetics and Biotechnology

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