Genetically Tailored Plants - The Non GMO


Image Courtesy of https://www.biofortified.org/info/

To help educate people about the many methods that are used to generate new traits in plants, Biology Fortified has created an infographic on six different crop modification techniques, with examples of crops generated with each method

With the advent of Gentetically Tailored Food instead go GMO's research shows that there is a newer novel approach "genetic engineering improves existing varieties by eliminating undesirable features and activating dormant traits. It transforms plants with native expression cassettes to fine-tune the activity and/or tissue specificity of target genes. Any intragenic modification of traits could, at least in theory,also be accomplished by traditional breeding and trans-genic modification. However, the new approach is unique in avoiding the transfer of unknown or foreign DNA. By consequently eliminating various potential risk factors,this method represents a relatively safe approach to crop improvement. Therefore, we argue that intragenic crops should be cleared through the regulatory process in a timely and cost-effective manner" (researchgate.net).

"Conventional plant breeding represents the principleapproach to crop improvement. It employs methods suchas introgression breeding, induced mutagenesis andsomatic hybridization to modify randomly genomes and,as a result, create genetic variation (Figure 1a). Phenotypicassessments of segregating progenies can then identify thecommercially important new traits that can be used toimprove farm efficiency and enhance yield. However,today’s crops are still a work-in-progress, and not allimprovements can be delivered by breeding alone. Onenew method creates desired traits by isolating specificgenetic elements from the crop, rearranging them in vitro,and inserting this ‘intragenic’ DNA back into the plant.This alternative approach to genetic engineering producescrops that, mimicking traditionally bred varieties, mightbe easier to commercialize than transgenic plants (seeGlossary).Issues associated with traditional plant breedingSeveral key issues limit the potential of traditionalmethods in plant breeding to enhance quality and yieldfurther. One drawback is based on the fact that geneticvariation is induced at the DNA level but only screened forphenotypically. As a result, new cultivars not only containtraits that the breeder was looking for but also displayundesirable characteristics not considered during theselection process. Indeed, today’s crops synthesize a multi-tude of natural pesticidal compounds and also oftenexpress dozens of allergen-encoding genes [1,2]. Althougha few of the most important allergens were successfullyremoved through mutagenesis [3], the transfer of undesir-able traits from existing to new varieties is generallyviewed as inevitable." (researchgate.net).

At the risk of oversimplifying this new technology, here is the link to the original article. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6146139_The_intragenic_approach_as_a_new_extension_to_traditional_plant_breeding

Subscribe to Us and don't miss our next post where we will discuss more about how "Gentetically Tailored Food" can steer us away from the GMO's of today to a ground up design approach. With the new Crispr technology which is a "gene-editing technique" we can totally change the GMO debate as we know it.

CITATION

Science Direct, Trends in Plant Science, Vol 12 Issue 9, Pages 397–403 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S136013850700180X/. Sep 2007. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.