Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Genetically Altered Foods
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are produced by transferring genetic material from one species to another. Genetically altered or modified (GM) foods contain materials derived from such processes. Whereas traditional plant and animal breeding involves the crossing of individuals with desirable traits within a single species, genetic engineering allows more rapid and radical transformations. Examples include the transfer of genes from Arctic halibut into tomatoes to confer frost resistance, and the incorporation of Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria into corn or potatoes as a “natural” pesticide. Genetic engineering has also made possible the cheap and rapid synthesis of common food ingredients, such as yeasts, and of products like recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), which vastly increases an animal's milk production. The criteria for classifying genetically altered foods vary among countries, depending on the strictness of their regulatory systems. Broadly speaking, these foods include genetically modified crops that people consume directly (ranging from strawberries ...