Genetically modified organism

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A genetically modified organism is any organism or microorganism that has had part of its DNA changed in any manner except naturally, usually occurring when one organism's genes are transferred into a non-related species. This is sometimes also called genetic engineering or recombinant DNA technology.



Paul Berg was the first to produce recombinant DNA molecules in 1972. [1]. In 1973, building upon Berg's findings, Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer became the first to show that genetically modified DNA molecules could be cloned in foreign cells using biotechnology[2]. In 1976, biotechnology began being used on the commercial level to modify foods and medicines[3]. In 1981, due largely in part to Ralph L. Brinster and Richard Palmiter, the first genetically modified mouse was born[4]. Then, in 1983, came the first plant to have been modified unnaturally. This was a strain of tobacco developed to be antibiotic-resistant[5]. In 1994, the United States approved the first genetically modified foods for human consumption[6], and then in 1997 the first crop was planted on U.S. soil[7]. During 1997 the first genetically modified humans were born[8].


Genetically modified GloFish

Genetic modification is implemented to change an organism's genome in order to produce a desired trait not naturally found within that organism[6]. The desired results vary widely. In some cases crops, are engineered to produce their own pesticides, effectively making themselves either pest or insect resistant[3]. Others are produced to be herbicide resistant, allowing farmers to spray toxic chemicals without killing their own crops[3]. While still in other cases, crops are engineered to produce higher yielding plants[6], or to insert vitamins that do not naturally occur within a given plant[7][6]. Fish are currently modified to mature faster and produce more meat[9]. Mammals are genetically engineered to have desired traits such as a certain color of hair, skin, or eyes[8]. Bacteria are currently modified to produce medicines or enzymes[3]. Invertebrates, such as mosquitoes, are also modified to fight the spread of malaria[6].

Organisms modified

Organisms which currently have had genetic modifications applied to their genome:

Fish - Atlantic Salmon[10], Carp[10], Catfish[10], Chinook Salmon[10], Coho Salmon[9], Medaka[10], Loach[10], Platyfish[11], Rainbow Trout[10], Rohu[10], Swordtail[11], Tilapia[10], and Zebrafish[10]
Invertebrates - Cnidarians[12], Coddling Moth[12], Drosophila Melanogaster(Fruit Fly)[12], Pink Bollworms[12], Medfly[12], and Mosquitoes[6]
Mammals - Dogs[6], Goats[6], Horses[6], Humans[6], Jellyfish[11], Marmosets[11], Mice[4], Pigs[6], Quail[11], Rabbits[11], Rats[11], and Sheep[11]
Microbes - Bacteria[6]
Plants - Alfalfa[7], Apples[7], Beets[7], Canola[7], Cichorium Intybus[7], Corn[7], Cotton[7], Flax[7], Papaya[7], Plums[7], Potatoes[7], Rapeseed[7], Rice[7], Roses[7], Soybeans[7], Squash[7], Sugar Beets[7], Tobacco[7], and Tomatoes[7]

Long term

Although immediate changes may occur and seem to bolster the claims of a genetically modified organism, currently testing is not extensive and exact. Changes may continue to occur, within either the organism itself or of its ecosystem, with unintended effects in the long run.[6]

See also

Other closely related articles in this wiki include:


  1. "Paul Berg" (2004) Encyclopedia of World Biography. Retrieved November 09, 2015 from [1]
  2. (2004) GNN - Genetics and Genomics Timeline. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from [2] .
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Byloos, Matty A Brief History Of Genetically Modified Organisms: From Prehistoric Breeding To Modern Biotechnology. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from [3] (2013, January 29)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Klein, Kathleen (2008) The Transgenic Mouse. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from [4].
  5. Fridovich-Keil, Judith L.; Diaz, Julia M. Profile of GMO | Genetically Modified Organisms and Food Crops. Retrieved from [5] (2015, August 24).
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 Diaz, Julia M. (2015, April 30) Genetically modified organism (GMO). Retrieved October 19, 2015, from [6].
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 Johnson, Dave; O'connor, Siobhan (April 30, 2015) All the GMOs Approved In the U.S. Retrieved from [7].
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bushak, Lecia (2015, July 22) The World’s First Genetically Modified Babies Will Graduate High School This Year. Retrieved from [8].
  9. 9.0 9.1 Phillips, Theresa Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) | Learn Science at Scitable. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from [9] (2008)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 10.9 Van Eenennaam, Alison L; Olin, Paul G. (2006) Careful risk assessment needed to evaluate transgenic fish. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from [10].
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Rutovitz, Jay; Mayer, Sue (April 2002) "Genetically cloned and modified animals. All in a good cause?" . Retrieved November 09, 2015 from [11]
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Miller, Thomas A. (2004, June). Actionbioscience | Designing Insects. Retrieved November 11, 2015, [12]

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