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Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a transgenic plant?

Why do we want to make transgenic crops?

What genetically engineered crops are actually being grown now?

Are there really economic benefits for farmers growing transgenic crops? I've read they haven't improved yields and cost more to plant.

Has there actually been a reduction in pesticide use resulting from planting transgenic crops? I understand this is supposed to be one of the major benefits of these GE crops.

What are the chances I'm eating food made from genetically engineered crops?

How do the few kinds of GE crops end up in such a high percentage of our food?

Can I avoid GE food if I buy only organically grown food?

Why do organic farming advocates object to transgenic crops using Bt genes while accepting the use of Bt sprays for insect control?

How do we know genetically engineered crops are safe to eat?

Why is there so much debate about mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods?

Aren't there some food labeling requirements for genetically engineered foods now?

Haven't people had allergic reactions from eating transgenic corn and soybeans?

How does the government regulate genetically engineered crops?

How is "substantial equivalence" used to determine the safety of genetically engineered food?

Why do GE plants have antibiotic resistance genes? Doesn't this pose a risk for developing resistant strains of bacteria?

Are there health risks from eating the foreign DNA in transgenic plants?

I hear the terms "genetic drift" and "genetic trespass" in the debate about transgenic crops. What do they mean?

I'm concerned by the reports of transgenic DNA found in Mexican corn landraces. Isn't this evidence that transgenic crops will cause environmental damage by reducing genetic diversity?

Does herbicide-tolerant Clearfield® wheat, such as the cultivar 'Above' developed at CSU, incorporate a transgenic trait?

Scott Reid at Colorado State University provided the answers for these questions, with funding from CSU Cooperative Extension.

Colorado State University Cooperative Extension maintains an "AnswerLink" service for Frequently Asked Questions on many topics. The following link will connect you to AnswerLink. In the drop-down menus, choose "biotechnology" as the topic and "biotech crops" as the subtopic. Enter keywords for particular questions or simply click on "search" to bring up the entire list of questions and answers.
http://ext-colostate.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/ext_colostate.cfg/php/enduser/ std_alp.php?p_sid=9jxl5gvg&p_lva=&p_sp=&p_li=

Genetically Engineered Foods: Are They Safe? This Q&A session with Doug Gurian-Sherman and Gregory Jaffe at the Center for Science in the Public Interest covers many of the issues. This is the main article from the November 2001 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter, published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Feldmann, M., M. Morris, and D. Hoisington. 2000. Why so much controversy over genetically modified organisms? Answers to 10 frequently asked questions about GMOs. International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.

The same site is also available in Spanish:

Feldmann, M., M. Morris, and D. Hoisington. 2000. Por qué suscitan tanta polémica los organismos genéticamente modificados? Respuestas a 10 preguntas frecuentes acerca de los OGM. Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo. (http://www.cimmyt.cgiar.org/ABC/

Page last updated : March 11, 2004

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