Biotechnology is the use of living systems and organisms to develop or
make products, or "any technological application that uses biological
systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify
products or processes for specific use" (UN Convention on Biological
Diversity, Art. 2). Depending on the tools and applications, it
often overlaps with the (related) fields of bioengineering, biomedical
engineering, biomanufacturing, molecular engineering, etc.
For thousands of years, humankind has used biotechnology in
agriculture, food production, and medicine. The term is largely
believed to have been coined in 1919 by Hungarian engineer Károly
Ereky. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, biotechnology has
expanded to include new and diverse sciences such as genomics,
recombinant gene techniques, applied immunology, and development of
pharmaceutical therapies and diagnostic tests.
5 See also
6 References and notes
7 Further reading
8 External links
The wide concept of "biotech" or "biotechnology" encompasses a wide
range of procedures for modifying living organisms according to human
purposes, going back to domestication of animals, cultivation of the
plants, and "improvements" to these through breeding programs that
employ artificial selection and hybridization. Modern usage also
includes genetic engineering as well as cell and tissue culture
American Chemical Society
American Chemical Society defines biotechnology as
the application of biological organisms, systems, or processes by
various industries to learning about the science of life and the
improvement of the value of materials and organisms such as
pharmaceuticals, crops, and livestock. As per European Federation
of Biotechnology, biotechnology is the integration of natural science
and organisms, cells, parts thereof, and molecular analogues for
products and services.
Biotechnology also writes on[clarification
needed] the pure biological sciences (animal cell culture,
biochemistry, cell biology, embryology, genetics, microbiology, and
molecular biology). In many instances, it is also dependent on
knowledge and methods from outside the sphere of biology including:
bioinformatics, a new brand of computer science
Conversely, modern biological sciences (including even concepts such
as molecular ecology) are intimately entwined and heavily dependent on
the methods developed through biotechnology and what is commonly
thought of as the life sciences industry.
Biotechnology is the
research and development in the laboratory using bioinformatics for
exploration, extraction, exploitation and production from any living
organisms and any source of biomass by means of biochemical
engineering where high value-added products could be planned
(reproduced by biosynthesis, for example), forecasted, formulated,
developed, manufactured, and marketed for the purpose of sustainable
operations (for the return from bottomless initial investment on R
& D) and gaining durable patents rights (for exclusives rights for
sales, and prior to this to receive national and international
approval from the results on animal experiment and human experiment,
especially on the pharmaceutical branch of biotechnology to prevent
any undetected side-effects or safety concerns by using the
By contrast, bioengineering is generally thought of as a related field
that more heavily emphasizes higher systems approaches (not
necessarily the altering or using of biological materials directly)
for interfacing with and utilizing living things.
the application of the principles of engineering and natural sciences
to tissues, cells and molecules. This can be considered as the use of
knowledge from working with and manipulating biology to achieve a
result that can improve functions in plants and animals. Relatedly,
biomedical engineering is an overlapping field that often draws upon
and applies biotechnology (by various definitions), especially in
certain sub-fields of biomedical or chemical engineering such as
tissue engineering, biopharmaceutical engineering, and genetic
Brewing was an early application of biotechnology
Main article: History of biotechnology
Although not normally what first comes to mind, many forms of
human-derived agriculture clearly fit the broad definition of
"'utilizing a biotechnological system to make products". Indeed, the
cultivation of plants may be viewed as the earliest biotechnological
Agriculture has been theorized to have become the dominant way of
producing food since the Neolithic Revolution. Through early
biotechnology, the earliest farmers selected and bred the best suited
crops, having the highest yields, to produce enough food to support a
growing population. As crops and fields became increasingly large and
difficult to maintain, it was discovered that specific organisms and
their by-products could effectively fertilize, restore nitrogen, and
control pests. Throughout the history of agriculture, farmers have
inadvertently altered the genetics of their crops through introducing
them to new environments and breeding them with other plants — one
of the first forms of biotechnology.
These processes also were included in early fermentation of beer.
These processes were introduced in early Mesopotamia, Egypt,
India, and still use the same basic biological methods. In brewing,
malted grains (containing enzymes) convert starch from grains into
sugar and then adding specific yeasts to produce beer. In this
process, carbohydrates in the grains broke down into alcohols, such as
ethanol. Later, other cultures produced the process of lactic acid
fermentation, which produced other preserved foods, such as soy sauce.
Fermentation was also used in this time period to produce leavened
bread. Although the process of fermentation was not fully understood
until Louis Pasteur's work in 1857, it is still the first use of
biotechnology to convert a food source into another form.
Before the time of Charles Darwin's work and life, animal and plant
scientists had already used selective breeding. Darwin added to that
body of work with his scientific observations about the ability of
science to change species. These accounts contributed to Darwin's
theory of natural selection.
For thousands of years, humans have used selective breeding to improve
production of crops and livestock to use them for food. In selective
breeding, organisms with desirable characteristics are mated to
produce offspring with the same characteristics. For example, this
technique was used with corn to produce the largest and sweetest
In the early twentieth century scientists gained a greater
understanding of microbiology and explored ways of manufacturing
specific products. In 1917,
Chaim Weizmann first used a pure
microbiological culture in an industrial process, that of
manufacturing corn starch using Clostridium acetobutylicum, to produce
acetone, which the
United Kingdom desperately needed to manufacture
explosives during World War I.
Biotechnology has also led to the development of antibiotics. In 1928,
Alexander Fleming discovered the mold Penicillium. His work led to the
purification of the antibiotic compound formed by the mold by Howard
Florey, Ernst Boris Chain and Norman Heatley – to form what we today
know as penicillin. In 1940, penicillin became available for medicinal
use to treat bacterial infections in humans.
The field of modern biotechnology is generally thought of as having
been born in 1971 when Paul Berg's (Stanford) experiments in gene
splicing had early success. Herbert W. Boyer (Univ. Calif. at San
Francisco) and Stanley N. Cohen (Stanford) significantly advanced the
new technology in 1972 by transferring genetic material into a
bacterium, such that the imported material would be reproduced. The
commercial viability of a biotechnology industry was significantly
expanded on June 16, 1980, when the
United States Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court ruled
that a genetically modified microorganism could be patented in the
case of Diamond v. Chakrabarty. Indian-born Ananda Chakrabarty,
working for General Electric, had modified a bacterium (of the
Pseudomonas genus) capable of breaking down crude oil, which he
proposed to use in treating oil spills. (Chakrabarty's work did not
involve gene manipulation but rather the transfer of entire organelles
between strains of the
Revenue in the industry is expected to grow by 12.9% in 2008. Another
factor influencing the biotechnology sector's success is improved
intellectual property rights legislation—and
enforcement—worldwide, as well as strengthened demand for medical
and pharmaceutical products to cope with an ageing, and ailing, U.S.
Rising demand for biofuels is expected to be good news for the
biotechnology sector, with the Department of Energy estimating ethanol
usage could reduce U.S. petroleum-derived fuel consumption by up to
30% by 2030. The biotechnology sector has allowed the U.S. farming
industry to rapidly increase its supply of corn and soybeans—the
main inputs into biofuels—by developing genetically modified seeds
that resist pests and drought. By increasing farm productivity,
biotechnology boosts biofuel production.
A rose plant that began as cells grown in a tissue culture
Biotechnology has applications in four major industrial areas,
including health care (medical), crop production and agriculture, non
food (industrial) uses of crops and other products (e.g. biodegradable
plastics, vegetable oil, biofuels), and environmental uses.
For example, one application of biotechnology is the directed use of
organisms for the manufacture of organic products (examples include
beer and milk products). Another example is using naturally present
bacteria by the mining industry in bioleaching.
Biotechnology is also
used to recycle, treat waste, clean up sites contaminated by
industrial activities (bioremediation), and also to produce biological
A series of derived terms have been coined to identify several
branches of biotechnology; for example:
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that addresses biological
problems using computational techniques, and makes the rapid
organization as well as analysis of biological data possible. The
field may also be referred to as computational biology, and can be
defined as, "conceptualizing biology in terms of molecules and then
applying informatics techniques to understand and organize the
information associated with these molecules, on a large scale."
Bioinformatics plays a key role in various areas, such as functional
genomics, structural genomics, and proteomics, and forms a key
component in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector.
Blue biotechnology is a term that has been used to describe the marine
and aquatic applications of biotechnology, but its use is relatively
Green biotechnology is biotechnology applied to agricultural
processes. An example would be the selection and domestication of
plants via micropropagation. Another example is the designing of
transgenic plants to grow under specific environments in the presence
(or absence) of chemicals. One hope is that green biotechnology might
produce more environmentally friendly solutions than traditional
industrial agriculture. An example of this is the engineering of a
plant to express a pesticide, thereby ending the need of external
application of pesticides. An example of this would be Bt corn.
Whether or not green biotechnology products such as this are
ultimately more environmentally friendly is a topic of considerable
Red biotechnology is applied to medical processes. Some examples are
the designing of organisms to produce antibiotics, and the engineering
of genetic cures through genetic manipulation.
White biotechnology, also known as industrial biotechnology, is
biotechnology applied to industrial processes. An example is the
designing of an organism to produce a useful chemical. Another example
is the using of enzymes as industrial catalysts to either produce
valuable chemicals or destroy hazardous/polluting chemicals. White
biotechnology tends to consume less in resources than traditional
processes used to produce industrial goods.
The investment and economic output of all of these types of applied
biotechnologies is termed as "bioeconomy".
In medicine, modern biotechnology finds applications in areas such as
pharmaceutical drug discovery and production, pharmacogenomics, and
genetic testing (or genetic screening).
DNA microarray chip – some can do as many as a million blood tests
Pharmacogenomics (a combination of pharmacology and genomics) is the
technology that analyses how genetic makeup affects an individual's
response to drugs. It deals with the influence of genetic
variation on drug response in patients by correlating gene expression
or single-nucleotide polymorphisms with a drug's efficacy or
toxicity. By doing so, pharmacogenomics aims to develop rational
means to optimize drug therapy, with respect to the patients'
genotype, to ensure maximum efficacy with minimal adverse effects.
Such approaches promise the advent of "personalized medicine"; in
which drugs and drug combinations are optimized for each individual's
unique genetic makeup.
Computer-generated image of insulin hexamers highlighting the
threefold symmetry, the zinc ions holding it together, and the
histidine residues involved in zinc binding.
Biotechnology has contributed to the discovery and manufacturing of
traditional small molecule pharmaceutical drugs as well as drugs that
are the product of biotechnology – biopharmaceutics. Modern
biotechnology can be used to manufacture existing medicines relatively
easily and cheaply. The first genetically engineered products were
medicines designed to treat human diseases. To cite one example, in
Genentech developed synthetic humanized insulin by joining its
gene with a plasmid vector inserted into the bacterium Escherichia
coli. Insulin, widely used for the treatment of diabetes, was
previously extracted from the pancreas of abattoir animals (cattle or
pigs). The resulting genetically engineered bacterium enabled the
production of vast quantities of synthetic human insulin at relatively
Biotechnology has also enabled emerging therapeutics
like gene therapy. The application of biotechnology to basic science
(for example through the Human Genome Project) has also dramatically
improved our understanding of biology and as our scientific knowledge
of normal and disease biology has increased, our ability to develop
new medicines to treat previously untreatable diseases has increased
Genetic testing allows the genetic diagnosis of vulnerabilities to
inherited diseases, and can also be used to determine a child's
parentage (genetic mother and father) or in general a person's
ancestry. In addition to studying chromosomes to the level of
individual genes, genetic testing in a broader sense includes
biochemical tests for the possible presence of genetic diseases, or
mutant forms of genes associated with increased risk of developing
Genetic testing identifies changes in chromosomes,
genes, or proteins. Most of the time, testing is used to find
changes that are associated with inherited disorders. The results of a
genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or
help determine a person's chance of developing or passing on a genetic
disorder. As of 2011 several hundred genetic tests were in
use. Since genetic testing may open up ethical or
psychological problems, genetic testing is often accompanied by
Genetically modified crops
Genetically modified crops ("GM crops", or "biotech crops") are plants
used in agriculture, the
DNA of which has been modified with genetic
engineering techniques. In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new
trait that does not occur naturally in the species.
Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests,
diseases, stressful environmental conditions, resistance to
chemical treatments (e.g. resistance to a herbicide), reduction of
spoilage, or improving the nutrient profile of the crop.
Examples in non-food crops include production of pharmaceutical
agents, biofuels, and other industrially useful goods, as
well as for bioremediation.
Farmers have widely adopted GM technology. Between 1996 and 2011, the
total surface area of land cultivated with GM crops had increased by a
factor of 94, from 17,000 square kilometers (4,200,000 acres) to
1,600,000 km2 (395 million acres). 10% of the world's crop
lands were planted with GM crops in 2010. As of 2011, 11 different
transgenic crops were grown commercially on 395 million acres (160
million hectares) in 29 countries such as the USA, Brazil, Argentina,
India, Canada, China, Paraguay, Pakistan, South Africa, Uruguay,
Bolivia, Australia, Philippines, Myanmar, Burkina Faso, Mexico and
Genetically modified foods are foods produced from organisms that have
had specific changes introduced into their
DNA with the methods of
genetic engineering. These techniques have allowed for the
introduction of new crop traits as well as a far greater control over
a food's genetic structure than previously afforded by methods such as
selective breeding and mutation breeding. Commercial sale of
genetically modified foods began in 1994, when
Calgene first marketed
Flavr Savr delayed ripening tomato. To date most genetic
modification of foods have primarily focused on cash crops in high
demand by farmers such as soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil.
These have been engineered for resistance to pathogens and herbicides
and better nutrient profiles. GM livestock have also been
experimentally developed, although as of November 2013 none are
currently on the market.
There is a scientific consensus that currently
available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human
health than conventional food, but that each GM
food must be tested on a case-by-case basis before
introduction. Nonetheless, members of the public are much
less likely than scientists to perceive GM foods as
safe. The legal and regulatory status of GM foods
varies by country, with some nations banning or restricting them, and
others permitting them with widely differing degrees of
GM crops also provide a number of ecological benefits, if not used in
excess. However, opponents have objected to GM crops per se on
several grounds, including environmental concerns, whether food
produced from GM crops is safe, whether GM crops are needed to address
the world's food needs, and economic concerns raised by the fact these
organisms are subject to intellectual property law.
Industrial biotechnology (known mainly in Europe as white
biotechnology) is the application of biotechnology for industrial
purposes, including industrial fermentation. It includes the practice
of using cells such as micro-organisms, or components of cells like
enzymes, to generate industrially useful products in sectors such as
chemicals, food and feed, detergents, paper and pulp, textiles and
biofuels. In doing so, biotechnology uses renewable raw materials
and may contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and moving
away from a petrochemical-based economy.
The environment can be affected by biotechnologies, both positively
and adversely. Vallero and others have argued that the difference
between beneficial biotechnology (e.g.bioremediation is to clean up an
oil spill or hazard chemical leak) versus the adverse effects stemming
from biotechnological enterprises (e.g. flow of genetic material from
transgenic organisms into wild strains) can be seen as applications
and implications, respectively. Cleaning up environmental wastes
is an example of an application of environmental biotechnology;
whereas loss of biodiversity or loss of containment of a harmful
microbe are examples of environmental implications of biotechnology.
Regulation of genetic engineering and Regulation of the
release of genetic modified organisms
The regulation of genetic engineering concerns approaches taken by
governments to assess and manage the risks associated with the use of
genetic engineering technology, and the development and release of
genetically modified organisms (GMO), including genetically modified
crops and genetically modified fish. There are differences in the
regulation of GMOs between countries, with some of the most marked
differences occurring between the USA and Europe. Regulation
varies in a given country depending on the intended use of the
products of the genetic engineering. For example, a crop not intended
for food use is generally not reviewed by authorities responsible for
food safety. The European Union differentiates between approval
for cultivation within the EU and approval for import and processing.
While only a few GMOs have been approved for cultivation in the EU a
number of GMOs have been approved for import and processing. The
cultivation of GMOs has triggered a debate about coexistence of GM and
non GM crops. Depending on the coexistence regulations incentives for
cultivation of GM crops differ.
In 1988, after prompting from the United States Congress, the National
Institute of General Medical Sciences (National Institutes of Health)
(NIGMS) instituted a funding mechanism for biotechnology training.
Universities nationwide compete for these funds to establish
Biotechnology Training Programs (BTPs). Each successful application is
generally funded for five years then must be competitively renewed.
Graduate students in turn compete for acceptance into a BTP; if
accepted, then stipend, tuition and health insurance support is
provided for two or three years during the course of their Ph.D.
thesis work. Nineteen institutions offer NIGMS supported BTPs.
Biotechnology training is also offered at the undergraduate level and
in community colleges.
Biotechnology industrial park
Competitions and prizes in biotechnology
History of biotechnology
List of biotechnology articles
List of biotechnology companies
Outline of biotechnology
Timeline of biotechnology
References and notes
^ Text of the CBD. CBD.int. Retrieved on 2013-03-20.
^ a b "Incorporating
Biotechnology into the Classroom What is
Biotechnology?", from the curricula of the 'Incorporating
Biotechnology into the High School Classroom through Arizona State
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^ See Arnold, John P. (2005) . Origin and History of
Brewing: From Prehistoric Times to the Beginning of
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ISBN 978-0-9662084-1-2. OCLC 71834130.
^ Cole-Turner, Ronald (2003). "Biotechnology". Encyclopedia of Science
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2008 And Beyond, According To The Latest Research Released By Business
Information Analysts At IBISWorld. Los Angeles (March 19, 2008)
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^ Bains, W. (1987). Genetic Engineering For Almost Everybody: What
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^ Nicolia, Alessandro; Manzo, Alberto; Veronesi, Fabio; Rosellini,
Daniele (2013). "An overview of the last 10 years of genetically
engineered crop safety research" (PDF). Critical Reviews in
Biotechnology. 34: 1–12. doi:10.3109/07388551.2013.823595.
PMID 24041244. We have reviewed the scientific literature on GE
crop safety for the last 10 years that catches the scientific
consensus matured since GE plants became widely cultivated worldwide,
and we can conclude that the scientific research conducted so far has
not detected any significant hazard directly connected with the use of
The literature about Biodiversity and the GE food/feed consumption has
sometimes resulted in animated debate regarding the suitability of the
experimental designs, the choice of the statistical methods or the
public accessibility of data. Such debate, even if positive and part
of the natural process of review by the scientific community, has
frequently been distorted by the media and often used politically and
inappropriately in anti-GE crops campaigns.
^ "State of Food and
Agriculture 2003–2004. Agricultural
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impacts of transgenic crops". Food and
Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations. Retrieved February 8, 2016. Currently available
transgenic crops and foods derived from them have been judged safe to
eat and the methods used to test their safety have been deemed
appropriate. These conclusions represent the consensus of the
scientific evidence surveyed by the ICSU (2003) and they are
consistent with the views of the World Health Organization (WHO,
2002). These foods have been assessed for increased risks to human
health by several national regulatory authorities (inter alia,
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, the
United Kingdom and the United
States) using their national food safety procedures (ICSU). To date no
verifiable untoward toxic or nutritionally deleterious effects
resulting from the consumption of foods derived from genetically
modified crops have been discovered anywhere in the world (GM Science
Review Panel). Many millions of people have consumed foods derived
from GM plants - mainly maize, soybean and oilseed rape - without any
observed adverse effects (ICSU).
^ Ronald, Pamela (May 5, 2011). "Plant Genetics, Sustainable
Agriculture and Global Food Security". Genetics. 188: 11–20.
doi:10.1534/genetics.111.128553. PMC 3120150 .
PMID 21546547. There is broad scientific consensus that
genetically engineered crops currently on the market are safe to eat.
After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of 2 billion
acres planted, no adverse health or environmental effects have
resulted from commercialization of genetically engineered crops (Board
Agriculture and Natural Resources, Committee on Environmental
Impacts Associated with Commercialization of Transgenic Plants,
National Research Council and Division on Earth and Life Studies
2002). Both the U.S. National Research Council and the Joint Research
Centre (the European Union's scientific and technical research
laboratory and an integral part of the European Commission) have
concluded that there is a comprehensive body of knowledge that
adequately addresses the food safety issue of genetically engineered
crops (Committee on Identifying and Assessing Unintended Effects of
Genetically Engineered Foods on Human Health and National Research
Council 2004; European Commission Joint Research Centre 2008). These
and other recent reports conclude that the processes of genetic
engineering and conventional breeding are no different in terms of
unintended consequences to human health and the environment (European
Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation
^ But see also:
Domingo, José L.; Bordonaba, Jordi Giné (2011). "A literature review
on the safety assessment of genetically modified plants" (PDF).
Environment International. 37: 734–742.
doi:10.1016/j.envint.2011.01.003. PMID 21296423. In spite of
this, the number of studies specifically focused on safety assessment
of GM plants is still limited. However, it is important to remark that
for the first time, a certain equilibrium in the number of research
groups suggesting, on the basis of their studies, that a number of
varieties of GM products (mainly maize and soybeans) are as safe and
nutritious as the respective conventional non-GM plant, and those
raising still serious concerns, was observed. Moreover, it is worth
mentioning that most of the studies demonstrating that GM foods are as
nutritional and safe as those obtained by conventional breeding, have
been performed by biotechnology companies or associates, which are
also responsible of commercializing these GM plants. Anyhow, this
represents a notable advance in comparison with the lack of studies
published in recent years in scientific journals by those
Krimsky, Sheldon (2015). "An Illusory Consensus behind GMO Health
Assessment" (PDF). Science, Technology, & Human Values. 40:
1–32. doi:10.1177/0162243915598381. I began this article with the
testimonials from respected scientists that there is literally no
scientific controversy over the health effects of GMOs. My
investigation into the scientific literature tells another
Panchin, Alexander Y.; Tuzhikov, Alexander I. (January 14, 2016).
"Published GMO studies find no evidence of harm when corrected for
multiple comparisons". Critical Reviews in Biotechnology: 1–5.
doi:10.3109/07388551.2015.1130684. ISSN 0738-8551.
PMID 26767435. Here, we show that a number of articles some of
which have strongly and negatively influenced the public opinion on GM
crops and even provoked political actions, such as GMO embargo, share
common flaws in the statistical evaluation of the data. Having
accounted for these flaws, we conclude that the data presented in
these articles does not provide any substantial evidence of GMO harm.
The presented articles suggesting possible harm of GMOs received high
public attention. However, despite their claims, they actually weaken
the evidence for the harm and lack of substantial equivalency of
studied GMOs. We emphasize that with over 1783 published articles on
GMOs over the last 10 years it is expected that some of them should
have reported undesired differences between GMOs and conventional
crops even if no such differences exist in reality.
Yang, Y.T.; Chen, B. (2016). "Governing GMOs in the USA: science, law
and public health". Journal of the
Science of Food and Agriculture.
96: 1851–1855. doi:10.1002/jsfa.7523. PMID 26536836. It is
therefore not surprising that efforts to require labeling and to ban
GMOs have been a growing political issue in the USA (citing Domingo
and Bordonaba, 2011).
Overall, a broad scientific consensus holds that currently marketed GM
food poses no greater risk than conventional food... Major national
and international science and medical associations have stated that no
adverse human health effects related to GMO food have been reported or
substantiated in peer-reviewed literature to date.
Despite various concerns, today, the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization, and many
independent international science organizations agree that GMOs are
just as safe as other foods. Compared with conventional breeding
techniques, genetic engineering is far more precise and, in most
cases, less likely to create an unexpected outcome.
^ "Statement by the AAAS Board of Directors On Labeling of Genetically
Modified Foods" (PDF). American Association for the Advancement of
Science. October 20, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2016. The EU, for
example, has invested more than €300 million in research on the
biosafety of GMOs. Its recent report states: "The main conclusion to
be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering
a period of more than 25 years of research and involving more than 500
independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular
GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding
technologies." The World Health Organization, the American Medical
Association, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal
Society, and every other respected organization that has examined the
evidence has come to the same conclusion: consuming foods containing
ingredients derived from GM crops is no riskier than consuming the
same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by
conventional plant improvement techniques.
Pinholster, Ginger (October 25, 2012). "AAAS Board of Directors:
Legally Mandating GM Food Labels Could "Mislead and Falsely Alarm
Consumers"". American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Retrieved February 8, 2016.
^ A decade of EU-funded GMO research (2001–2010) (PDF).
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Biotechnologies,
Agriculture, Food. European Commission, European Union. 2010.
doi:10.2777/97784. ISBN 978-92-79-16344-9. Retrieved February 8,
^ "AMA Report on Genetically Modified Crops and Foods (online
summary)". American Medical Association. January 2001. Retrieved March
19, 2016. A report issued by the scientific council of the American
Medical Association (AMA) says that no long-term health effects have
been detected from the use of transgenic crops and genetically
modified foods, and that these foods are substantially equivalent to
their conventional counterparts. (from online summary prepared by
ISAAA)" "Crops and foods produced using recombinant
have been available for fewer than 10 years and no long-term effects
have been detected to date. These foods are substantially equivalent
to their conventional counterparts. (from original report by AMA:
"REPORT 2 OF THE COUNCIL ON SCIENCE AND PUBLIC HEALTH (A-12): Labeling
of Bioengineered Foods" (PDF). American Medical Association. 2012.
Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved March 19,
2016. Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years,
and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been
reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed
literature. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
^ "Restrictions on Genetically Modified Organisms: United States.
Public and Scholarly Opinion". Library of Congress. June 9, 2015.
Retrieved February 8, 2016. Several scientific organizations in the US
have issued studies or statements regarding the safety of GMOs
indicating that there is no evidence that GMOs present unique safety
risks compared to conventionally bred products. These include the
National Research Council, the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, and the American Medical Association. Groups
in the US opposed to GMOs include some environmental organizations,
organic farming organizations, and consumer organizations. A
substantial number of legal academics have criticized the US's
approach to regulating GMOs.
^ "Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects". The
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and
Medicine (US). 2016.
p. 149. Retrieved May 19, 2016. Overall finding on purported
adverse effects on human health of foods derived from GE crops: On the
basis of detailed examination of comparisons of currently
commercialized GE with non-GE foods in compositional analysis, acute
and chronic animal toxicity tests, long-term data on health of
livestock fed GE foods, and human epidemiological data, the committee
found no differences that implicate a higher risk to human health from
GE foods than from their non-GE counterparts.
^ "Frequently asked questions on genetically modified foods". World
Health Organization. Retrieved February 8, 2016. Different GM
organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This
means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on
a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general
statements on the safety of all GM foods.
GM foods currently available on the international market have passed
safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human
health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a
result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in
the countries where they have been approved. Continuous application of
safety assessments based on the Codex Alimentarius principles and,
where appropriate, adequate post market monitoring, should form the
basis for ensuring the safety of GM foods.
^ Haslberger, Alexander G. (2003). "Codex guidelines for GM foods
include the analysis of unintended effects". Nature Biotechnology. 21:
739–741. doi:10.1038/nbt0703-739. PMID 12833088. These
principles dictate a case-by-case premarket assessment that includes
an evaluation of both direct and unintended effects.
^ Some medical organizations, including the British Medical
Association, advocate further caution based upon the precautionary
"Genetically modified foods and health: a second interim statement"
(PDF). British Medical Association. March 2004. Retrieved March 21,
2016. In our view, the potential for GM foods to cause harmful health
effects is very small and many of the concerns expressed apply with
equal vigour to conventionally derived foods. However, safety concerns
cannot, as yet, be dismissed completely on the basis of information
When seeking to optimise the balance between benefits and risks, it is
prudent to err on the side of caution and, above all, learn from
accumulating knowledge and experience. Any new technology such as
genetic modification must be examined for possible benefits and risks
to human health and the environment. As with all novel foods, safety
assessments in relation to GM foods must be made on a case-by-case
Members of the GM jury project were briefed on various aspects of
genetic modification by a diverse group of acknowledged experts in the
relevant subjects. The GM jury reached the conclusion that the sale of
GM foods currently available should be halted and the moratorium on
commercial growth of GM crops should be continued. These conclusions
were based on the precautionary principle and lack of evidence of any
benefit. The Jury expressed concern over the impact of GM crops on
farming, the environment, food safety and other potential health
The Royal Society review (2002) concluded that the risks to human
health associated with the use of specific viral
DNA sequences in GM
plants are negligible, and while calling for caution in the
introduction of potential allergens into food crops, stressed the
absence of evidence that commercially available GM foods cause
clinical allergic manifestations. The BMA shares the view that that
there is no robust evidence to prove that GM foods are unsafe but we
endorse the call for further research and surveillance to provide
convincing evidence of safety and benefit.
^ Funk, Cary; Rainie, Lee (January 29, 2015). "Public and Scientists'
Science and Society". Pew Research Center. Retrieved February
24, 2016. The largest differences between the public and the AAAS
scientists are found in beliefs about the safety of eating genetically
modified (GM) foods. Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) scientists say it is
generally safe to eat GM foods compared with 37% of the general
public, a difference of 51 percentage points.
^ Marris, Claire (2001). "Public views on GMOs: deconstructing the
myths". EMBO Reports. 2: 545–548. doi:10.1093/embo-reports/kve142.
PMC 1083956 . PMID 11463731.
^ Final Report of the PABE research project (December 2001). "Public
Perceptions of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Europe". Commission of
European Communities. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
^ Scott, Sydney E.; Inbar, Yoel; Rozin, Paul (2016). "Evidence for
Absolute Moral Opposition to Genetically Modified Food in the United
States" (PDF). Perspectives on Psychological Science. 11 (3):
315–324. doi:10.1177/1745691615621275. PMID 27217243.
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Congress. June 9, 2015. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
^ Bashshur, Ramona (February 2013). "FDA and Regulation of GMOs".
American Bar Association. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
^ Sifferlin, Alexandra (October 3, 2015). "Over Half of E.U. Countries
Are Opting Out of GMOs". Time.
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GMOs in Europe and the United States: A Case-Study of Contemporary
European Regulatory Politics". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved
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^ Andrew Pollack for the New York Times. April 13, 2010 Study Says
Overuse Threatens Gains From Modified Crops
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