Are GM crops out of date?
Selective breeding has given us many crop varieties over the years. Now, there’s a quicker way to do selective breeding. It’s called marker assisted breeding (MAB, marker assisted selection, MAS). It might mean that GM crops are old news.
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) explains how MAB works. It’s quicker than genetic modification (GM, genetic engineering, GE) and it doesn’t involve bringing in genes from other species. You identify desirable genes then select embryos which carry those genes. You don’t have to wait through the crop’s whole lifecycle before you’ve created a new variety, ready to test in a field.
The limitation of MAB may also be its strength. You can select only from the genes which the plant already has. So you can’t introduce a gene for insecticide, herbicide resistance, antifreeze or Vitamin A. But that means you’re not introducing genes with unknown…
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