The Science of Meaningful GMO Labeling

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October 20, 2015. Elizabeth . Vierling. Distinguished Professor . Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. UMass Amherst. What I want to communicate. What is my bias?. What are the major “transgenic crops” (“GMOs”) today?. ID: 445070 Download Presentation

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The Science of Meaningful GMO Labeling




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The Science of Meaningful GMO LabelingOctober 20, 2015Elizabeth VierlingDistinguished Professor Biochemistry & Molecular BiologyUMass Amherst

Slide2

What I want to communicate

What is my bias?

What are the major “transgenic crops” (“GMOs”) today?

Not all GMOs are the same!

Many foods made from GMO plants have little or NO GMO ingredients!

GMO technology can be ONE way to improve agriculture

Slide3

What is my bias?

Use

knowledge-based

processes to understand potential risks and rewards of new (and old) technologies

P

rotect the right for farmers to farm in

different

sustainable

ways (and make a living), and for consumers to choose foods of their preference

Concern:

O

ver-heated rhetoric is obscuring the risks and rewards of GMOs.

GMOs

will double yields and solve all agricultural

problems!!!

GMOs will kill you, or at least make you sick, and besides…it’s

MONSANTO

(buy organic

) !!!

Slide4

I use GMO “technology” to put genes into plants for basic research and discovery.

Mustard family

(

Brassicaceae)Related to Canola, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage

“Mouse-eared cress” (Arabidopsis thaliana)

Research support: the National Science Foundation, USDA, DOE, National Institutes of Health

Flower with an added Green Fluorescent protein.

Slide5

My other bias: All GMOs must be tested, and they are not all the same!

GM

crops are

evaluated by the EPA, USDA and FDA for:

Risks to human health

(toxicity &

allergenicity

)

Risks of

developing resistance

in target pathogens or

pests

Risks to non-target organisms

Risks from movement of

the GMO genes

Slide6

What I want to communicate

What is my bias?

What are the major “transgenic crops” (“GMOs”) today?

Not all GMOs are the same!

Many foods made from GMO plants have NO GMO ingredients!

GMO technology can be ONE way to improve agriculture

Slide7

Slide8

cera-gmc.org

The

Center for Environmental Risk Assessment (CERA): Dedicated to applying sound science to assess the risk of agricultural biotechnologies.

Slide9

Types of “GMO” crops currently grown

Countries listed in order of number of acres

Note: There is NO “GMO” rice, wheat, peanut

Slide10

Major genes in GM crops today

Herbicide tolerance (HT):

Corn, soybean, canola, cotton, sugar beet, alfalfa

“Roundup Ready”

Gene: EPSP synthase

Insect Resistance (

Bt

):

Corn, Cotton

B

acillus

t

huringensis

toxin”

Gene:

Bt

toxin

Papaya ring spot virus resistance:

Papaya

Gene: RSV protein

Slide11

Because there are different kinds of GMOs

ONE “GMO” label is not informative.

Slide12

What I want to communicate

What is my bias?

What are the major “transgenic crops” (“GMOs”) today?

Not all GMOs are the same!

Many foods made from GMO plants have little or NO GMO ingredients!

GMO technology can be ONE way to improve agriculture

Slide13

The four major

Macromolecules

of life:

(i.e. big stuff, e.g. relative to an atom)

Nucleic acids:

DNA

-

Deoxyribonucleic acid

RNA–

Ribonucleic acid

Store and transmit information

Proteins:

Made of Amino acids (20 kinds) –

Workhorses of our cells/bodies

Lipids:

Store energy (fat),lots of other functions

Carbohydrates:

Store energy, other stuff too

Slide14

The four major

Macromolecules

of life:

(i.e. big stuff, e.g. relative to an atom)

Nucleic acids:

DNA

-

Deoxyribonucleic acid

RNA–

Ribonucleic acid

Store and transmit information

Proteins:

Made of Amino acids (20 kinds) –

Workhorses of our cells/bodies

Lipids:

Store energy (fat),lots of other functions

Carbohydrates:

Store energy, other stuff too

Slide15

A GMO changes <0.001% of DNA, and adds 2 more proteins to the 25,000 proteins in the plant

Nucleic acids:

DNA

-

Deoxyribonucleic acid

RNA–

Ribonucleic acid

Store and transmit information

Proteins:

Made of Amino acids (20 kinds) –

Workhorses of our cells/bodies

Slide16

Corn Oil or Soybean Oil made from GMO plants contains no GMO ingredients

– There is no Protein or DNA in oils or carbohydrates.So a product that uses corn or soybean oil as the only ingredient from a GMO has NO GMO material in it.

Contents of Corn Oil

Slide17

P

roducts like Tostitos, even if made from GMO corn, will have so little GMO protein that, special biochemical techniques would be required to detect it.

Slide18

What I want to communicate

What is my bias?

What are the major “transgenic crops” (“GMOs”) today?

Not all GMOs are the same!

Many foods made from GMO plants have NO GMO ingredients!

GMO technology can be ONE way to improve agriculture

Slide19

Worldwide, preharvest crop loss estimates: 13.8% due to insects and other arthropods11.6% due to disease (fungi, bacteria, and viruses) 9.5% due to weeds Other losses due to stress: drought, cold, heat, salinization

Total: 35%

Slide20

The spread of Citrus Greening disease

We have no way to breed citrus for resistance to this disease, but it could be done with GMO technology

Slide21

Disease resistant banana by introducing a gene from pepper

Resistant

Susceptible

Banana bacterial wilt is destroying plants in eastern Africa.

GM

plants carrying a resistance gene from pepper

are

resistant to the disease

Tripathi

, L.,

Mwaka

, H.,

Tripathi

, J.N., and

Tushemereirwe

, W.K. (2010). Expression of sweet pepper

Hrap

gene in banana enhances resistance to

Xanthomonas

campestris

pv

.

musacearum

. Molecular Plant Pathology 11:

721-731

.

Slide22

Slide23

Where to go from here?

Each crop, each “trait” (modification) needs to be evaluated separately.

We need more agricultural research!

To understand how to combat pests and disease

To move away from monoculture towards sustainable practices

A single “GMO” Label is NON-INFORMATIVE and MISLEADING.

Slide24

Let’s make

meaningful labels

so that we can actually make an informed choice:

What GMO “ingredient” has been added?

How much of it is actually present in food?

Slide25

https://sites.biochem.umass.edu/vierlinglab/

Thank you

Slide26


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