B3 - GM Crops [Edexcel]

Biology 3 - EDEXCEL SPECIFICATION - Higher Tier notes; 

GM crops; advantages/disadvantages and method.

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GM Crops Sophie Mitchell
GM Crops
GM crops are crops that have their DNA genetically modified to produce a certain desired feature
that the crop would not naturally produce, by the removal/replacement of a DNA from a foreign
bacteria.The genetic modification of the crops is a relatively straight forward process, being carried
out all over the world by specialists.
It begins with an organism, naturally containing genetic code that produces the desired feature, for
this example it will be a herbicide resistant gene. Using a restriction enzyme, the gene is extracted
from the organism's chromosome. Then, the Ti plasmid
(a ring of DNA in the bacteria able to multiply on its own)
is removed from the bacteria `Agrobacterium
tumefaciens'. The Plasmid is then cut open, using
another restriction enzyme, to create space. Using a
ligase enzyme, the previously removed desirable gene
is inserted into the Ti plasmid, now closing the ring. At
this point the plasmid now has genetically modified DNA
containing the herbicide resistant gene that is desired.
The modified plasmid, is now put back into the
Agrobacterium tumefaciens, making it a Herbicide
resistant bacteria/cell. The engineered Agrobacterium
tumefaciens is now a vector, being able to transport its
gene into the plant that the modification is wanted in.
The infected bacterium produces gall cells, containing masses of the GM Ti Plasmid. Scientists are
then able to take samples from the gall cells and grow lots of the GM bacteria in labs on agar plates.
The gall cells, which grow into plantlets, further grow and produce mature plants with herbicide
resistance, enabling the grower to use herbicides on any weeds, without killing the crops.

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GM Crops Sophie Mitchell
So what are the uses of GM crops? Well, they're mostly seen in the world of agriculture, where
plants can be genetically modified to give higher yield, grow faster, have some kind of resistance
(such as disease, herbicides or insecticides), improve the quality of the crop ­ by perhaps changing
the nutrients in the crop. Not only this, but genetic engineering is often a single cell process, and
takes up little room, time and expense.…read more

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