transgenic crops

Joy Perry joyperry at UWC.EDU
Tue Mar 11 15:21:55 EST 1997


Scott Shumway wrote:
>How common are genetically engineered plants in agriculture today?  Are
>Bt-toxin producing transgenic plants currently in commercial production or
>only at the development stage?  How many genetically engineered plants are
>available in the grocery store?  I have only heard of the "flavor-saver
>tomato".  Are there others?
>

I'm going out on something of a limb here because I seem to have misplaced
my reference materials, but...transgenic plants are not very common yet.
Several specific crops have received approval for commercial production and
sale, but I believe next summer will probably be the first for large-scale
seed sale. So far, Ciba-Geigy's Bt-corn has been approved, as has
Monsanto's glyphosate-resistant soybeans, a virus-resistant squash from
Asgrow, and, I think, a Bt-cotton (can't remember the developing company.)
There are a host of others in the regulatory pipeline, though.

The Bt-corn is supposed to be marketed with a host of requirements that the
growers follow regarding acreages planted with the Bt seed, the need to
provide Bt-free "refuges", and such to try to retard the appearance of
Bt-resistant pest populations.

I'm not aware of anything other than the "flavr-savr" tomato that would be
in the supermarket at this time. Does anyone else have more complete
information?

>We have been discussing these issues in one of my classes and I don't know
>the answers.  It is a great topic for generating class discussion.

That's been my experience, too. My students are intrigued by the idea of
inserting flounder genes into tomatoes, and chicken genes into potatoes.



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Joy B. Perry
University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley
P.O. Box 8002
1478 Midway Road
Menasha, WI  54952-8002
office: 414-832-2653
FAX:  414-832-2674
joyperry at uwc.edu
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