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

>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.

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

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