Transgenic Crops: an Introduction and Resource Guide

The production of transgenic crops is a relatively new technology and discipline in the field of agriculture science. Crop plants are susceptible to numerous diseases and conditions resulting from insect infestation, bacterial and viral diseases, and environmental influences. Due to these constant pressures, a means of creating and transferring resistance to pests is needed to allow for continued growth and sustainability of the future of crop plants. Through the use of genetic engineering, it is possible to create crops that are resistant to insects and certain diseases that typically affect the plants, and it is also possible to transfer the new resistances to the next generation.

The creation of transgenic crops poses both benefits and risks to the agriculture industry. Technology, information, and plant crops are distributed globally; therefore, potential benefits and risks can affect people in many different parts of the world. Benefits include resistance to pests and diseases, thereby lessening the need for the use of pesticides and herbicides. Other benefits include improved crop productivity, the potential for increased nutritional value of plant crops, and the potential to produce more cost-effective medicines. Risks include general safety concerns about consumption of transgenic crops, environmental impact on crops that may become released into the wild, and potential introduction of allergens into food crops. Research and study into these, and other risks and benefits, are needed in order to determine if the production of transgenic crops is ultimately good or bad for humans and the environment.

Research, study, and debates continue on the topic of transgenic crops, and the agriculture industry is evolving with the changes brought about by the discoveries of genetic engineering. We, likewise, are changing, in a genetic sense at least, due to our consumption of these genetically altered food crops.

Below are links to more information about transgenic crops.

Transgenic Crops: Site with a list of links to bulletins about transgenic crops and issues concerning them.

Transgenic Crops Overview: Great information on transgenic crops such as the basics of genetic modification for agricultural purposes, a brief history of the technology, and much more.

Development and Commercialization of Insect Resistant Transgenic Crops: Informational article about insect resistant transgenic crops, specifically potato, corn, and cotton.

What Are the PROS & CONS of Transgenic Crops?: Article that weighs the good and bad of transgenic crops. Site includes links to more info on transgenic crops, a glossary, and more.

Transgenic Crops – Why Gene Flow Matters: A commentary on gene flow in transgenic crops.

Transgenic Crops in Indiana: Short-Term Issues for Farmers: General information about transgenic crops, with information specifically geared towards Indiana farmers.

Summary of Concerns About Transgenic Crops: Article that discusses the potential pitfalls of genetically-modified crops.

Controversies Regarding Transgenic Crops Escalate: Concerns and controversies raised about the use of transgenic crops.

Genetic Engineering- Part 2: Pros and Cons of Genetically Engineering Crops: Article that discusses some of the consequences of transgenic crops, such as allergies, soil erosion, pesticide usage, and more.

Transgenic Crops, EU Precaution, and Developing Countries: Research paper that discusses the stance of EU on transgenic crops and the impact of transgenic crops on developing countries.

Why is Release of Transgenic Crops Into the Environment a Risk?: Article from the Sierra Club that highlights common problems with transgenic crops.

Economic Impact of Transgenic Crops in Developing Countries: This articles discusses the use of genetically-modified crops in certain developing countries and the economic impact that has resulted from their use.

Public Concerns Over Transgenic Crops: Informational article about the types of concerns people have about the use of transgenic crops.

Transgenic Plant Breeding: Basic introductory information on genetically-modified plants.

Bt GM Crops: Information regarding plants modified with genes from Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis).

Methods to Produce Marker-Free Transgenic Plants: Research paper that discusses selectable marker genes and marker gene deletion systems.

Economic Impacts of Transgenic Crops: In depth article about the many impacts that transgenic crops have around the world.

Bt Transgenic Crops Do Not Have Favorable Effects on Resistant Insects: Research article that discusses the effects that Bt transgenic crops have on the insects that feed on them.

What are Genetically Modified (GM) Foods?: General information about genetic modifications of food and animals and the associated risks and benefits.

Use of Antibiotic Resistance Marker Genes in Transgenic Plants: Research paper from the FDA that provides guidance regarding the use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in transgenic crops.

Engineering with Precision: Tools for the New Generation of Transgenic Crops: This article discusses some current genetic engineering technologies and their strengths and weaknesses.

Transgenic Plants: Some basic info about the genetic manipulation of plants and the risks and benefits associated with it.

Transgenic Crops: How Genetics is Providing New Ways to Envision Agriculture: Description of what transgenic crops are, how they are produced, and advantages and disadvantages of them.

Transgenic Plants: A page that explains and diagrams the process of genetic modification in plants.

Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?: Article that describes what genetically modified food is, the advantages and disadvantages of such food, how prevalent the crops are and which ones are most common, and the regulation of such crops.

Scientific Facts on Genetically Modified Crops: Great resource about biotechnology and its effects on agriculture.

20 Questions on Genetically-Modified Foods: Page from the World Health Organization that answers common questions raised about genetically-modified foods.

Transgenic Bt Corn, A Powerful Pest Management Tool: Research paper about a variation of transgenic corn and its effects on pests.

Trangene Inheritance in Transgenic Wheat: Research paper that discusses the transmission and expression of certain genes in wheat plants.

Genetically Modified Crops: Article about genetically modified crops, with information on the background of the technology, issues with regulation of genetically engineered plants, and description of the process.

Benefits of Plant Biotechnology: Information from CropLife International on how transgenic crops benefit agriculture, farmers, and the environment.

Harvest of Fear: A report by FRONTLINE and NOVA about the debate surrounding genetically modified food crops.

Transgenic Crops: An Environmental Assessment: A report that discusses the environmental risks and benefits of transgenic crops, including information on US and EU regulations.

Genetically Engineered Plants: A discussion of developments and applications related to genetically engineered plants.