Chapter 23 Homework 3. Why are animal-feeding trials important in the evaluation of the safety of genetically modified foods? Animal-feeding trials are important in the evaluation of the safety of genetically modified foods because animals are good indicators of food quality. Animal-feeding trials are indicators of nutrient levels, anti-nutrient levels, toxins, and allergy inducing compounds. By feeding animals genetically modified foods, differences can be found in nutrition levels, toxicity, and allergenicity of foods. 4. What are some of the benefits of golden rice? Why has commercialization been delayed? An important benefit of the genetically modified “golden rice” is that it supplements dietary deficiencies due to the lack of Vitamin A. This problem is huge in the developing countries due to the lack of proper nutrition, and affects lots of children who are affected by retinal and corneal damage, and untimely death. Due to the unavailability of good dietary sources of vitamin A, the concept of “golden rice” was introduced. As we know that the genetically engineered plants or animals have to undergo safety assessment, it has not been possible in the case of “golden rice” due to the lack of production quantity in the green house and limited field space. Also, since it is being developed for people in the developing countries, proper financial support isn’t available for supporting/ funding the project. The other major hindrance is the involvement of various anti- genetic modification groups who argue that the vitamin deficiency can be compensated by the use of vitamin tablet and vitamin fortified foods. 6. What is StarLink corn, and why is it no longer marketed? StarLink corn is genetically modified corn that encodes Cry9C protein. This protein comes from an organism that has allergenic proteins. Because of this, the corn was for animal feed only. Human food was found to contain this corn and was considered contaminated. This caused StarLink corn to be taken off the market. 7. When is a genetically engineered food required to be labeled in the United States and in the European Union? Why are the requirements different in the two regions? In the U.S., genetically modified food is required to be labeled if it has properties different than the normal food. Labels are required if the food is novel, has an allergen, or has a toxin. In the European Union, genetically modified food is required to be labeled if it contains more than 0.9% genetically modified organisms. This basically includes all genetically modified food. The whole process must be traceable as well. The requirements are different in the two regions because of health concerns, economic issues, and philosophical issues that play different roles in each region. 9. Discuss the potential for cultivation of genetically engineered crops to decrease biodiversity. The reason that genetically modified products may be able to decrease overall biodiversity is that often the modifications give the plants a marked advantage over natural forms. In some cases the plants are so successful that they outcompete a number of native plant species. This has an affect on the local animal and insect biodiversity as well because some of these organisms inevitably depend on the failing plants for survival. There is also concern that the transgene could be transferred to a native species that could potentially take over. 12. How have farmers benefited economically from growing insect-resistant transgenic crops? Farmers in develop and developing countries receive great benefits from transgenic plants. New genetically modified crops increase the yield for farmers which also increases the money made from these crops. Also, farmers spend less money on chemicals to resist insects, labor, and machines to distribute the chemicals. 13. How have consumer attitudes toward genetic engineering and stringent regulatory requirements limited the development of biotechnology products? How do they impact trade among nations? Because people in different parts of the world view genetically modified food differently, this causes a change in biotechnology development and trade. Europeans are opposed to these foods due to food scares like mad cow disease. Since Europe has more stringent rules, normal crops must be separated from the modified crops used in trade, which is much more expensive. The European Union causes biotechnology to decrease because they will not accept it like they accept normal crops. Trade is difficult not only with the European Union but also with other countries that trade with Europe. These countries do not want to lose trade with Europe, so they do not accept genetically modified food. Some nations also feel like the U.S. tries to push genetically modified foods on them by giving aid in time of need with food that may be genetically modified. Because of these different requirements, trade can be very difficult between nations and cause biotechnology to be used less for trade.