The hidden side of clinical trials

Watch the AllTrials TEDx talk on YouTube

Learn more

Evidence matters to the public

Join us on 1st November at Parliament to make the case

Learn more

Plant Science Panel

Insecticides, biofuels, GMOs …

Learn more

'The Ugly Truth'

by Tracey Brown, director of Sense About Science

Learn more

Consumption of GM crops

Gia Aradottir

Dr Gia Aradottir answered your questions on the consumption of GM crops on Thursday 19th July 2012. Find out more about Gia here.

If you have a question on a plant science related issue then get in contact with our Plant Science Expert Panel via Twitter, @senseaboutsci using #plantsci, or email us at [email protected].


1. Is it possible to put animal genes into crops to increase their protein? What would be the consequences of an insect eating crops with animal genes implanted in them?

GA: It is not necessary to use genetic modification to increase the protein content of a plant, this can be done using nitrogen fertiliser. Nitrogen is a major component of amino acids which are the building blocks for proteins. Referring to genes as plant or animal derived, however, is misleading. Genes are made up of segments of DNA, consisting of four chemical bases adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine, which are shared by all organisms. Many genes are shared between plants and animals. Most genetic modification is done using synthetic genes, the important outcome is what proteins the genes code for. Any effects of a gene on insect feeding would depend on the function of the gene.


2. Could a severe allergic reaction to a novel type of pollen or protein occur in those not normally allergic?

GA: An allergic reaction could occur to a new type of crop regardless of what method has been used to breed the crop. Crops bred using genetic modification go through rigorous testing before being accepted for human or animal consumption.



Our Q&As answer the questions people put, which may mean that some parts of a subject are covered well and others not. If there is an issue that you think is not tackled, you are welcome to send a follow up question to our plant science panel