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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Fun Facts to Know About Biotechnology


  • A gene from the Arctic flounder has been transferred to tomatoes to ease their susceptibility to cold. The gene instructs the cell to produce a certain protein. The tomato doesn't develop fins and smell fishy.

  • The first gene-modified soybean was introduced in 1995, and now it accounts for half the U.S. crop. While some part of the soybean ends up in 60% of processed foods, these oils and proteins are indistinguishable from those in conventional beans.

  • Monsanto has transplanted a gene into soybeans, cotton and corn to make them immune to its Roundup herbicide. These genes could theoretically spread to wild cousins of these crops, giving rise "superweeds." But get a grip: These superweeds would be immune only to Roundup, and there are other herbicides on the market.

  • Corn and cotton have been modified with a bacterial gene to produce a toxin that kills a common pest. Seed producers now have a powerful economic incentive to make sure the insect population doesn't evolve a resistance to the toxin. By the terms of their licenses, farmers are required to plant conventional crops to create reserves of the dominant insect trait so it will constantly be bred back into the insect population.

  • tPA or tissue plasminogen activator, a blood clot dissolving enzyme, was one of the first GE (genetically engineered) products sold. tPA is frequently used to clear blocked blood vessels immediately following a stroke or heart attack.

  • While the manufacturing of products to be used in life sciences, cancer and other research has been going on for decades, human insulin (specifically Humulin) was the first biotechnology drug to be approved by the FDA. Humulin was developed by Genentech in 1982 and was used for treatment of diabetes.

  • The top 5 countries planting biotech crops are U.S., Brazil, Argentina, India and Canada. (Where is Pakistan, any guess)
  • Bioengineers Build Open Source Language for Programming Cells

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