A Look at Product Development with Genetically Modified Crops: Examples from Maize

DOI: 10.1021/jf400685y

Abstract: Plant breeding for crop genetic improvement involves the cycle of creating genetic diversity and exploiting that diversity to derive an improved cultivar with outstanding performance for specific traits of interest. Genetic modification through transformation essentially expands the genepool to facilitate access to genes otherwise not available through crossing. Transgenic events are defined by the DNA sequence that has been incorporated into the target genome and the specific point(s) of insertion. In the development of a new transgenic trait, typically many events are generated and evaluated with the aim of identifying one exhibiting consistent trait expression at or above specified thresholds, stable inheritance, and the absence of any negative effects. With transgenic traits for maize, once commercial candidates have been identified, these events are introgressed into elite lines, often through the use of molecular markers that can accelerate the breeding process and aid in producing a quality conversion. Converted elite lines are yield-tested to ensure performance equivalency with their unconverted counterparts. Finally, before commercial sale of seed, quality control monitoring is conducted to ensure event identity and purity and the absence of any unintended events. This monitoring complements other quality control measures to confirm seed viability and line/hybrid purity and uniformity in seed treatments, all in an effort to ensure customer satisfaction and to comply with governmental regulations. Thus, genetically modified (GM) cultivars are subject to significant testing and auditing prior to seed sale and distribution to farmers, more testing and auditing than with non-GM cultivars.

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