Natural "Genetically Modified Crops" Have Long Been Existed for Years

Posted by Ilsa Miller on March 7th, 2020

What is the first GM crop in the world? Was it developed by scientists in a laboratory? You might not have imagined that the first GM crop was born under natural conditions thousands of years ago.

Natural Exogenous "Transgenic" Crops

A study published in the May 2015 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that sweet potatoes, one of the major crops of humans, are actually genetically modified foods under natural conditions, and that they are also forcibly implanted with a foreign gene by a bacterium called "Agrobacterium."

The study was led by Jan Kreuze, a virologist at the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru. Agrobacterium genes transferred to sweet potatoes, he says, help plants produce two hormones that change their roots and produce some edible substances. Unfortunately, this speculation could not be confirmed or falsified. Because among 291 sweet potato varieties from the United States, Indonesia, China, parts of South America and Africa, there is no "non-transgenic sweet potato" variety without Agrobacterium DNA to do the comparative test.

The gene pool of all sweet potatoes contains genes from Agrobacterium, a bacterium common in the soil. In other words, sweet potatoes grown by humans are naturally genetically modified, without exception.

In other words, sweet potatoes are genetically modified crops in nature.

Autologous plant "transgenic" model

Could sweet potatoes be an exception? Of course not.

"People can't help thinking that different vegetables, fruits, crops and flowers are 'genetically modified'. In fact, over the course of billions of years of evolution in nature, the genome itself changes and the world becomes colorful." Cao Xiaofeng, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, academician of the Academy of Sciences of Developing Countries and researcher of the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who studied epigenetics, unveiled the genetic changes of plants under natural conditions for the students during the 7th "National Seminar on Transgenic Reporting of Media Journalists" sponsored by Beijing Association of Science and Technology Journalists and Editors.

Plants will show different traits due to the regulation of their own genes, such as tall and short, dark and light, with or without markings, and the "transposon" is the driving force of this evolutionary process.

Genes are sequenced, and "transposons" are irregular "cutters" who will copy or break from their original positions alone and insert their own gene into another locus. It is because of the transposable genetic factor that people can see these "strange" plants below.

The sacred fruit, which is often mistaken for a "transgene," is simply the product of a transposon "jump" mediated (vectorial, i.e., transducing a substance as a medium) gene rearrangement. In 2004, researchers discovered that the key gene at the SUN locus that controls tomato fruit shape elongation jumped from chromosome 10 to chromosome 7. The "transposon" inserted downstream genes that control fruit expansion, and the newly integrated locus enhanced the expression of downstream genes, resulting in tomato fruit shape elongation into an oval shape.

In blood oranges, blood-colored orange meat is derived from a transposon action upstream of the anthocyanin gene. The transposon boosts the expression of anthocyanins in orange meat, deepening its color. The VvmybA1 gene in Vitis vinifera could control the color of grape pericarp. When the transposon was inserted into the upstream of VvmybA1 gene in Vitis vinifera, the "transposon" inhibited the expression of VvmybA1 gene, resulting in the formation of white grape Chardonnay. Then the transposon "jumped the queue" again, the insertion site again led to the rearrangement of the DNA sequence, then the VvmybA1 gene partially restored the mutation, and then formed the red grape variety Aoshan Ruby.

The jumping in and out of transposons, promoting or inhibiting the expression of genes, is actually the process of natural transgenesis. Bicolor wild flowers on the roadside, speckled corn in the market...These seemingly "unusual" plants are classified as "work" over restless "transposons".

How many transposons are there in all the genes? 45% of the human genome is composed of transposon-derived repetitive sequences, and "transposons" are more prevalent in animal and plant genomes. Just because all living things have genes, it follows that in the course of millions of years of evolution on Earth, the "genetically modified" events under natural conditions alone have never stopped.

As a biotechnology company, Lifeasible is specialized in agricultural science, offering a wide variety of agro-related services and products for environmental and energy solutions.

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Ilsa Miller

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Ilsa Miller
Joined: March 7th, 2020
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