IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: The information on this site is subject to a disclaimer and a copyright notice.
European FlagEuropa
The European Commission

Directorate-General for Agriculture

Economic Impacts of Genetically Modified Crops on the Agri-Food Sector


Agri-genomics Study of the make-up of and interaction between genes in crops and combinatorial chemistry
Biotechnology According to the draft Protocol on Biosafety, modern biotechnology means the application of:

i) in vitro nucleic acid techniques

ii) fusion of cells beyond the taxonomic family that overcomes natural physiological reproductive or recombination barriers and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection.

Biotechnology is currently applied in the health sector (antibiotics, insulin, interferon.), in the agri-food system (micro-organisms, plants and animals), and in industrial processes such as waste recycling.

Biotechnology and genetic engineering are often used interchangeably (see below).

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a soil bacterium that produces toxins against insects (mainly in the genera Lepidoptera, Diptera and Coleoptera). Bt preparations are used in organic farming as an insecticide. 
Bt crops Bt crops are genetically modified to carry genetic material from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Crops containing the Bt genes are able to produceBt-toxin, thereby providing protection against insects during the growth-stage of the plant..
Bt cotton Bt cotton is genetically modified to control budworms, and bollworms.
Bt corn/maize Bt corn/maize is genetically modified to provide protection against the European Corn Borer. The words Corn and Maize are used interchangeably in this report
Canola Canola is a type of rapeseed which has been developed and grown in Canada. Canola is a registered trademark, corresponding to specified low contents in erucic acid in oil and in glucosinolates in meals equivalent to double 0 in the EU. It has initially been obtained by conventional breeding, but in recent years, GM herbicide tolerant varieties have been developed. 
DNA (Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid) The molecule that encodes genetic information in the cells. It is constructed of a double helix held together by weak bonds between base pairs of four nucleotides (adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine) that are repeated ad infinitum in various sequences. These sequences combine together into genes that allow for the production of proteins.
Genetic engineering The manipulation of an organism's genetic endowment by introducing or eliminating specific genes through modern molecular biology techniques. A broad definition of genetic engineering also includes selective breeding and other means of artificial selection.
Genetically Modified food Foods and food ingredients consisting of or containing genetically modified organisms, or produced from such organisms.
Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) An organism produced from genetic engineering techniques that allow the transfer of functional genes from one organism to another, including from one species to another. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, plants, insects, fish, and mammals are some examples of organisms the genetic material of which has been artificially modified in order to change some physical property or capability. Living modified organisms (LMOs), and transgenic organisms are other terms often used in place of GMOs. 
Germplasm Germplasm is living tissue from which new plants can be grown--seed or another plant part such as a leaf, a piece of stem, pollen or even just a few cells that can be cultured into a whole plant. Germplasm contains the genetic information for the plant's heredity makeup.
Herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops:  The insertion of a herbicide tolerant gene enables farmers to spray wide-spectrum herbicides on their fields killing all the plants but the HT crop. . The most common herbicide-tolerant crops (cotton, corn, soybeans, and canola) are tolerant to glyphosateand to glufosinate-ammonium, which are the active ingredients of common wide spectrum herbicides. There are also HT rapeseed and cotton which are tolerant to bromoxynil.
Identity Preservation (IP) System of crop or raw material management which preserves the identity of the source or nature of the materials.
Living Modified Organism(LMO)-
according to Biosafety Protocol
Any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through modern biotechnology. A living organism is biological entity capable of transferring or replicating genetic material.
Novel Food GM food and other foods and food ingredients consisting of or isolated from micro-organisms, fungi, algae, plants or animals, or which have been obtained through new processes.
Plant breeding Plant breeding is use of techniques involving crossing plants to produce varieties with particular characteristics (traits) which are carried in the genes of the plants and passed on to future generations. Conventional/traditional plant breeding refers to techniques others than modern biotechnology, in particular cross-breeding, back-crossing.
Segregation Segregating implies setting up and monitoring of separate production and marketing channels for GM and non-GM products.
Traceability Traceability measures covering feed, food and their ingredients "include the obligation for feed and food businesses to ensure that adequate procedures are in place to withdraw feed and food from the market where a risk to the health of the consumer is posed. Operators should keep adequate records of suppliers of raw materials and ingredients so that the source of the problem can be identified.
Transgenic plants Transgenic plants result from the insertion of genetic material from another organism so that the plant will exhibit a desired trait. 

Based on various sources

[Index] - [Previous chapter] - [Next chapter]


[ Agriculture ] - [ Publications

What's New ?
Key Issues