DNA Day experts answer your questions about transgenic organisms

29 April 2014

Above: Image © David Monniaux, Wikimedia Commons

What is the role of DNA in transgenic plants and how do transgenic plants impact society?

We have learned how to swap DNA from one organism to another. Transgenic plants have pieces of DNA from some other organism that have been inserted by humans. The debate about the potential health and environmental consequences of transgenic plants is a hot topic. Strong evidence that transgenic plants have a negative impact on health or the environment does not exist. Transgenic plants have the potential to play a positive role in society, but we should always be cautious about the risks.

- Answer provided by Dr. Sean Myles

Can you tell us anything about broccoli being 'naturally transgenic'? What lessons can be learned from that?

I don't know what is meant by "naturally transgenic". Perhaps it is the result of a cross between distantly related species that would otherwise never come together to mate? Sure - but that's the case for strawberries, table grapes, and lots of other examples.

- Answer provided by Dr. Sean Myles


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