VISTA on the Agri-food Industry and the Farm Community – Genetically modified crops: steady growth in Ontario and Quebec
Canada's Novel Food Guidelines defines "genetically modified" as "to change the inheritable trait of a plant, animal or microorganism by means of international manipulation." Biotechnology techniques are used to transfer DNA or genes that confers a desirable attribute from a donor organism to a receiving organism. Other techniques alter the DNA through chemical or radiation exposure. These techniques accelerate a natural process ( mutagenesis ) that allows species to adapt to changes in their environment over time. Bt crops contain a gene from a soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, which produces a protein that is toxic to certain insects, specially the European corn borer. It has been engineered into several crops and plants, including corn and potatoes. Herbicide-tolerant crops were engineered to survive the application of specific herbicides, such as glyphosate, that would normally kill the non-modified crops. Bt corn and herbicide-tolerant soybean and corn were introduced in the United States and Canada in limited quantities in 1996.
Author(s): Bernard Hategekimana and Martin Beaulieu
- Biotechnology, Corn, Crop yield, Farm size, Genetically modified seeds, Provincial differences, Soybeans
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