VISTA on the Agri-food Industry and the Farm Community – Genetically modified crops: steady growth in Ontario and Quebec

Logo: VISTA on the Agri-food Industry and the Farm Community

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.

Frequency: Occasional

Author(s): Bernard Hategekimana and Martin-S Beaulieu

Related information

  • Biotechnology, Corn, Crop yield, Farm size, Genetically modified seeds, Provincial differences, Soybeans