Eat Your Genes

How Genetically Modified Food is Entering Our Diet

Stephen Nottingham

Eat Your Genes

Stephen Nottingham

Distributed for Zed Books

256 pages | 5.4375 x 8.5 | © 2003  
Paper $36.95 ISBN: 9781842773475 Published April 2003 For sale in North and South America only
Food safety scares such as salmonella in eggs or BSE in beef continue to cause public concern, but far more unnoticed is the way that genetically engineered food is entering our diet. This book looks at how this situation came about, revealing those responsible for driving genetically modified foods so rapidly on to the market. Stephen Nottingham argues that consumer pressure could decide whether these new products succeed or fail. His book gives us the facts: what these new foods are, how they are produced, why they remain unlabelled and how they are arriving on our plates unannounced. Never before has science been likely to have quite such a huge impact on our lives - after all, we are what we eat. Here is an issue every thinking person needs to apply their mind to. This is the book to help you do it.
Introduction to the New Updated Edition

Genetic engineering and food production
The tools of genetic engineering
Modifying milk
Corporate consolidation
Herbicide resistance
Insect resistance
Designer crops
Ecological risks
Health risks
Ethical concerns
Regulatory framework
The global impact of transgenic crops
Prospects for GM food

1. A Brief History of Agricultural Improvements and the Arrival of Genetic Engineering
Artificial selection
The laws of inheritance
Sources of variation
The Green Revolution
Plant breeding and genetic engineering
The scale of transgenic plant releases to the environment
Biotechnology: transgenic bacteria and fungi
Genetic modifications to animals and fish

2. What is Genetic Engineering?
Protein synthesis
Jumping genes
Gene libraries
Enzymes: the genetic engineer's toolkit
Methods of gene transfer to crop plants
Viral vectors and gene regulation
Bacterial vectors: the Agrobacterium method
Gene guns
Gene silencing
Plant tissue culture
Marker genes
Gene libraries

3. Milking It: Increasing Yields and the Pharming of Proteins
Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rBST)
The pharming of transgenic animals

4. Herbicide Resistant Crops
Advantages for weed control
Achieving herbicide resistance
Monsanto's Roundup ReadyTm crops
Environmental considerations

5. Insect Resistant Crops and a Modified Insect Baculovirus
Bacillus thuringiensis toxin
Ciba Geigys B.t. maize
Protease inhibitors and lectins
Pyramiding genes
Benefits for insect control
Resistance management
Baculovirus: engineering a quicker kill

6. Designer Food and Engineered Plants
Modifications for food processing and taste
Oilseed composition
Protein content
Viral resistance
Fungal resistance
Nematode resistance
Photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation
Tolerance to high salinity and other poor soil conditions
Tolerance to drought conditions
Tolerance to frost: ice minus bacteria and antifreeze proteins
Drugs and Vaccines
Engineering Cotton: Blue genes and plastic plants

7. Ecological Risks
Risk assessment
Risks posed by transgenic micro-organisms
Risks posed by virus resistant crops
Risk of Invasion and adverse effects on other organisms
The Risk of transgene spread

8. Risks to Human Health
Antibiotic resistant micro-organisms

9. Some Ethical and Moral Issues
Ethically sensitive genes
Animal Welfare
Is DNA life?

10. The Lucrative Art of Patenting
Patenting plants
Species-wide patents
Inter-firm cooperation agreements
Gene licencing agreements
The decline of independent seed companies
The GATT and the MAIs: Free trade and global rights for multinationals
Intellectual property rights and genetic resources from the Third World

11. Regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms and Food Products
The regulatory framework in the USA
The regulatory framework in the UK

12. Marketing Approval for Genetically Modified Foods in Europe
Decision making in the European Community
Monsanto's Roundup ReadyTm soya
Ciba Geigy's B.t. maize
A new wave of crops

13. The Consuming Question of Labelling
Lessons from irradiated food
The case against mandatory labelling: the food is no different
The case for mandatory labelling: the consumer's right to choose
Europe decides
Negative labelling and organic food

14. Impacts on the Third World
Transgenic crops and the world's hungary
Transgenic crops: chemical dependency or sustainable agriculture?
Economic Impacts

15. Prospects for Genetically Modified Food
Who benefits?
Perceived risks and benefits
The battle for hearts and minds

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