Table of Contents

1. DNA, genes, genomes and plant breeding. 1.1. A brief history of genetics. 1.2. Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). 1.3. Genes. 1.4. Gene expression. 1.5. Genomes. 1.6. Genetic change. 1.7. Plant breeding. 1.8. Modern plant breeding. 1.9. Wide and forced crossing and embryo rescue. 1.10. Radiation and chemical mutagenesis. 1.11. The advent of genetic modification.
2. The techniques of plant genetic modification. 2.1. A brief history of the development of recombinant DNA technology. 2.2. Agrobacterium tumefaciens. 2.3. Use of Agrobacterium tumefaciens in plant genetic modification. 2.4. Transformation of protoplasts. 2.5. Particle gun. 2.6. Other direct gene transfer methods. 2.7. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Without tissue culture. 2.8. Selectable marker genes. 2.9. Visual/scoreable marker genes. 2.10. Design and construction of genes for introduction into plants. 2.11. Promoter types. 2.12. The use of GM to characterise gene promoters. 2.13. Gene over-expression and silencing.
3. The use of GM crops in agriculture. 3.1. Why use Genetic Modification (GM) in plant breeding? 3.2. Slow-ripening fruit. 3.3. Herbicide tolerance. 3.4. Insect resistance. 3.5. Virus resistance. 3.6. Modified oil content. 3.7. Modified starch for industrial and biofuel uses. 3.8. High lysine corn. 3.9. Vitamin content: golden rice. 3.10. Fungal resistance. 3.11. Drought, heat and cold tolerance; climate change. 3.12. Salt tolerance. 3.13. Biopharming. 3.14. Removal of allergens. 3.15. Conclusions.
4. Legislation covering GM crops and foods. 4.1. Safety of GM plants grown in containment. 4.2. Safety of field releases of GM plants. 4.3. Safety of GM foods. 4.4. European Union regulations. 4.5. Labelling and traceability regulations. 4.6. Safety assessment and labelling requirements in the USA.
5. Issues that have arisen in the GM crop and food debate. 5.1. Are GM foods safe?. 5.2 Will genetic modification produce new food allergens? 5.3. Is it ethical to transfer genes between different species? 5.4. Animal studies. 5.5. GM crops 'do not work' 5.6. Did tryptophan produced by genetic modification kill people? 5.7. The Monarch Butterfly. 5.8. The Pusztai Affair. 5.9. Alarm caused by contradictory results of biosafety studies. 5.10. 'Superweeds'. 5.11. Insect resistance to Bt crops. 5.12. Segregation of GM and non-GM crops: co-existence of GM and organic farming. 5.13. Antibiotic resistance marker genes. 5.14. Patenting. 5.15. Loss of genetic diversity. 5.16. The dominance of multinational companies. 5.17. The StarLink and ProdiGene Affairs. 5.18. The Cauliflower mosaic virus RNA gene promoter. 5.19. Implications for developing countries. 5.20. 'Terminator' technology. 5.21. Unintentional releases. 5.22. Asynchronous approvals. 5.23. The United Kingdom farm-scale evaluations. 5.24. Conclusions. Plant molecular biology came to the fore in the early 1980s and there has been tremendous growth in the subject since then. The study of plant genes and genomes and the development of techniques for the incorporation of novel or modified genes into plants eventually led to the commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) crops in the mid-1990s. This was seen as the start of a biotechnological revolution in plant breeding. However, plant biotechnology has become one of the hottest debates of the age and, in Europe at least, one of the greatest challenges that plant scientists have ever faced. This book covers the history and development of the science and techniques that underpin plant biotechnology. It describes the GM crops that are or have been grown commercially around the world, including failures as well as successes, and the new varieties that are being developed. The safety record of GM crops is reviewed together with the legislation that has been adopted to cover their use. The book also deals with the concerns of consumers, the GM crop debate and the prospects for the technology. In the second edition, sections on current GM crops and future developments in plant biotechnology have been greatly expanded, while those on techniques, legislation and the GM crop debate have also been updated. The book is a concise, comprehensive and readable study that is accessible to a general readership with a scientific background but also provides useful information for the specialist.