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Effects of Genetic Pollution in Plants and Animals

BY: Amna Adnan | Category: Issues | Submitted: 2010-06-18 22:05:30
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Article Summary: "What is Genetic pollution? By definition it is the flow of genes from genetically modified organisms to the non-genetically modified organisms. Due to this reason, the population of animals or plants may undergo certain genetic changes in them or they might completely extinct..."


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Genetic pollution is the term of genetics in which the genetic information is transferred in to the organisms where it is not needed or where this information never existed before. This flow of genetic information is usually undesired and cannot be controlled. The flow of genetic information usually takes place between the genetically modified organisms into the organisms which are not genetically modified.

Genetic engineering has made it possible to make genetically modified organisms and plants. In other words new genes from another source have been inserted into the organism and as a result organism shows changes in it according to the gene's function in the body. These inserted genes are called s transgenes and scientists can take them from other sources or species to see certain changes in the organism. In some cases the genes which are already present in the organism can be taken out and desirable changes can be made in them. Scientists make all these changes just to see the different traits or characteristics of genes in an organism.

When the genetically modified organisms are allowed to breed with the organisms which are not genetically engineered, then these organisms will pollute the genetic of non-genetically engineered organisms. Due to this reason the whole ecological system will get affected. There are few possibilities if GM organisms are bred with non-GM organisms.

1) Genetically modified might lead the non-GM organisms to extinction.

2) Their genetics will change and they will not be able to show their characteristics.

3) There are chances that these organisms might develop resistance against pesticides or herbicides and it will be a nightmare for the farmers.

Genetic Pollution in Plants:-
The flow of genes in plants can occur from the genetically modified plants to the non0genetically modified plants. This occurs due to the processes of cross pollination, animal pollination or water pollination. In all the three methods, seeds reach at new places through animals, water or cross pollination. If the seeds are genetically modified then there are chances that they if bred with other plants may produce plants which cause genetic pollution, for example the trees of dates or pines. If the genetically modified seeds are exported to the third world countries, then there also chances of genetic pollution. There is an example of genetically modified herbicide resistant bent grass which was produced by Scotts Company. The bent grass had the ability to spread its genes through cross pollination over a large distance. They bred with the naturally occurring grass and changed their genetic makeup.

Genetic Pollution in Animals:-
The process of gene flow in animals is almost similar. It occurs when genetically modified animals breed with the non-genetically engineered animals changing certain characteristics in them. Unlike plant species, genetic pollution in animals especially in humans is not very common. Common example of genetic pollution in animals is the breeding of farmed Atlantic salmon with the wild Atlantic salmon. Genetic pollution in animals can completely change their genetic makeup or make them extinct.

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