A genetically modified soybean
is a soybean
) that has had DNA
introduced into it using genetic engineering
techniques. In 1994 the first genetically modified soybean was introduced to the U.S. market, by Monsanto
. In 2014, 90.7 million hectares of GM soy were planted worldwide, 82% of the total soy cultivation area.
Examples of transgenic soybeans
The genetic makeup of a soybean gives it a wide variety of uses, thus keeping it in high demand. First, manufacturers only wanted to use transgenics to be able to grow more soy at a minimal cost to meet this demand, and to fix any problems in the growing process, but they eventually found they could modify the soybean to contain healthier components, or even focus on one aspect of the soybean to produce in larger quantities. These phases became known as the first and second generation of genetically modified (GM) foods. As Peter Celec
describes, "benefits of the first generation of GM foods were oriented towards the production process and companies, the second generation of GM foods offers, on contrary, various advantages and added value for the consumer", including "improved nutritional composition or even therapeutic effects."
Roundup Ready Soybean
Roundup Ready Soybeans (The first variety was also known as GTS 40-3-2 (OECD UI: MON-04032-6)) are a series of genetically engineered
varieties of glyphosate
s produced by Monsanto
Glyphosate kills plants by interfering with the synthesis of the essential amino acid
. These amino acids are called "essential" because animals cannot make them; only plants and micro-organisms can make them and animals obtain them by eating plants.
Plants and microorganisms make these amino acids with an enzyme
that only plants and lower organisms have, called 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase
(EPSPS). EPSPS is not present in animals, which instead obtain aromatic amino acids from their diet.
Roundup Ready Soybeans express a version of EPSPS from the CP4 strain of the bacteria, Agrobacterium tumefaciens
, expression of which is regulated by an enhanced 35S promoter (E35S) from cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV), a chloroplast transit peptide (CTP4) coding sequence from Petunia hybrida, and a nopaline synthase (nos 3') transcriptional termination element from Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The plasmid with EPSPS and the other genetic elements mentioned above was inserted into soybean germplasm with a gene gun
by scientists at Monsanto and Asgrow.Homrich MS et al (2012) Soybean genetic transformation: a valuable tool for the functional study of genes and the production of agronomically improved plants
Genet. Mol. Biol. vol.35 no.4 supl.1Padgette SR, et al (1995) Development, identification, and characterization of a glyphosate-tolerant soybean line
. Crop Sci 35:1451-1461. The patent on the first generation of Roundup Ready soybeans expired in March 2015.
First approved commercially in the United States
during 1994, GTS 40-3-2 was subsequently introduced to Canada
in 1995, Japan
in 1996, Uruguay
in 1997, Mexico
in 1998, and South Africa
GTS 40-3-2 can be detected using both nucleic acid and protein analysis methods.
Generic GMO soybeans
Following expiration of Monsanto's patent on the first variety of glyphosate-resistant Roundup Ready soybeans, development began on glyphosate-resistant "generic" soybeans. The first variety, developed at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, came on the market in 2015. With a slightly lower yield than newer Monsanto varieties, it costs about half as much, and seeds can be saved for subsequent years. According to its creator it is adapted to conditions in Arkansas. Several other varieties are being bred by crossing the original variety of Roundup Ready soybeans with other soybean varieties.
developed a glyphosate-resistant soybean that also expresses Cry1Ac protein from Bacillus thuringiensis
and the glyphosate
-resistance gene, which completed the Brazilian regulatory process in 2010.Staff, Monsanto. August, 2009. Application for authorization to place on the market MON 87701 × MON 89788 soybean in the European Union, according to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed
Linked from the GMO Compass page on the MON87701 x MON89788
event. Monsanto's Bt Roundup Ready 2 Yield Soybeans Approved for Planting in Brazil - Crop Biotech Update (8/27/2010) | ISAAA.org/KC
Genetic modification to improve soybean oil
Soy has been genetically modified to improve the quality of soy oil
. Soy oil has a fatty acid
profile that makes it susceptible to oxidation
, which makes it rancid
, and this has limited its usefulness to the food industry. Genetic modifications increased the amount of oleic acid
and stearic acid
and decreased the amount of linolenic acid
. By silencing, or knocking out, the delta 9 and delta 12 desaturases
.Anthony, 196-7 DuPont Pioneer
created a high oleic fatty acid soybean with levels of oleic acid greater than 80%, and started marketing it in 2010.
The regulation of genetic engineering concerns the approaches taken by governments to assess and manage the risks associated with the development and release of genetically modified crops. There are differences in the regulation of GM crops between countries, with some of the most marked differences occurring between the USA and Europe. Soy beans are allowed a Maximum Residue Limit
of 20 mg/Kghttp://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/standards/pestres/pesticide-detail/en/?p_id=158 for international trade.https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/coher_e/wto_codex_e.htm Regulation varies in a given country depending on the intended use of the products of the genetic engineering. For example, a crop not intended for food use is generally not reviewed by authorities responsible for food safety. Wesseler
, J. and N. Kalaitzandonakes (2011): Present and Future EU GMO policy. In Arie Oskam, Gerrit Meesters and Huib Silvis (eds.), EU Policy for Agriculture, Food and Rural Areas. Second Edition, pp. 23-323 – 23-332. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic PublishersBeckmann, V., C. Soregaroli, J. Wesseler
(2011): Coexistence of genetically modified (GM) and non-modified (non GM) crops: Are the two main property rights regimes equivalent with respect to the coexistence value? In "Genetically modified food and global welfare" edited by Colin Carter, GianCarlo Moschini and Ian Sheldon, pp 201-224. Volume 10 in Frontiers of Economics and Globalization Series. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing
There is a scientific consensus
But see also:And contrast:and that currently available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food, but that each GM food needs to be tested on a case-by-case basis before introduction.Some medical organizations, including the British Medical Association
, advocate further caution based upon the precautionary principle
: Nonetheless, members of the public are much less likely than scientists to perceive GM foods as safe. The legal and regulatory status of GM foods varies by country, with some nations banning or restricting them, and others permitting them with widely differing degrees of regulation.
A 2010 study found that in the United States, GM crops also provide a number of ecological benefits.Andrew Pollack for the New York Times. April 13, 2010 Study Says Overuse Threatens Gains From Modified Crops
Critics have objected to GM crops on several grounds, including ecological concerns, and economic concerns raised by the fact these organisms are subject to intellectual property law. GM crops also are involved in controversies over GM food with respect to whether food produced from GM crops is safe and whether GM crops are needed to address the world's food needs. See the genetically modified food controversies
article for discussion of issues about GM crops and GM food. These controversies have led to litigation, international trade disputes, and protests, and to restrictive legislation in most countries. Wesseler
, J. (ed.) (2005): Environmental Costs and Benefits of Transgenic Crops. Dordrecht, NL: Springer Press