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Genetically Modified Foods *

Difficulty
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Access to a research laboratory with PCR equipment is required for this project.
Material Availability Requires purchase of Bio-Rad's GMO Investigator Kit. A teacher's help is needed to order as Bio-Rad sells directly to schools.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervision is required in the laboratory facility.
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.

Abstract

Have your favorite foods been genetically modified? Genetically modified (GM) foods do not require labeling in the USA, and foods with less than 5% content from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be labeled "GMO free." In Europe and Asia, GM foods require labeling only if they contain more than 1% GM content. You can investigate whether your favorite food products, like corn tortilla chips, are made from genetically modified organisms using the GMO Investigator Kit from the Bio-Rad Biotechnology Explorer Program. The GMO Investigator kit uses PCR and DNA electrophoresis (shown in Figure 1, below) to test for the presence of two different GMO-associated DNA sequences: the 35S promoter of the cauliflower mosaic virus, and the terminator of the nopaline synthase gene of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. These DNA sequences are present in most (> 80%) of the GM crops that are approved for distribution worldwide. In addition, the integrity of the plant DNA extracted from food is tested by using PCR to amplify a section of the Photosystem II chloroplast gene that is common to most higher plants. (Bio-Rad, 2006)
Showing how to load a DNA gel.
Figure 1. Using the GMO Investigator Kit, you can perform PCR and DNA electrophoresis, which is shown here (a gel is being loaded with DNA), to test for GMO-associated DNA sequences in food products. (Photo courtesy of Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.)

Cite This Page

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Genetically Modified Foods" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 22 Oct. 2014. Web. 27 Nov. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/BioChem_p025.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, October 22). Genetically Modified Foods. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/BioChem_p025.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-10-22

Bibliography

Bio-Rad, 2006. "Biotechnology Explorer Program," Bio-Rad Laboratories [accessed 3/25/06] http://explorer.bio-rad.com.

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Materials and Equipment

Note: Bio-Rad Kits are sold directly to schools. To purchase, please have your school contact Bio-Rad at 800-424-6723 to verify account information and to place the order for you. Existing accounts will have orders processed within a day, and establishing an account will take approximately 48 hours.

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