We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are Transgenic Crops?

By Amanda R. Bell
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Transgenic crops are defined as any plants that have been artificially pollinated or injected with a gene to improve upon the resilience, growth, and adaptability of the original crop. This process, which involves separating genes from each plant or substance and then transferring the gene to a donor, can be done with genes coming from another species of the same plant or a different one entirely, as well as genes from non-plant organisms. In most parts of the world, transgenic crops are highly regulated to protect the safety of humans, other crops, and the environment.

The actual process for injecting a plant with a gene is incredibly complex. To start, scientists must pinpoint the specific DNA sequence that they wish to modify in the plant, and then pinpoint the replacement gene in the other organism. The gene is then removed from the donor, processed to increase the amount of DNA present, and then injected into the cell from the main plant. From this point, the new cells are placed in a culture to reproduce. Depending on the genes being transferred and multiple other factors, this process may differ slightly and various methods may be used for the transfer process itself.

Genetically modifying crops began in the 1980s, and one of the most common means of modifications is injecting one plant with a gene from a plant in the same species. Technically classified as cisgenesis, this process is also possible by breeding the two plants together, although the genetic method is infinitely quicker. Most often, these types of transgenic crops are created to improve the health of the existing plant. For example, the gene from a wild plant may be inserted into the domesticated version to provide the latter with the resilience of the former while still making it possible to grow the crop commercially.

Genes from non-plant organisms are also injected into plants. These types of transgenic crops are typically injected with a gene from a variety of bacteria or anther substance to protect the crops from pesticides, herbicides, diseases, or other harmful substances. Typically, this is the most controversial type of genetic modification, although this and cisgenesis are typically handled in the same manner legally in most countries.

A good portion of the world’s land is used to grow and develop transgenic crops, despite the fact that the legal requirements for growing and selling these crops for human consumption are extremely strict in most areas. In the United States, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all oversee different safety and environmental aspects of transgenic crops. In Europe, each new crop is treated as a completely new food source and, as such, is stringently studied, tested, and researched before it is approved for growth or sale. This same type of strict testing, combined with studies into how the release of the crop will affect the local trade market, are performed by most governments, including India, China, and Australia.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.