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Are tulips with tulip breaking virus GMOs?

Posted by albert_135 Sunset 2 or 3 (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 13, 13 at 18:51

Many take great interest in avoiding GMOs. Are tulips with tulip breaking virus GMOs?


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RE: Are tulips with tulip breaking virus GMOs?

On another forum persons opined that a tulip infected by a ''natural'' virus like tulip breaking virus was not a GMO but were it infected by a manufactured virus then it would be a GMO. Is this an accepted technical definition jargon or just an opinion street jargon?

This post was edited by albert_135 on Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 12:19


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RE: Are tulips with tulip breaking virus GMOs?

Here is the best attempt at definition I have found.

To make regulation possible, we (scientists, regulators, etc.) think of genetically modified organisms as those that humans have purposefully modified using recombinant DNA technologies. Recombinant DNA is defined as "molecules that are constructed outside living cells by joining natural or synthetic DNA segments to DNA molecules that can replicate in a living cell, or (ii) molecules that result from the replication of those described in (i) above." (link). Basically, sticking together two pieces of DNA that aren't found together in nature. This can mean re-arranging an organism's own DNA, giving it DNA from another organism, or giving it completely synthetic DNA.

So, a wild-type, unengineered tulip mosaic virus is not recombinant or GMO. A tulip infected with the virus is also not GMO, because the process of genetic modifcation that results from the infection has not been intentionally modified by humans.

It's a slippery slope because introducing tulip mosaic virus into a line that hasn't previously been infected does result in genetic changes that were intended by humans. But, the vehicle doing the modification (the virus) is not modified, it's just doing what it's always done. We (scientists, regulators, etc.) don't consider that GMO, but one could easily make the argument that it is.

This post was edited by albert_135 on Wed, Jan 30, 13 at 16:36


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