FAQs on GE Crops

What are genetically engineered crops?

Genetically engineered crops are plants whose genetic composition has been altered by humans through the introduction of or change to DNA, RNA, or proteins, which cause the plant to express a new trait or changes the expression of an existing trait.

What are the differences between genetically engineered (GE) crops and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?

Genetically engineered and genetically modified are often used interchangeably when referring to varieties of crops developed by means other than conventional breeding. Genetic modification refers to the process used to modify the genome of an organism. Genetic engineering is one type of genetic modification process by which humans introduce or change DNA, RNA, or proteins in an organism to express a new trait or change the expression of an existing trait.

What genetically engineered crops are commercially available in the United States?

In May 2016, ten crops from genetically engineered seeds were in commercial production in the United States:

  • Maize (corn) with insect resistance, herbicide resistance and both kinds of resistance
  • Cotton with insect resistance, herbicide resistance and both kinds of resistance
  • Soybean with herbicide resistance
  • Canola with herbicide resistance
  • Alfalfa with herbicide resistance
  • Sugar beet with herbicide resistance
  • Papaya with virus resistance
  • Squash with virus resistance
  • Apple with nonbrowning trait
  • Potato with nonbrowning trait and disease resistance

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