The supply, safety and nutritional value of foods have, over the centuries, been increased through innovation in plant breeding, crop harvesting and storage, and food processing and preservation methods. Diverse approaches to improve food quality and abundance have altered the genetics and physiology of organisms used for food production, and few cultivated food crops bear much resemblance to their wild ancestors. The aims of genetic modification and conventional breeding techniques are the same: to alter the genetic makeup by selectively breeding plants and animals, by choosing the best strains of food bacteria and fungi, or by deliberately introducing mutations that give desirable improved characteristics.
The recent use in food production of the techniques encompassed by the term genetic modification (GM) has attracted a great deal of attention. In this context, this ILSI Europe Concise Monograph on Genetic Modification Technology and Food – Consumer Health and Safety reviews the likely direct impact of the consumption of GM-derived foods on human health and safety. Topics reviewed include biotechnology in the food chain, first- and second-generation GM-derived foods, food safety and gene technology, evaluation of food safety, and gene technology. The up-to-date and peer-reviewed information on the topic in overview of GM technologies related to food and health is intended for use by an audience with a general background in the life sciences.
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