Evolution or transgenic? Let’s play to differenciate them

Transgenics play a great role on the society. Previously we have seen the variety of uses and their impact on the population development. 

Now is your turn dear reader. Maybe you have been guided to this post by the wish to prove your knowledge, or maybe you came leaded by the curiosity. Even a deeper reason… Anywise we propose you the next challenge: are you able to differentiate how these organisms have been obtained?

Through evolution or genetic engineering? Conventional or transgenic organism?


Let the game begins!!!


Purple petunia with white stripes:



If you have read the previous post you can claim a point, also if you have chosen the right answer. Efectively, its a transgenic. Like we pointed, cientists modified the anthocyanin pathway, giving the petunia the purple color. Then a new variety was developed, it included iRNA, used to silence the synthesis of the pigment, giving the flower the white stripes showed on the image.

The next one will be more difficult, cheer up.


Maize of different colours:



Have you ever seen this colorfull corn on supermarket? No? Normal, because its a trans… but no! No!

Its conventional maize, exactly a variety thought to be extinted. Seeds date from century XIX and the creators are the Cherokee. This variety was called Glass Gem Corn because of the powerfull color, borned from a small specie of maize called Pawnee, with red flour corn and another one called Greyhorse.

The reason of this color festival could be explained by Mendel laws. A lot of genes are involved on the coloration of corn, each one with different alleles. The convination of them give a caracteristic color to each kernel.


After the conquest of America, Father Las Casas pointed that on island La Española there were purple, white, yelow and, even sometimes, corn with all colors.


If you are asking ‘‘why”, efectively, you can’t find this colorfull corn on supermarkets and there is only the yellow one, you should know that it is a decision from the agrifood sector. Before your think… no, it’s not a plot. Years ago the yellow corn was selected as the current one because the color was more attractive for the public, also have more advantages than other varieties. It presents bigger corn and has a better nutritional value. Who knows, maybe the trend changes and on a future would only be purple corn.

Did you say that differenciate plants was easy? lets pass to more complex organisms.


Bigger salmon:



A lot of people would bet that it is two species. We present you the first transgenic animal to be comercialized, the  Atlantic Aquadvantage Salmon.

One of the principal objectives of the fish farms, and maybe of  all sectors, is obtaining bigger animals in less time. For centuries the human has improved the breeding selecting the best individuals and then crossing them. Biothecnology let us avoid the disadvantages of the assay and fail and insert on the genome a gene that allows the salmon to increase its size.

In this case the gene chosen was the grow hormone (GH) from Chinook salmon. This allows the salmon to double its size and become adult in only 6 months, half the conventional salmon time. Also, a gen codifying for an antifreezing protein (AFP), from atlantic pout (marine fish from the family of codfish) was introduced with the objective of producing the fish on cold water, what makes able its breeding on winter.

Did you know this one? Another point to the pocket.


Hypertrophied cow:



We couldn’t believe the first time we saw it. It’s a conventional cow known as Belgian blue, although it could well be the beef twin of Arnold Schwarzenegger. This cow has the disease called muscular hypertrophy. Other mammals have it too, between them the human. This disease is characterized by the raise on the number of muscular fibers and, therefore, the muscle. It is caused by a mutation on the myostatin gene (GDF-8), the grow factor involved on limiting the grow of the muscular tissue. Belgian Blue cows are unable to synthetize functional myostatin due to a deletion of 11 pair bases on the third exon of the gene, resulting on an frameshift. Myostatin loses its active region and its capacity of controlling the muscular mass.


Let’s make way for the main dish.



Sweet potato:



Can you differenciate this crop? If you can you should join our team, not even the Scientifics know the answer. We could be in front of the first transgenic organism untouched by the human. The merit is for a bacteria, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, very loved by the biothecnologists, its is used for the plant transformation. Its plasmid Ti (tumor inducing) has a region (vir)  with virulence genes, which are transferred to the plant after the infection. Agrobacterium uses the plant to produce opines, one type aminoacids that work as energy source, so the bacteria uses them as nutrients to grow.

Additionally, this vir region induces the production of auxin and cytokinin, which produces the development of tumors on the root, from here its name (tumefaciens). It has been proven that the genes from the bacteria and the sweet potato share the same origin, what means that on some point of the plant evolution the bacteria infected the plant and transferred the named genes.

This means an inflection point on the fight against transgenics. One of the strongest arguments used by the opponents is that we still don’t know how the transgenic consume could affect the organisms. After centuries of consume there aren’t evidences of danger for the health.


Congratulations. You won!

Are you asking why that easily, without a count? There is no need to count the points, definitely you got that you were looking for when you entered this post, a knowledge dose and enjoy for a while.

We hope that after this reading…

Wait wait, We forgot!! We forgot the titan of the transgenics, THE MICROORGANISMS. ¿Where can we find them, which are their applications, and why are they indispensable in our day to day? Be aware of our next actualizations.


Aitor García Anaya

Aitor García Anaya, Graduated on Biotechnology by the University Rovira and Virgili from Tarragona. Inspired by the team during his stay on the H.U. La Ribera (Alzira) discovered his duty on the cientific society. Exited with the idea of transmiting his knowledge to the next generations he impulsed the divulgative project called ''losing the fear to transgenics''. Contact by: equipoinspira@inspirabiotech.com

aitor-garcia-anaya has 21 posts and counting.See all posts by aitor-garcia-anaya

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