Table 7. A selection of genetically modified living organisms.

Modified organisms

Source or property of added gene

New features in GMO

Scale of field use


Gene from Salmonella bacteria for enzyme EPSP (enolpyruvyl shikimate phosphate synthase) insensitive to glyphosate.

EPSP is essential for amino acid synthesis but inhibited by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide. New enzymes confer herbicide resistance by disabling inhibition.

Major commercial significance in USA.


Gene for protein toxins (Cry 1Ac and Cry 2Aa) from Bacillus thuringiensis inserted by Agrobacterium Ti-plasmid.

Toxins confer insect resistance on host plants, e.g. to Stem Borer in maize.

Major commercial significance in USA.


DNA modified to inhibit production of enzyme polygalacturonase (PG) responsible for plant cell wall breakdown.

Fruit life prolonged by slowing natural softening and ripening, without interrupting development of desirable flavour and colour.

Sold since 1995 in Canada, Mexico and USA. Cleared for sale in UK in 1996 but withdrawn by 1999 due to consumer pressure.

Rice japponica variety T309

Two genes from a daffodil and one from a bacterium.

Develop a variety of rice rich in beta-carotene, which is most common source for Vitamin A.

Trials, much interest in developing countries in Asia.

Oilseed Rape

Gene for enzyme thio-esterase from bay laurel.

Increases level of lauric acid in oil by inhibiting synthesis of longer-chain fatty acids.

Important in detergent manufacture.

Atlantic Salmon

Gene from other fishes (flounder or ocean pout) prolongs period of hormone secretion.

Increased growth rate.

Research project in USA, other work in Canada, New Zealand, Scotland.

Source: Global Biodiversity Outlook