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GMO

Genetically Modified Organism
An organism whose genetic material has been altered using techniques in genetics generally known as recombinant DNA technology. Recombinant DNA technology is the ability to combine DNA molecules from different sources into the one molecule in a test tube. Thus, the abilities or the phenotype of the organism, or the proteins it produces, can be altered through the modification of its genes.

The term generally does not cover organisms whose genetic makeup has been altered by conventional cross breeding or by "mutagenesis" breeding, as these methods predate the discovery of the recombinant DNA techniques. Technically speaking, however, such techniques are, by definition, genetic modification.

Genetic modification (GM) is the subject of controversy in its own right. Some see the science itself as intolerable meddling with "natural" order, despite many known examples of natural genetic crossings occurring throughout history (see for example horizontal gene transfer). While some would like to see it banned, others push simply for required labeling of genetically modified food. Other controversies include the definition of patent and property pertaining to products of genetic engineering and the possibility of unforeseen global side effects as a result of modified organisms proliferating. The basic ethical issues involved in genetic research are discussed in the article on genetic engineering.

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