Biotechnology and Canola Oil
Q. What is biotechnology?
A. Biotechnology is the application of science and engineering in the direct or indirect use of living organisms, or parts or products of living organisms, in their natural or modified forms.
Q. What is genetic engineering?
A. The term genetic engineering is often used interchangeably with biotechnology. Genetic engineering refers to the identification and transfer of genetic information from one organism to another. The process called genetic engineering involves the insertion of a gene or genes from one species to another species. This method of gene transfer enabling the crossing of species barriers was not previously possible using traditional methods of plant or animal breeding. Products developed by biotechnology are sometimes described as 'genetically engineered' or ‘genetically modified'.
Q. What are the benefits of biotechnology?
A. Genetically engineered plant varieties can offer farmers crops that are less vulnerable to pests and weather conditions leading to greater yield per acre of land while maintaining the existing farmland footprint. Plant traits such as herbicide tolerance have helped farmers switch to no-tillage practices and farm more efficiently and sustainably. When soils are left untilled, they sequester greenhouse gases and also reduce the amount of fuel used by farmers to work their land.
Q. Can genetically modified foods be organically certified?
A. The organic designation excludes foods produced through genetic engineering. Although most of the canola produced in Canada and the US uses seed that has been genetically engineered to be herbicide-tolerant, non-GM seed is available for the production of organic canola oil.