The Case of the Tainted Taco Shells: General Edition
Department of Chemistry
This case discusses some of the issues associated with the use of genetically modified plants, including ecological risks, resistance, and allergenicity. The case has two versions, or editions. This edition (the "General Edition") emphasizes the basic biochemistry and scientific ethics issues associated with genetically modified foods. Originally developed for use in a biochemistry course, it is also appropriate for use in a non-majors general, organic, and biochemistry (GOB) course and in a general biology course. The "Advanced Edition," also published on this site, probes the same issues but in greater detail and is appropriate for upper-level biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics classes.
- Understand how a transgenic plant is made.
- Feel comfortable reading a primary literature article (at an appropriate level for the class).
- Understand the issues surrounding the use of genetically modified foods, including environmental effects and concerns about resistance.
- See how scientists have to deal with uncertainty and risk assessment.
- Understand why Roundup is toxic to plants but not to animals
- Understand the methods used to predict allergenicity.
KeywordsGenetically modified organism; GMO; genetically modified plant; transgenic food; corn, Bacillus thuringiensis; Roundup; weeds; allergy; allergens; allergenicity; risk assessment; resistance
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsAnalysis (Issues), Discussion, Journal Article, Role-Play
Subject HeadingsBiochemistry | Chemistry (General) | Biology (General) | Biotechnology | Botany / Plant Science | Agriculture |