What GE stand for?

Don't worry, it doesn't have nothing to do with the General Electric appliances! GE Food stands for genetically engineered food. You will also hear about it trough different names such as GMO (Genetically Modified Organism), recombinant DNA, transgenetic modification or even the popular expression "Frankenfood".

Brief explanation of genes & genetic engineering

Genes are segments of DNA that contain information that in part determines the structure and function of a living organism. Genetic engineers are molecular biologists who manipulate this information, typically by taking genes from one species - an animal, plant, bacterium, or virus - and inserting them into another species, such as an agricultural crop. (definition taking from ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas))

The human genome is estimated to have as few as 30-45,000 functional genes, while  Oryza sativa has between 32,000 and 56,000 functional genes. The earthworm, Caenorhabditis elegans, has 19,000 genes and the plant, Arabidopsis thaliana has 25,000 genes. (Reporter, July 2002)

Man trying to be as powerful as God

To help you size the stake of biotechnology, I decided to start by giving you a list of the weirdest example of genetic experiment made with food that I read. I do not know if they were released commercially.

Insert of a gene from the North Atlantic Flounder Fish into a strawberry in order to make the fruit frost resistant.
Insert of the gene responsible for scorpion poison into a potato: that gene produces a toxin that will paralyses pests.
Insert of a rat gene into a broccolini to increase the levels of vitamin C in the broccolini. Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and a Chinese kale.
Insert of a human gene known to adapt to pollution into a potato, making it possible to be grown in a polluted environment.
There is also a wide variety of experiments that are not related to food, such as: insert of the spider gene into a goat, so its milk can provide a unique protein which will produce a special fiber that will be use for bulletproof vests. With the wide boundaries of this technology, whatever "smart" idea scientists will come up with, they will try
realize it. Even if they don't succeed, they will try.