How Crops Are Genetically Modified

This is the first infographic that I produced about genetically modified crops for the Genetic Literacy Project, where I’ve been a regular contributor and editor of the agricultural biotechnology section. I did some studying to understand crop improvement, and realized that the four main methods (broadly categorized) can be placed on a spectrum, as they’re simply more or less precise versions of each other.

The one that took me by surprise was mutagenesis, as I’m sure it will be for many of you. Recently, a wonderful article by Brad Plumer at Vox pointed out that mutagenesis is actually considered ‘traditional breeding,’ and thus escapes many of the regulatory processes that genetic modification go through. And mutagenesis is not something made up, it is very real and has been going on for decades. Rio Red grapefruit and calrose rice are two great examples of the food that scientists have made through mutagenesis.

I hope this graphic will open some eyes (and minds) as it did for mine when I was developing it.  Click here to read the original post that accompanied the graphic at the Genetic Literacy Project.