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Would non-GM crops such as Grains, Fruits, & Vegitables retain their non-GM make up if they were to be re-planted in soils that have been made entirely of composted GM plants and GM plant matter? Or would the GM plant matter still retain those properties enough mutate the transplanted or planted crop?

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you please rephrase Or would composted GM plant and non organic plant matters still retain those properties enough mutate the transplanted or planted crop?. It is unclear to me $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Dec 3 '17 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ I am not sure I understand the question, but it appears to me as the question is about labelling and therefore is a question of policy and not biology. I am therefore voting to close. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Dec 3 '17 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ You've rephrased the sentence I asked you too but I still don't get it. Maybe you misunderstand the concept of mutation. Note by the way, the in a single reproductive event, several mutations will typically happen. See for example estimates in humans from this question $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Dec 3 '17 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ I have reworded your question to relate solely to genetic manipulation (GM) as your question relates to mutation. Organic is a subjective concept, and this site is not about labels on food, which in any case vary between countries. $\endgroup$ – David Dec 3 '17 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b I modified the question so it is no longer about food labelling. I assume the poster knows nothing about genetic transformation, but you could interpret this as a question whether DNA from dead plants in the soil could transform growing plants, perhaps with the aid of soil bacteria. I'd still be happy to close under the portmanteau homework/lack of research heading. $\endgroup$ – David Dec 3 '17 at 17:18
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The process of genetically modifying crops is performed in a lab. Genes would not leak into planted organic crops from compost any more than they would move from decomposing soil nematodes, earthworms, or manure. So no, organic plants would not be genetically modified. However, the labeling of a crop as "organic" is not always standardized, so it could be a cause of concern for some people who do not understand the process.

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This is called horizontal gene transfer. In general, it's quite difficult to get a plant or animal to pick up foreign DNA and integrate it into its own genome, requiring special reagents and laboratory conditions. That's why we didn't have GMO fifty years ago. Note that you will spend your entire life consuming plants and animals for food, but you won't integrate cow, apple, or potato DNA into your own genome.

However, some viruses and bacteria can and do swap DNA with each other, and with their host organisms. In particular viruses can carry DNA into eukaryotic cells, and can even integrate the DNA into the host genome. Specially engineered bacteria and viruses are typically used as the vectors to create GMO in the first place. There has been concern about horizontal gene transfer from GMO organisms, but it's widely thought that it would be rare enough to not be a significant hazard. As far as I know there in nothing about GMO that would make them more susceptible to horizontal gene transfer in your compost pile than non-GMO.

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  • $\begingroup$ It has been brought to my attention through further research on this subject matter that it is possible to obtain " DNA into your own genome" citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/…. As specified from minute 23:00 to 23:38 youtube.com/watch?v=gjNtyFtJdho " the aleuts are so dependant & so integrated with the marine ecosystem that in fact their tissues the same carbon 14 molecule reservoir as the sea lion." $\endgroup$ – Jeffrey Boettger Dec 5 '17 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ Neither of those references say anything about integrating non-human DNA from food into human DNA. The thesis by Rubicz is just tracing the influences of surrounding human populations on Aleut genetics, that is, determining to what degree they are intermarrying with Russian and other neighboring native populations. The YouTube video doesn't say anything about integrating DNA either. Integrating carbon molecules from your food into your body tissue is very different from integrating their DNA into your genome. Carbon in itself doesn't carry any genetic information. $\endgroup$ – Charles E. Grant Dec 5 '17 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ Should I remove comment and question all together? And ask the question of “How do carbon molecules enter human body tissue from a food source.” $\endgroup$ – Jeffrey Boettger Dec 5 '17 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ That's up to you. That's certainly a very different question from the one you originally asked here. $\endgroup$ – Charles E. Grant Dec 5 '17 at 21:47

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