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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
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 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
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 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
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 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
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 17:11
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf the rudeness lies in ascribing motives with no evidence. Yes, some people object to GM based on religion. Many object for socioeconomic reasons. Others because the idea of fiddling with things we don't understand perfectly scares them. What bothered me was your off-hand dismissal of "go ask on 'religion SE'" (a site which doesn't even exist). You are unlikely to find anyone who objects to religion as vehemently as I do, which might be part of why I found it insulting, but I don't think it's polite or fair to make such assumptions with not evidence. $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 17:50

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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." $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2017 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. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2017 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.” $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ That's up to you. That's certainly a very different question from the one you originally asked here. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 21:47

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