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How common are genes in food?

Onion root tip cells. Copyright Alan John Lander Phillips
Onion root tip cells showing chromosomes and nuclei of dividing cells. © Alan John Lander Phillips

All food from plants or animals contains genes.  In cooked or processed foods, most of the DNA has been destroyed or degraded and the genes are fragmented. Whether fresh or cooked, when we eat food, we digest it into its constituent parts from which we make our own genes and proteins.

Each cell in a plant contains about 30,000 genes. GM usually involves adding an extra 1-10 genes.  It is estimated that we each eat many billions of genes every day, which come mainly from fresh food. 

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Page last updated: May 2016

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