Pharming

In this process plants are genetically modified so that they can produce medically useful substances such as drugs and vaccines.

Plants such as corn, tobacco or rice can be genetically modified to produce proteins that could be used as medicines for humans. The advantage of producing such medicines in a plant is that the product will be much easier and cheaper to produce than is currently possible. Medically important products that could be produced in plants include antibodies, vaccines and hormones.

However, the process is very controversial. The fear is that if pollen carrying the gene for the medical product was blown on the wind, the gene could be transferred to a plant far outside the production area, leading to the alteration of the natural species in the wild or the introduction of these medicines into the food supply.

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