Genetically modified organisms


The alteration of genetic information at the DNA level – genetic modification – is a phenomenon commonly occurring during cell division. Before a cell divides into daughter cells, it must multiply the contents of its organelles (cell “organs”) and also duplicate its genetic information. However, this process also involves rearrangement of the DNA molecule. Such a change can cause the formation, disappearance or change of various properties of the cell or organism. It is this change that makes evolution possible – if the change is positive, this individual will find it “easier to exist”.

All of these processes are mediated in the cell by various enzymes, which are highly specialized proteins. They are present in every living cell and ensure the functioning of virtually the entire metabolism. Enzymes that can modify DNA or RNA are able to find this molecule, cut or glue it, repair various defects and so on.


What happens in cells as a completely natural process, we can simulate to some extent in laboratory conditions. It’s actually a chemical reaction like any other – given the right conditions, substances will react to form products. In the case of genetic modification, the product is usually a DNA molecule that has slightly altered properties compared to the flood. Whether it is a small change at the level of a single “letter” (nucleotide) or whether entire “words” (genes) are changed, added or removed, the principle remains a chemical reaction that can be performed by a cell or a scientist in a laboratory.


An iconic example of inserting several “words” into DNA is golden rice. Rice (Oryza sativa) has had 3 genes added to its genome that modify its metabolism to produce beta-carotene. This is commonly found in carrots, for example, and is interesting because it is a precursor* of vitamin A. This means that if a person consumes vegetables that contain beta carotene, some of it is converted into vitamin A in the body. This is important for proper immune function, vision, reproduction and intercellular communication. However, it plays a major role in childhood development, and its lack of concentration in the diet can even cause blindness.

Vitamin A deficiency is a major problem in developing countries. The traditional method of replenishment is proving to be inefficient and, above all, economically very demanding. Growing golden rice, or other crops containing important micronutrients, is a huge step at LOCAL level in the fight against hunger and malnutrition in developing countries.

Normal and golden rice


It is local farming and home-grown crops that are now being highlighted as the “healthiest” alternative. Plants modified by GMO technology are, on the contrary, condemned because they “have to” grow in the presence of pesticides or antibiotics in huge monocultures.

This myth has arisen because of misinformation surrounding Roundup-ready crops that are able to tolerate this pesticide. Not all genetic modifications cause resistance to something. As mentioned above, genetic modifications can add, subtract or modify genes (words) on a DNA molecule. Whether it will be a gene for pesticide resistance or a gene that causes increased vitamin production depends on the intention under which we are doing the genetic modification in the first place. The technology itself has nothing to do with pesticides! It’s just a matter of how we choose to use it.


Considering the fact that by growing GMO plants we can have much higher yields from the same arable area, the application of this technology also helps in the fight against deforestation. Because less arable land means more preserved natural ecosystems. Not to mention the fact that many plants are not grown for food purposes, but for various other substances, such as rapeseed for biodiesel. By using the right genetically modified bacteria or yeast, it is possible to produce these substances under controlled conditions in fermentation facilities on various food production wastes, thus further saving nature.

In the next article we will move from plants to animals and gene therapy.

Thank you for the U Čápa charity concert

In October, a concert by the band My3.avi took place in the U Čápa complex. The complex is located in Příchovice, in the region of the famous native Jára Cimrman. There is also the famous Jára Cimrman Lighthouse and Museum on site. During the concert, there was a collection among visitors and the proceeds were donated by CZK 14,500 by the organizer Vlastimil Plecháč and the entire team from ČÁPA on behalf of the Association of Gene Therapy. The paper thus travels to the research of Angelman’s syndrome. We thank you wholeheartedly and appreciate this help. This weekend we visited this beautiful place and thanked Mr. Plecháček personally. We highly recommend a visit to this beautiful area, including the restaurant U Čápa, which is also in  #GastromapaLukaseHejlika .

Read more articles in this category.

All News

Donate to research on #GivingTuesday – the most generous day of the year

This year, we are joining the Giving Tuesday World Day of Generosity and introducing the project ONE STEP CLOSER TO HEALING FOR ANGELS.

For the sixth year, the Czech Republic will join Giving Tuesday, the world’s day of generosity and good deeds. This year’s edition falls on Tuesday 30. November 2021.The non-profit organization ASGENT will participate in Giving Tuesday for the third time with its unique project to support rare disease research.

World Giving Tuesday encourages and celebrates the desire to help. The whole world, including the Czech Republic, will be on Tuesday 30. November 2021 will unite to do good. Giving Tuesday in the Czech Republic since 2016 has been represented by the Association of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 with a simple idea: to create a day that inspires people to do good. Over the past few years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people around the world to give, be generous and work together.

Positive messages full of hope have never been more needed than right now. Those wishing to support the precious on the most generous day of the year can visit