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Discussion Questions


  1.  Before scientists knew which genes controlled which traits, how did farmers select for plants with traits they wanted, like apples that are sweet or potatoes that are good for baking?

  2. How does research that identifies the genes in DNA that control specific traits affect the ability of humans to produce desirable types of plants (or animals)?

  3. What are gene chippers? What do they do?

  4. Why do gene chippers increase the speed of selecting for plants with the traits that farmers, gardeners or companies want?



Additional Resources

Explanation and videos about plant breeding and gene chippers used by Monsanto (


How gene chippers speed up plant selection (


Society and Ethics Resources

Are you in favor of genetically modifying foods? Do you think it is OK to use genomic technologies to speed up the same breeding processes that have been used since humans started farming and domesticating animals?