Hybrid: The offspring of any cross between two organisms of different genotypes.
Identity preservation: The segregation of one crop type from another at every stage from production and processing to distribution. This process is usually performed through audits and site visits and provides independent third-party verification of the segregation.
Insecticide resistance: The development or selection of heritable traits (genes) in an insect population that allow individuals expressing the trait to survive in the presence of levels of an insecticide (biological or chemical control agent) that would otherwise debilitate or kill this species of insect. The presence of such resistant insects makes the insecticide less useful for managing pest populations.
Insect-resistance management: A strategy for delaying the development of pesticide resistance by maintaining a portion of the pest population in a refuge that is free from contact with the insecticide. For Bt crops this allows the insects feeding on the Bt toxin to mate with insects not exposed to the toxin produced in the plants.
Insect-resistant crops: Plants with the ability to withstand, deter or repel insects and thereby prevent them from feeding on the plant. The traits (genes) determining resistance may be selected by plant breeders through cross-pollination with other varieties of this crop or through the introduction of novel genes such as Bt genes through genetic engineering.
Intellectual property rights: The legal protection for inventions, including new technologies or new organisms (such as new plant varieties). The owner of these rights can control their use and earn the rewards for their use. This encourages further innovation and creativity for the benefit of us all. Intellectual property rights protection includes various types of patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
Molecular biology: The study of the structure and function of proteins and nucleic acids in biological systems.
Mutation: Any heritable change in DNA structure or sequence. The identification and incorporation of useful mutations has been essential for traditional crop breeding.
Nucleotide: A subunit of DNA or RNA consisting of a nitrogenous base (adenine, guanine, thymine, or cytosine in DNA; adenine, guanine, uracil, or cytosine in RNA), a phosphate molecule, and a sugar molecule (deoxyribose in DNA and ribose in RNA). Many of nucleotides are linked to form a DNA or RNA molecule.
Organic agriculture: A concept and practice of agricultural production that focuses on production without the use of synthetic inputs and does not allow the use of transgenic organisms. USDA's National Organic Program has established a set of national standards for certified organic production which are available online.
Outcrossing: Mating between different populations or individuals of the same species that are not closely related. The term "outcrossing" can be used to describe unintended pollination by an outside source of the same crop during hybrid seed production.
Pest-resistant crops: Plants with the ability to withstand, deter or repel pests and thereby prevent them from damaging the plants. Plant pests may include insects, nematodes, fungi, viruses, bacteria, weeds, and other.
Pesticide resistance: The development or selection of heritable traits (genes) in a pest population that allow individuals expressing the trait to survive in the presence of levels of a pesticide (biological or chemical control agent) that would otherwise debilitate or kill this pest. The presence of such resistant pests makes the pesticide less useful for managing pest populations.
Phenotype: The visible and/or measurable characteristics of an organism (how it appears outwardly).
Plant breeding: The use of cross-pollination, selection, and certain other techniques involving crossing plants to produce varieties with particular desired characteristics (traits) that can be passed on to future plant generations.
Plant-incorporated protectants (PIPs): Pesticidal substances introduced into plants by genetic engineering that are produced and used by the plant to protect it from pests. The protein toxins of Bt are often used as PIPs in the formation of Bt crops.
Plant pests: Organisms that may directly or indirectly cause disease, spoilage, or damage to plants, plant parts or processed plant materials. Common examples include certain insects, mites, nematodes, fungi, molds, viruses, and bacteria.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): A technique used to create a large number of copies of a target DNA sequence of interest. One use of PCR is in the detection of DNA sequences that indicate the presence of a particular genetically engineered organism.
Promoter: A region of DNA that regulates the level of function of other genes.
Protein: A molecule composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order. Proteins are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's cells, tissues, and organs, and each protein has a unique function.
Recombinant DNA (rDNA): A molecule of DNA formed by joining different DNA segments using recombinant DNA technology.