The other biotech sector

What is marker-assisted selection (MAS)?

MAS is a biotechnology tool that could greatly accelerate conventional breeding of crops, livestock, farmed fish and trees. Scientists are using MAS to genetically improve certain characteristics or traits (productivity, disease resistance, quality etc.) that are important for farmers. MAS makes it possible to select traits with greater accuracy and to develop a new variety quicker than in the past.

What is the difference between marker-assisted selection (MAS) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?

MAS and genetic modification are different biotechnologies. MAS allows desirable genes to be “marked” or tagged so they can be selected within the breeding population, while GMOs are the result of the transfer of a desirable gene or genes from one species to another.

New plant varieties or improved animal breeds resulting from MAS do not require a specific legislative framework. The complicated approval process required for GMOs does not apply for MAS – its costs of release are therefore lower.

In addition, the technology is not controversial so there is no problem with public acceptance.

[link to FAO]