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Sweet potato naturally ‘genetically modified’

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The sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens.

Sweet potatoes from all over the world naturally contain genes from the bacterium Agrobacterium. Researchers from UGent and the International Potato Institute (CIP) publish this discovery on the website of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America). Later it will be on the cover of this magazine. Sweet potato is one of the most important food crops for human consumption in the world. Because of the presence of this “foreign” DNA, sweet potato can be seen as a “natural GMO.”

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