Publication Date

Fall 2015

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Martin Stone (Director), Todd Willian, and Elmer Gray

Degree Program

Department of Agriculture

Degree Type

Master of Science


Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are plants or animals that have been produced using genetic insertion or deletion via technology (also called genetic engineering or GE). Merged DNA from different species creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and/or virus genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Our goal was to determine the presence or absence of GMO markers in USDA Organic Certified and in Non-GMO Project food products. We investigated only corn or soy-based products that were purchased from many types of retailers. Our study was limited to products that contained a label for USDA organic certification and/or Non-GMO Verified Project. DNA from each product was extracted, tested for purity, and examined for specific markers denoting the presence of genetic modification. Modified DNA was amplified using PCR techniques and tested against standards on electrophoretic agarose gel. Based on these results, we detected evidence of genetic modification in 75% of soy and 83.3% of corn claiming USDA Organic Certification and 0% of soy and 100% of corn claiming Non-GMO Verified Certification.


Agriculture | Food Science