allergen: a substance such as a protein that induces an allergic reaction.

gene: a portion of a chromosome (DNA) that contains the hereditary information necessary for the production of a protein. (from Biotechknowledge.com, sponsored by Monsanto)

genetic engineering: the manipulation of an organism's genetic endowment by introducing or eliminating specific genes through modern molecular biology techniques. (from PUBLIC PERCEPTION ISSUES IN BIOTECHNOLOGY, by Charles Hagedorn and Susan Allender-Hagedorn at Virginia Tech)

genetically-modified foods: food plants that have been genetically altered by the addition of foreign genes to enhance a desired trait.

genome: the entire genetic complement of an organism

GRAS: generally recognized as safe - substances intentionally added to food that do not require a formal premarket review by FDA to assure their safety, because their safety has been established by a long history of use in food. (from the FDA)

phytoremediation: the process of using plants for pollution clean-up of contaminated soils or water

substantially equivalent: a food or food product that has the same intended use and characteristics as an earlier food or food product that has already passed the FDAs safety inspections, or has different characteristics but data demonstrate that the new food or food additive is as safe as the previous food or food product and does not raise different issues of safety. No additional safety inspections are required for new foods or food products that are deemed substantially equivalent.

transgenic plants: an organism in which a foreign DNA gene (a transgene) is incorporated into its genome early in development. The transgenic plant usually contains material from at least one unrelated organisms, such as from a virus, animal, or other plant. (from PUBLIC PERCEPTION ISSUES IN BIOTECHNOLOGY, by Charles Hagedorn and Susan Allender-Hagedorn at Virginia Tech)