Canola was developed using traditional plant breeding during the 1960s and 1970s, long before biotechnology was available. Using selective breeding techniques, plant developers were able to lower the two unwanted components of rapeseed and develop a new plant now called canola. Later, traditional breeding was also used to develop the high oleic canola oil used by the food industry as an alternative to artificial trans fat.
Today, many different varieties of canola are available, including genetically modified (GM) and non-GM canola. Plant breeders are constantly making improvements to help farmers deal with challenges such as drought, pests and crop diseases. New plant traits such as herbicide tolerance have helped canola farmers switch to no-tillage practices and use smaller amounts of herbicides to control weeds, keeping soil moist and fertile.
Regardless of whether it comes from GM or non-GM plants, the oil from canola is exactly the same. In herbicide-tolerant canola, the modification has been made to only one canola gene. That gene is a protein, and all proteins are removed from canola oil during processing. That means canola oil made from GM seed is conventional canola oil.