WHAT?! Genetic engineering………... Genetic engineering is the processthat uses the techniques of molecular cloning and transformation to alterthe structureand Characteristicsof genes Genetic engineering is about scientists altering the 'recipes' for making life
1960s-1970 Isolation of restriction enzymes and their use to analyse DNA structure 1972-1973 DNA cloning techniques involving recombinant DNA developed. First gene cloned(bacteria) 1974 First expression in a bacterium of a gene from a different species. 1977 First complete genetic code of an organsism (base sequence of a complete genome). The organism was the phage ɸX 174 and its genetic code is 5375 bases long. 1978 Bacteria produce human somatostatin from a synthetic gene. Later the same year bacteria also produce human insulin from a synthetic gene. 1981-1982First transgenic animals (mice) produced. 1982 Insulin (Eli Lilly’s Humulin) is the first product made by genetically engineered bacteria to be approved for use in Britain and the USA 1983-1985First transgenic plants produced. 1986 First controlled release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment. 1989-1990 First patented transgenic animal, the oncomouse & the human genome project started 1990-1992 First transgenic cereal plants (maize and wheat) 1992-1993 Regulations for deliberate release of genetically engineered organisms established in the USA and EU. First complete base sequence of a chromosome (yeast chromosome III) & trial of the first human gene therapy in UK 1994 Genetically engineered tomato marketed in the USA. 1996 Genetically engineered tomato marketed in Britain. 1997 First cloned mammal produced from a single cell. The sheep, Dolly, was developed from a single udder cell. A brief summary of the history and development of genetic engineering. (based on table G7, p. 418, The encyclopaedia of molecular biology, ed. Sir John Kendrew (1994) Blackwell Science.)
What is Genetic Engineering used for? Scientists uses it to knock out certain genes from an organism to observe the effects caused by those genes. Manipulate the genes of other organisms in order to produce beneficial products for humans.
Is genetic engineering beneficial to humans?
Improves the lifestyles of humans
Better yield and quality of crops
Production of super-crops
Microorganisms as pollution cleaners
Bioremediation of the polluted environment
Production of crops of better yield & quality Genetic engineering has helped to increase crop productivity by introducing qualities such as disease resistance and increased drought tolerance to the crops Genes from naturally drought-resistant plants are used to increase drought tolerance in crop varieties
Genetic Engineered papaya, SunUp! That is resistant to the Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) Homegrown papaya that is affected by the Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV)
Production of crops of better yield & quality Farmers have been producing foods that have been genetically altered to be more nutritious, delicious, resistant to harmful pesticides and have the ability to repel pests. Plant life is changed to be more resilient to insect and disease as well as have the help of the microorganisms helping support it and bringing it protein. Wieczorek, A. (2003) Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, transgenic organisms can offer a range of benefits above and beyond those that emerged from innovations in traditional agricultural biotechnology.
Production of crops of better yield & quality Improved nutritional value Fresher produce Transgenic tomatoes with delayed softening can be vine-ripened and still be shipped without bruising. Soybeans with higher protein content At UC Berkeley, Athanasios Theologis and colleagues have identified and blocked a gene responsible for ripening. Rice with the ability produce vitamin A, that helps prevent blindness in people who have nutritionally inadequate diets
Dale, P.J., Clarke, B. EMG Fontes; Potential for the environmental impact of transgenic crops. Nature Biotechnology, 20. 2002, 567-574
Microorganisms as pollution cleaners Microorganisms in the environment can be artificially changed to benefit their surroundings to help maintain the area. Microorganisms can be used for microbial bioremediation. Usage of microorganisms to break down harmful environmental contaminants, to restore the environment to a healthier state.
Microorganisms that are able to degrade the pollutant is added to the contaminated soil or water so that it could be treated.
Microorganisms as pollution cleaners Genetically engineered oil-consuming bacteria have been released into the wild to clean up disastrous oil spills at sea and on land
Microorganisms as pollution cleaners
Bioremediation is useful for the complete destruction of a wide variety of contaminant
Less expensive than other technologies that are used for clean-up of hazardous waste
Incineration -- Crude oil spill cleanup -- Expensive -- Extremely harmful to the environment.
Carried out on site, often without causing a major disruption of normal activities
There are possible risks associated with using transgenic crops in agriculture.
Inadequate effort has been made to understand the dangers in the use of transgenic crops
Genetic engineering technology has the risk of introducing allergens and toxins into safe foods.
Transgenic crops might cross-pollinate with related weeds, possibly resulting in “super weeds” that become more difficult to control.
Creations to be ‘slaves’
It goes against religious values & ethics
Inadequate effort has been madeto understand the dangers in the use of transgenic crops Transgenic crops and their product in the United States are extensively researched and reviewed U.S. Department of Agriculture : Has primary responsibility for determining if a new product is safe to grow. U.S. Food and Drug Administration : Is concerned with protecting the consumer and has final authority to declare if a product is safe to eat. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency : Reviews the product for potential impact on the environment
Genetic engineering has the risk of introducing allergens & toxins into safe foods. Transgenic technology is also being used to remove the allergens from peanuts, one of most serious causes of food allergy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) checks to ensure that the levels of naturally occurring allergens in foods made from transgenic organisms have not significantly increased above the natural range found in conventional foods.
Transgenic crops might produce uncontrollable ‘super weeds’ Resistance to a specific herbicide does not mean that the plant is resistant to other herbicides, so affected weeds could still be controlled with other products. Most crop plants have significant limitations in their growth and seed dispersal habits that prevent them from surviving long without constant nurture by humans, and they are thus unlikely to thrive in the wild as weeds.
Religious values & ethics Gen 1: 26-28."Increase & multiply & dominatethe Earth". Since animals and plants exist for human beings, our behaviour towards them is not governed by moral considerations. At the same time we can say that high tech medicines involves playing with God and agriculture was started by disrupting nature. “Nature makes nothing without some end in view, nothing to no purpose, it must be that nature has made for the sake of man" Aristotle
Conclusion Manohar (n.d.) Any new technology has its set of advantagesand disadvantages. However you cannot condemna beneficial technology because of the possible misuse. Saying noto genetic engineering would be like refusing to log on to the Internet because you are afraidyour email account might get hacked. The simple solution is to usethe technology with great caution.