By: Alex Richwalder, Amanda Snyder, Kristen Smith Genetic Engineering
What do these items have in common?
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the genetic code responsible for giving organisms certain phenotypes.
What is genetic engineering?
A deliberate, controlled manipulation of genes in an organism with the intent of making that organism better in some way.
The use of various experimental techniques to produce molecules of DNA containing new genes, or novel combinations of genes, for insertion into a host cell for cloning.
How is it done?
First, get a sample of the gene you wish to transfer from one organism to another
Use enzymes to cut certain DNA sequences that code for the desired characteristic
Insert the code into tiny circles of bacterial DNA called plasmids
Allow plasmids carrying the gene to infect a culture of bacterial cells
Grow each of these cells as a pure cell culture
Through a screening process, select an adequate gene that will stick to others via A,T,C,G
Take selected object you want modified, open pores of the cell membrane, and insert gene into cell.
By various methods (like particle guns) selected genes will combine with the natural DNA, therefore altering the original sequence. This phase of genetic engineering varies depending on the organism.
Genetically modified (GM) foods are foodstuffs produced from genetically modified organisms (GMO) that have had their genome altered through genetic engineering. GM Foods have been available since the 1990s
Most common examples of GM foods:
But WHY do this?
As stated before, the overall goal is to create a product better than the original. We look at agriculture as our main example
Food for thought…
Early forms of genetic modification were done by hand
The earliest Farmers altered the genetic makeup of corn
Corn's ancestor, a grass called teosinte, had small ears with sparse kernels
As humans selected teosinte ears bearing the most plump kernels, they gradually edged evolution towards forming a new species, corn
The jackets formed by the leaves covering an ear of corn (husks) are so tight that the plant cannot naturally release its seed. This would not benefit a plant in the wild
By altering the original DNA of the plants, we can create new plants with several advantages. (Can you guess what these are?)
Environmental activists, religious organizations, public interest groups, profession associations, and other science and government officials have raised concerns about GM foods and its potential hazards
Potential Problems with GM foods include:
Gene transfer to non-target species
Reduced effectiveness of pesticides
Unintended harm to other organisms
Genetic Engineering, A Whole New Level
The latest trend in genetic engineering is now experimentation on animals
Genetic modification on farm animals has potential to lower prices and enhance enrichment, however, the ethics behind this are very strong, so research is kept at bay.
Two common types of pharming include injecting cows with hormones so that the milk they produce will have proteins of potential medical benefit as well as pharmaceutical products
Question: Does cow milk contain Vitamin D?
Answer: NO! The hormone is injected after pumping, Adding Vitamin D to milk is like adding Iodine to salt.
A recent genetic modification concerns breeding featherless chickens. Because there are more chickens than people in the world, plucking is very time consuming and costly.
Should we continue?
75% of all crops grown in the U.S. contain some type of GM gene at varying degrees
These enhanced plants are not only good for the American wallet, but they can help other third world countries in fighting starvation