Genetic engineering refers to a set of technologies that are being used to change the genetic makeup of cells and move genes across species boundaries to produce novel organisms
Definition # 2
the technology of preparing recombinant DNA by cutting up DNA molecules and splicing together fragments from more than one organism
Definition # 3
the process of transferring specific traits, or genes, from one organism into a different plant or animal.
History of GMO
Gregor Mendel publishes an account of his experiments with peas, explaining the laws of genetics.
The first successful genetic engineering experiment, a gene from an African clawed toad is inserted into bacterial DNA, heralding the era of recombinant DNA technology.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 that genetically engineered microorganisms can be patented (Diamond v. Chakrabarty).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the first genetically engineered drug, a form of insulin produced by bacteria.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves first genetically engineered food.
Genetically Modified animals were successfully born carrying different traits.
What is it used for and why?
used to create and make better medicines for illnesses.
scientists genetically modify animals to study basic biology and to develop artificial ‘models’ of human diseases.
transgenic animals are engineered specifically to produce organs, tissues, or cells that can be ‘harvested’ and transplanted into humans.
animals are genetically engineered to serve as incubators or bioreactors for the production of pharmaceuticals for human use.
livestock are genetically engineered to grow bigger and faster, produce leaner meat, or be resistant to disease. Transgenic animals are also produced as pets.
Refers to any technique that uses living organisms, or parts of these organisms. Such techniques are used to make or modify products for a practical purpose. Modern medicine, agriculture, and industry make use of biotechnology on a large scale.
Regulation of GMO
Approval of GMOs
They cannot contain any poisonous or harmful substances which may make it harmful to health.
Requires a safety review of all food additives that have not been granted and recognized as safe.
A company intending to manufacture or import a GMO must request approval from the food safety authority.
A producer must describe a food product by its common or usual name and reveal all facts that are material in light of the labeling.
The FDA stated that consumers must be informed, by appropriate labeling if, a food derived from a new plant variety differs from its traditional counterpart and the common or usual name no longer applies, or if a safety or usage issue exists to which consumers must be alerted.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration
has responsibility for the safety of food and animal feed, for the safety and effectiveness of human drugs and biologics, and for animal drugs
EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
has responsibility for the use of pesticides and setting allowable levels (tolerances) of pesticide deposit in food, and for the regulation of non-pesticide toxic substances, including microorganisms
USDA: United States Department of Agriculture
has responsibility for the safety of meat, poultry and egg products; for regulating potential agricultural plant pests and toxic weeds; and for the safety and effectiveness of animal biologics
Plants (i.e., vegetables, fruits
Protecting the public health by assuring that foods are safe, wholesome, sanitary and properly labeled; human and veterinary drugs, vaccines, and other biological products and medical devices intended for human use are safe and effective
Plants producing toxic substances
Animals producing toxic substances
Other substances if toxic
The EPA regulates anything that can harm the environment. They regulate toxins that can harm the water, air, climate, waste and pollution, green living, and human health.
Disease could be prevented by detecting people/plants/animals that are genetically prone to certain hereditary diseases
Infectious diseases can be treated by implanting genes that code for antiviral proteins specific to each antigen.
Animals and plants can be 'tailor made' to show desirable characteristics.
Genes could also be manipulated in trees for example, to absorb more CO2 and reduce the threat of global warming.
Genetic Engineering could increase genetic diversity, and produce more variant alleles which could also be crossed over and implanted into other species
Nature has a complex inter-related chain consisting of many species linked in the food chain and genetic engineering could disrupt the food chain.
Genetic engineering borderlines on many moral issues, particularly involving religion, which questions whether man has the right to manipulate the laws and course of nature.
Vegetables/Fruits & Animals
- Enhanced taste and quality
- Reduced maturation time
- Increased nutrients, yields, and stress tolerance
- Improved resistance to disease, pests, and herbicides
- New products and growing techniques
- Increased resistance, productivity, hardiness, and feed efficiency
- Better yields of meat, eggs, and milk
- Improved animal health and diagnostic methods
US vs. Other Countries
United States has consistently planted more GM crops than any other country, with 105.7 million acres supporting GM crops in 2003.
Worldwide, about 672 million acres of land are under cultivation, of which 25 percent or 167.2 million acres consisted of GM crops in 2003.
How does genetic engineering affect the environment?
Microbes that break down toxic pollutants and heavy metals
Can get rid of some contamination
Ex. Oil consuming bacteria
It doesn’t get rid of all toxins or contamination
Creation of “Super-weeds” and “Super-bugs
New genes can destroy natural genes
How does this affect farmers?
Family Farms can loose income
Difficult and expensive for farmers to make a pure product
Disrupts traditional agricultural practices creating social disorder in rural communities and threatening cultures throughout the world
How does this effect the Economy?
Some governments are dependent on biotechnology and genetic engineering.
Helps national development
Helps many industries grow (agriculture, pharmaceuticals)
Long Term Health Effects
There is a possibility that introducing a gene into a plant may create a new allergen or cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individual.
Extensive testing of GM foods may be required to avoid the possibility of harm to consumers with food allergies.
Unknown Effects on the Human Health:
There is a growing concern that introducing foreign genes into food plants may have an unexpected and negative impact on human health.
Are you for or against Genetic Engineering?
"What Is Genetic Engineering?" Union of Concerned Scientists . 18 July 2003. Web. 8 Feb. 2010. <http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/science/what-is-genetic-engineering.html>.
"Genetic Engineering." Word Net . Web. 16 Feb. 2011. <http://wordnet.princeton.edu/>
"What Does FDA Do?" U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page . Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <http://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/transparency/basics/ucm194877.htm>
Berkey, Judson O. "The American Society of International Law ASIL Insights - The Regulation of Genetically Modified Foods." The American Society of International Law Home Page . Web. 23 Feb. 2011. <http://www.asil.org/insigh37.cfm>.
"Genetic Engineering Advantages & Disadvantages - Biology Online." Life Science Reference - Biology Online . Web. 01 Mar. 2011. <http://www.biology-online.org/2/13_genetic_engineering.htm>.
"International Patenting Trends in Biotechnology: Genetic Engineering." Nsf.gov - National Science Foundation - US National Science Foundation (NSF) . Web. 01 Mar. 2011. <http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/issuebrf/sib99351.htm>.
"Genetic Engineering." The University of Vermont . Web. 01 Mar. 2011. <http://www.uvm.edu/~cgep/ResourceCenter/Bioengineering.html>