Biotechnology: An Opportunity, or A Threat? A Non-credit Seminar By: AdmasBerhanu Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology CCS-Haryana Agricultural University, India Feb.25, 2011
What is Biotechnology? “the manipulation (as through genetic engineering) of living organisms or their components to produce useful usually commercial products (as pest resistant crops, new bacterial strains, or novel pharmaceuticals); also : any of various applications of biological science used in such manipulation” Merriam Webster Dictionary
When it begins?
It begins when primitive humans became domesticated enough to:
breed plants and animals;
gather and process herbs for medicine;
make bread and wine and beer;
create many fermented food products including yogurt, cheese, and various soy products;
create septic systems to deal with their digestive and excretory waste products, and
to create vaccines to immunize themselves against diseases.
Archeologists keep discovering earlier examples of each of the uses of organisms by humans, but examples of most of these processes go back to between 5,000 and 10,000 BC.
Modern biotechnology, based on recombinant DNA technology, finds a similar distribution in the use of recombinant organisms to serve in:
the production of food,
solving environmental problems.
Introducing genes into organisms, breeding organisms to form new variants, or treating organisms with specific compounds may accomplish this.
Biomedicine is medicine based upon the principles of biology and biochemistry.
What it Aims?http://www.med.govt.nz/templates/MultipageDocumentPage____822.aspx Biotechnology may increase human welfare. Biotechnological inventions have the potential to provide increased and more reliable food harvests for the world's population, and to provide alternative means of producing goods that will use less resources. Biotechnology contributes to life saving medical treatments. Advances in biotechnology have enabled the development and increasing availability of life saving medication and contributed towards the eradication of disease. Biotechnology may have positive environmental effects. Biotechnological advances may result in production processes and products that are less polluting and use less resources. There is also the potential to clean up existing pollution and to improve waste management through biotechnological processes.
Aim…. Cont’d Biotechnology already contributes to traditional breeding practices through selective breeding and the manipulation of animal genes. It can be argued that genetically modifying organisms is only a more direct way of achieving the results traditionally achieved through more accepted conventional breeding practices. Biotechnology may increase animal welfare. More effective animal treatments may be developed through biotechnology. Genetic modifications may also be more reliable than traditional breeding techniques and may result in less experimentation to achieve a desired result. Biotechnology contributes to the protection of biodiversity. Companies involved in the biotechnology industry will have an incentive to ensure that biological diversity is preserved, as it may be useful in developing future biotechnological inventions.
What it is all about rDNA ?
“It the process of transferring individual genes between organisms or modifying the genes in an organism to remove or add desired trait characteristic”( Ubalua, 2009).
To create rDNA, scientists combine two strands of DNA to create an entirely new strand with properties of each original strand.
Recombinant DNA is extremely effective when used in vaccinations, treatments and cures. It also can be used to genetically improve or clone crops or animals.What Is the Purpose of Recombinant DNA? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5332333_purpose-recombinant-dna.html#ixzz1E0rkAVnF
What are the Achievements?
Used in biological and medical research
Insulin by the brand name Humulin was the first break through.
It was the first medicine made via recombinant DNA technology
An estimated 285 million people, corresponding to 6.4% of the world's adult population, will live with diabetes in 2010. The number is expected to grow to 438 million by 2030, corresponding to 7.8% of the adult population.
Diabetes is one of the major causes of premature illness and death worldwide. Non-communicable diseases including diabetes account for 60% of all deaths worldwide.
Insulin is vital for the survival of people with type 1 diabetes and often ultimately required by people with type 2 diabetes. Even though insulin's indispensible nature is recognized by its inclusion in the WHO's Essential Medicines List, insulin is still not available on an uninterrupted basis in many parts of the developing world.
Making vaccines and drugs to determining genetic origins of disease
Why Gene Therapy? It can be used to treat desperately ill patients or to prevent the onset of horrible illnesses. Conventional treatment has failed for the candidate diseases for gene therapy and for these patients gene therapy is the only hope for a future. Germ-line gene therapy offers a true cure, not simply palliative or symptomatic treatment. It may be the only effective way of addressing some genetic disease. By preventing the transmission of disease genes, the expense and risk of somatic cell therapy for multiple generations is avoided. Medicine should respond to the reproductive health needs of prospective parents at risk for transmitting serious genetic disease. The scientific community has a right to free inquiry, within the bounds of acceptable human research.
What are the Prospects and Hopes? Improved Medicines growth diseases, metabolic diseases, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer's Improved Livestock (resistance to disease) Improved Crops (resistance to disease, higher yields) Prevention of Genetic Diseases Lowering the cost of medicines (i.e. Insulin) Safer Medicines (i.e. Insulin) Treatment for pre-existing conditions (i.e. Cancer)http://rpi.edu/dept/chem-eng/Biotech-Environ/Projects00/rdna/rdnaimpact.html
What is the rumor? Safety concerns “ developing antibiotic resistance” Environmental concerns “developing resistance to fungi” Ethical dilemmas over human treatment “are we playing God?” Potential for Experimental abuse “doctors using patients as test subjects” Germ line treatment going from treating diseases to a method for picking the traits you want in a child “specifying hair and eye color”
Continents Different continents focusing on Bio technology as the means of achieving their long term goal: The Lisbon strategy of EU Africans following EU South Africa (maize, soya been, cotton) Burkina Faso ( cotton) Philippines, the only Asia, accepting GMO
Some Countries… FDA…”Product based not process based” Indian Ag biotech. Task force. lead by M.S. Swaminathan : Transgenic should not affect international trade and bio conservation Basmati rice, soya bean or Darjeeling tea China has lost market for Soya bean sauce as a case of GMO import from US it has become controversial in India Most recently, several African countries, perhaps most visibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the former Zaire), have objected to being sent GMO crops as food aid biotechnology - Food Fights, Biotech as Industrial Science, Ethical Arguments, Regulatory Environment, National Opinion and International Politics, Biotechnology http://science.jrank.org/pages/63318/biotechnology.html#ixzz1EPXKslns
Some Countries… In Europe 55% are optimistic and 12 % pessimistic , it has no effect for 13 but 22 didn’t know (euro barometer,2005) But Namibia international livestock market affected b/c of the feed they made from South African GMO maize Zambia has refused GMO food aid Green Peace International Genetic food Alert
The Poor and the rich Biotechnology will create a huge gap between rich and poor? It is the only way out for the poor’s but resource rich ? What else it there? Food aid should terminate in a way which build the transfer of technology ? Politics corner
Worries or Trusts? Bio weapons Ug 99 Anthraces
Legal Interference Paul Berg Asilomar Conference New Variety and Certification Procedures Human genome project
Influential Bodies वन्दना शिवा
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA)
Environmentalists and Naturlists
Friends of the Earth International
Genetic food Alert
Duch organizations: HIVOS and NOVIB
Partner with Belgium, Gernmany and UK
Arguments…(According to BBC) No GE animals are usually concerned about the danger these animals may pose to human beings (usually to human health), rather than any implications for the animals themselves. Modern pigs have been bred to grow extra fast - some breeds now grow too fast for their hearts, causing discomfort when animals are too active Broiler chickens are bred to grow fast - some now grow too fast for their legs Yes Biotechnology can be good for animals. Selective breeding and genetic engineering can benefit animals in many ways: Improving resistance to disease Breeding to remove characteristics that cause injury eg selecting cattle without horns
Arguments…. Cont’d NO Genetic engineering and selective breeding appear to violate animal rights, because they involve manipulating animals for human ends as if the animals were nothing more than human property, rather than treating the animals as being of value in themselves. Yes Recent action to allow animals to be patented reinforces the idea of animals as human property, rather than beings in their own right.
Arguments…. Cont’d Driving force of GE Profitability is one of the major drivers of both selective breeding and genetic engineering. Regulating GE Genetically engineered animals should be no worse off than the parent stock would be if they were not so engineered.
Arguments…. Cont’d NO Gmo’s are unsafe Yes There is no evidence approved of GMO have posed to new risks either to human health or environment
Arguments…. Cont’d Transgenic contain elements of two different species A mouse has been created, for example, that has been genetically modified to develop cancer. Judging by outcome Utilitarian approach
Religious views of transgenic animals Against God laid down the structure of creation and any tampering with it is sinful. Manipulating DNA is manipulating 'life itself' - and this is tampering with something that God did not intend humanity to meddle with Infavor of As human beings have been given 'dominion' over the animals, they are entitled to tamper with them. Palaeontology shows that the structure of creation has changed over time as some species became extinct and new ones came into being. They say that this shows that there is nothing fixed about the structure of creation.
Transgenic animals and religious food laws The argument can goes to the extent….. Transgenic animals pose problems for religions that restrict the foods that their believers can eat, since they may produce animals that appear to be one species, but contain some elements of a forbidden species.
Summaries Biotechnology products in General and Genetically-modified foods in particular have the potential to solve many of the world's hunger and malnutrition problems, and to help protect and preserve the environment by increasing yield and reducing reliance upon chemical pesticides and herbicides. Yet there are many challenges ahead for governments, especially in the areas of safety testing, regulation, international policy and food labeling. Many people feel that genetic engineering is the inevitable wave of the future and that we cannot afford to ignore a technology that has such enormous potential benefits. However, we must proceed with caution to avoid causing unintended harm to human health and the environment as a result of our enthusiasm for this powerful technology