Glofish, the first genetically modified
Animal that is sold as a pet.
Mice are often used as subjects
to perform tests on.
Transgenic organisms, also known as genetically
modified organisms are plants or animals that have
been genetically engineered with DNA from
bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals.
Examples: Glofish, food, crops, fish, cows, and other
Benefits & drawbacks
Transgenic organisms have some advantages
because they are genetically modified for a reason.
They also have drawbacks because genetic
modification can result in unwanted changes.
Transgenic animals can help create new medicines.
Products such as insulin, growth hormone, and blood anti-clotting factors can be obtained from
the milk of transgenic cows.
People with diabetes can benefit from insulin produced by transgenic cows that produce insulin
in their milk.
Farmers breed animals that grow bigger and faster. For example: chickens, cows and pigs.
There are transgenic cows that produce milk with less lactose, pigs with more meat on them and
larger sheep that grow more wool.
Cows that have been genetically modified to have larger udders produce more milk.
Scientists make larger fish to increase the amount of food. For example genetically modified
May help some industries. There are goats that produce spider silk for material production.
Spider silk is a light, tough, flexible material that can be used in military uniforms, and tennis
Even though humans may benefit from transgenic animals, the
animal itself may not benefit. For example transgenic cows with a
larger udders are burdened to carry more weight, which causes
more stress on their limbs and they may have more limb injuries.
Transgenic organisms may harm the environment. Genetically
modified salmon have the ability to reproduce with non-genetically
modified species, this can cause a huge problem if the salmon
somehow get into the wild. Female fish chose mate according to the
size of the male. Genetically modified salmon gets an advantage
over a normal male meaning that females will show preference to
the genetically modified male. This may even cause species
Religious people may be offended by the idea of transgenic animals
because they believe that as God is the creator, God is the only one
with the right to “play” with life.
Many farmers are making their crops pest resistant. Insects can ruin
crops, resulting in financial lost for farmers. And consumers don’t
want to eat food that have lots of chemicals on it. So pest resistant
crops help eliminate chemical pesticides
Weeds can be a big problem when growing crops. Farmers don’t
have the time to physically remove weeds so they must use
herbicides. But doing so may also damage the crops so now they
have genetically modified crops that are herbicide tolerant. With
herbicide tolerant crops, farmers can spray weeds with herbicides
without worrying about the crops
Frost can be detrimental on plants, especially the younger ones. An
antifreeze gene from cold water fish is put into plants such as
tobacco and potatoes. With this antifreeze gene plants can easily
tolerate cold temperatures.
Additional nutrients can be added to crops. For example “golden”
rice has a lot of vitamin A put into it.
Genetically modified plants may harm other organisms. The
genetically modified plant may be harmful to insects, so they might
have to change their food source. Genetically modified plants that
are close to non-genetically modified plants may cross breed. The
wind may blow the pollen of the modified plant onto the nonmodified plant. BT corn is known to have caused the deaths of many
monarch butterfly caterpillars because the pollen from the corn
blew onto the plants that the butterflies consume.
Preventing cross breed will also cost a lot of money because farmers
will need to physically separate the genetically modified and nongenetically modified fields and that means they will need more land.
Many kids in North America and Europe have developed allergies to
peanuts and other foods. There is a possibility that introducing a
gene into a plant may create a new allergen or cause an allergic
reaction in susceptible individuals.
How is the procedure preformed?
The nucleus of any cell contains genes made of
DNA, which store information that regulates how
our bodies form and function. Genes can be altered
artificially, so that some characteristics of an animal
are changed. Animals that have their DNA
manipulated are known as transgenic animals.
There are 3 methods of producing transgenic
How is the procedure preformed?
Method 1.DNA Microinjection:
Eggs are isolated from the animal and fertilized in the
vitro, then the constructed DNA containing the foreign
gene is injected into the nucleus of the egg using a very
Foreign DNA is inserted at random locations into the
DNA of the fertilized egg.
The egg is then implanted into the oviduct of a substitute
Success rate is low because only a small percentage of the
implanted eggs develop into transgenic animals, and only
a few transgenic animals express the gene efficiently.
How is the procedure preformed?
Method 2. Retroviral Vectors:
The gene of interest is inserted into the genome of a
retrovirus, a virus that carries its genetic material
in the form of RNA rather than DNA.
Then the virus is used to infect embryonic
cells, which then develop into organisms that carry
the gene that was inserted in the genome of the
This method is very inefficient; it has a low success
How is the procedure preformed?
Method 3. Embryonic Stem Cell Transfer
This method is more efficient than microinjection and retroviral
vectors because it allows for the insertion of the genes into very
specific sites in the genome of the recipient organism.
First, embryonic stem cells are isolated from the organism that is
getting the gene, and grown in tissue culture flasks.
Cells are then modified by inserting the DNA containing the gene
into specific sites in the genome.
The modified embryonic stem cells are then injected into the
developing recipient organism when it is in the early stages.
Finally, a mammal in its early stages of development containing the
gene of interest is implanted into a surrogate mother, an animal
which takes on the role of another animal.
The organism grows in its surrogate mother until it is ready to be
born into the world.
How does the chosen topic improve the well
being of our society?
Blindness due to vitamin A deficiency is a common problem in third
world countries. People there rely on crops such as rice for their
main food source. Sadly rice does not contain the nutrients
necessary to prevent malnutrition. Golden rice is a genetically
modified food that has additional vitamin A.
People with diabetes can benefit from insulin produced by
transgenic cows that produce insulin in their milk.
There are blood thinners in the milk of transgenic goats. We can use
this information to develop medicine.
Plants have been modified in different fashions: drought
resistance, pest resistance, frost resistance, herbicide resistance. All
these things help farmers save money, and provide healthier and
Transgenic organisms have also made everyday activities such as
eating fruit easier. There are seedless watermelons and oranges.
Social Issues and Solution
Introducing a gene into a plant may create a
new allergen or cause an allergic reaction in
Solution: Extensive research and development
should be preformed. Scientists should thoroughly
test genetically modified foods before bringing them
into the market. Companies should also properly
label genetically modified foods, so consumers know
what’s in their food.
Political Issues and Solution
Labeling of genetically modified foods is not
mandatory in Canada. This means that consumers
may not know what’s in their food.
Solution: The government can impose an excise tax
on genetically modified food products that are not
labeled appropriately. This will pressure companies
into labeling the food, so consumers will know what
they are eating.
Ethical issues and Solution
Although humans may benefit from transgenic animals, the animals
themselves may be hurt. For example there is more weight on
transgenic cows that have a larger udders.
Solution: Add vitamins to the diet of the animal which strengthen
its bones and muscles, and that will allow the animal to withstand
the given circumstances.
Genetically modified plants may harm other organisms
unintentionally. The plant might be harmful for insects, so they will
have to change their food source. For example BT corn caused the
deaths of many monarch butterfly caterpillars.
Solution: Keep the fields of genetically modified plants and nongenetically modified plants away from each other, so pollen from
the genetically modified plants does not blow onto the nongenetically modified plants.
Canadian Data on Transgenic Organisms
Canada is the third largest producer of genetically modified
organisms in the world.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency(CFIA) is responsible for
the control of GM foods in Canada.
The CFIA has strict criteria that includes: how the food crop
was developed, the composition of the modified food
compared to the non-modified food counterparts; the
nutritional information for the modified food compared to the
non-modified counterparts; the potential for new toxins; and
the potential for causing an allergic reaction.
The food can only enter the market if it passes the criteria
given by the CFIA.
Labeling genetically modified foods is not mandatory unless
the gene poses an allergy risk.
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Doroteya Raykova – Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” Grzegorz Dziurawiec – Uniwersytet
Przyrodniczy w Lublinie Michaël da Veiga Mendes – Universidade de Évora Silwya Misiaszek –
Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy w Lublinie Vasil Savov – Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” (Lublin, 22
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