A four-day-old Zedonk , a rare cross between a zebra and a donkey, stands next to her mother at the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve in Lumpkin County, Ga. July 26, 2010.
Genetically Modified (GM)
Genetically Modified Foods (GMF) derived from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO):
have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. These techniques are much more precise than:
* Mutagenesis (mutation breeding) where an animal is exposed to radiation or chemicals to create new traits
* Selective Breeding (plant breeding and animal breeding)
* Somaclonal Variation
Uses of GMF
Typically, Genetically Modified Foods are transgenic
plant products :
soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil .
Animal products have also been developed,
although as of July 2010 none are currently on the market.
(Researchers have developed a genetically-modified breed of pigs that are able to absorb plant phosphorus more efficiently, and as a consequence the phosphorus content of their manure is reduced by as much as 60%)
2. Reduced effectiveness of pesticides. Just as some populations of mosquitoes developed resistance to the now-banned pesticide DDT, many people are concerned that insects will become resistant.
3. Gene transfer to non-target species . Another concern is that crop plants engineered for herbicide tolerance and weeds will cross-breed, resulting in the transfer of the herbicide resistance genes from the crops into the weeds.
Human Health Risks
Allergenicity : There is a possibility that introducing a gene into a plant may create a new allergen or cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.
Unknown effects on human health: There is a growing concern that introducing foreign genes into food plants may have an unexpected and negative impact on human health.
Genetic Modification involves
Insertion or deletion of genes –
Transgenesis - horizontal gene transfer
Genes from a different species are inserted:
>Artificially attaching genes to a virus;
>Physically inserting the extra DNA into the nucleus of the intended host with a very small syringe, or with a “gene gun”.
In nature Transgenesis can occur when exogenous DNA penetrates the cell membrane for any reason:
> Agrobacterium transfers genetic material to plants
> Lentiviruses transfer genes to animal cells
> Jumping Genes phenomenon
>Cross Species Breeding
> Naturally, thousands of the same genes in swine exist in lettuce! Does this affect the Halalness of Lettuce?
GM food can only be allowed onto the market if it can be documented using scientific data
Three methods are used to measure the safety of the products:
1. Animal feeding tests of food
2. Allergens tests
3. Chemical analyses
In 2008, the Royal Society of Medicine:
“ GM foods have been eaten by millions of people worldwide for over 15 years, with no reports of ill effects.”
In 2004, the US National Academy of Science:
"To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population."
Are GMOs Halal?
Biotechnology can make a difference in agriculture especially in developing countries.
Islam encourages scientific innovations and emphasizes to have access to technologies.
Should a product be brought to market with a gene from a Haram source, today it would at least be considered Mashbooh -- questionable -- if not outright Haram.
The main concern for Halal certification would continue to be transgenic materials from pork or other “Haram" or “Mashbooh" products in foods derived through biotechnology.
Today all biotechnology-derived foods on the market are from approved sources, therefore today biotech derived foods are perfectly acceptable as Halal!
According to the Islamic Jurisprudence Council (IJC), foods derived from biotechnology-improved (GMO) crops are Halal - fit for Muslim consumption.
Some scholars have suggested that GMF may become Haram if they contain DNA from forbidden foods. For example, swine DNA in soy could make the soy product Haram.
This issue is still the subject of some debate among scholars and certifying organizations.
According to the Jewish Orthodox Union's Rabbinical Kashruth Advisory Board, such genetic manipulation does not present any Kashruth problems whatsoever.
Kosher and Halal requirements have many similarities, but it would be a mistake to take comparisons too far.
Deciding Factors for GMOs
The principles of Halal (lawful) and Haram (forbidden) on GMOs, as guided by the Qur’an and Hadith:
Does it contain any parts or products of animal origin which are forbidden in Islam?
Are derived from animals slaughtered according to Islamic law?
Does it contain any component of najs , or produced by tools or equipment contaminated by najs?
Is it safe and not harmful to human?
Are the raw ingredients contain derivatives from human being?
During preparation, processing, packaging, storage and transportation where products separated from any other product that does not meet the conditions mentioned above.
Genetically-modified foods 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.
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.
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.
In view of these findings, religious scholars have yet to make informed ruling.
Cloning Happens in Nature
A clone is simply one living thing made from another, leading to two organisms with the same set of genes.
Cloning has been going on in the natural world for thousands of years:
♥ Identical twins are clones.
♥ plants are self-pollinated plants- producing seeds and eventually more plants with the same genetic code.
♥ Spreading by Roots-Some forests are made entirely of trees originating from one single plant which later sprouted new trees.
♥ When earthworms are cut in half, they regenerate the missing parts of their bodies, leading to two worms with the same set of genes.
However, the ability to intentionally create a clone in the animal kingdom by working on the cellular level is a recent development.
Human Cloning is possible but unethical, using Nuclear Transfer Technology.
Its impossible to predict the outcome.
Dr. Clone and his sheep!
Stem Cell Uses
Is a rapidly growing field of biomedicine that seeks to create substitute tissues and organs for the human body: to repair or replace those whose function is lost through illness, injury, aging or congenital anomaly (birth defects)
Looking to the Future
Regenerative medicine may well result in nerve regeneration for treatment of Parkinson’s Disease or Alzheimer’s, islet cells for diabetes, and replacement of damaged heart tissue, joints, etc. As biology, engineering and immunology expertise grows, the field may succeed in building three - dimensional organs like bladders, livers, hearts, and kidneys.
Stem Cell Research
Sources of Stem Cells
Embryonic - From early stage of embryos
Fetal - From organs of developing fetus
Adult - From somatic or body cells
Amniotic - From amniotic fluid surrounding fetus
Induced - Genetically programmed cells
Stem cells are unprogrammed cells in the human body that can continue dividing forever and can change into other types
of cells .
Because stem cells can become bone, muscle, cartilage and other specialized types of cells, they have the potential to treat many diseases.
While Quran is not a book of science, it refers to scientific facts and phenomena.
Islam encourages Muslims to learn and discover.
On Halal and Haram issues, Muslims should not follow the foot steps of Jews and Christians or the extreme organizations such as PETA.
“ Of their flesh (of swine) shall you NOT eat and of their carcass you shall NOT touch; they are unclean to you” Bible, Chapter 11 Verse 7 Conclusion: Christians may not even follow their own scriptures on religious matters! Pork Prohibition in Christianity
Benefits of Cloning:
♥ Cloning body parts- heart, kidney, etc.- can serve as a lifesaver. ♥ Would be a solution to infertility in Human-Cloning has the potential of serving as an option for producing children.
♥ Produce people with certain qualities, human beings with particular desirable traits. ♥ Cloning technologies can prove helpful for the researchers in genetics.
♥ Cloning may also help us combat a wide range of genetic diseases. ♥ Cloning can make it possible for us to obtain customized organisms and harness them for health benefits of society.
♥ Cloning can serve as the best means to replicate animals that can be used for research purposes. ♥ Cloning can enable the genetic alteration of plants and animals.
Disadvantages of Cloning
By created identical genes, Cloning hamper the diversity in genes thus weaken ability of the species’ adaptation.
Cloning is also detrimental to the beauty that lies in diversity. Cloning may make deliberate reproduction of undesirable traits, a probability.
Cloning of body organs might invite malpractices in society. In cloning human organs and using them for transplant, or in cloning human beings themselves, technical and economic barriers will have to be considered. Will cloned organs be cost-effective? Will cloning techniques really reach the common man? Moreover, cloning will put human and animal rights at stake.
Will cloning fit into our ethical and moral principles? Cloning will leave man just another man-made being. Won't it devalue mankind? Won't it undermine the value of human life? Cloning is equal to emulating God. Is that easy? Is that risk-free? Many are afraid it is not!
Tri Religious Views-Judaism
Jews believe that God wants human beings to use all of their capacities to improve people’s health.
Jewish law does not recognize the human embryo as a human being. Therefore, to the extent that therapeutic cloning or Stem Cell Research , whereby scientists extract stem cells from embryos, could lead to cures for diseases,
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the Rabbinical Council of America issued a policy statement on therapeutic cloning stating that because the procedure could lead to cures for devastating diseases, it should be allowed. They said: “The Torah commands us to treat and cure the ill and to defeat disease and save and heal human life wherever possible; to do this is to be the Creator’s partner in safeguarding the created,”
However, reproductive cloning , a procedure that produces a child, raises deep concerns in Jewish thought because of questions about how a clone would affect familial relationships.
Some Jewish scholars worry that cloning could make human beings commodities by making it possible to breed clones to have certain characteristics, such as physical strength or high intelligence.
The Rabbinical Council has affirmed its opposition to reproductive cloning.
Not all Jews disapprove of reproductive cloning , however. Rabbi Michael Broyde expressed the view of some adherents to Reform Judaism when he argued in favor of reproductive cloning:
Tri Religious Views-Christianity
There is no similar diversity of opinions in the Catholic Church
The Church is adamantly opposed to any form of human
cloning and has worked to mobilize political opposition to it.
The position of the church is that life begins at conception.
In the church’s view , creation of life and subsequent
destruction of it for therapeutic or research purposes is
equivalent to murder.
Pope John Paul II expressed the official position of the
Roman Catholic Church when he called “ Abortion,
euthanasia, and human cloning . . . risk reducing the
human person to a mere object. . . .
Tri Religious Views-Islam
Most traditional Muslims also reject the idea of human cloning.
The Quran , states that the creation of human beings results from the joining
of the reproductive seeds of a husband and wife. Reproductive cloning, which bypasses this union, is therefore considered unnatural and in opposition to Islam.
In 1983 the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences (IOMS) determined
that human cloning was not permissible.
Muslim countries are called upon to formulate necessary legislation to prevent foreign research institutes, organizations and experts from directly or indirectly using Muslim countries for experimentation on human cloning or promoting it.
For some Muslims , however, therapeutic cloning - Stem Cell Research
may be permissible because of their belief, like Jews and some Christians,
that the embryo does not have moral standing until 120 days after conception.
Islam perspectives toward cloning - theological and ethical dimensions:
Human manipulation of genes by biological intervention in the early stages
of life for the purpose of improving the chances of fertility for a married couple
is regarded as an act of faith in the ultimate will of God as the Giver of all life.