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Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture; the Biosafety Issues [Tarek Alfalah, University of Tripoli, Libya]


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Workshop on Higher Education and Professional Responsibility in CBRN Applied Sciences and Technology across the Sub-Mediterranean Region
3-4 April 2012. Palazzo Zorzi, Venice
Session 4. Future Directions - Higher Education and Responsible Science

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Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture; the Biosafety Issues [Tarek Alfalah, University of Tripoli, Libya]

  1. 1. Human-Animal ChimerasNew Developments and Ethical Issues
  2. 2. ChimerasIt is a reference to ancientGreek mythology A combination of goat, lionand snake …
  3. 3. Chimeras are not Hybrids-Chimeras are organisms comprised of-cells from two or more individuals ofthe same or different species .-Hybrids : crossbreeding of two-different species .-- Human- animal hybrids is a wrong term .-- Because the chimera contains cells fromtwo different genetic individuals , andeach of these arose by mating , it has fourparents , a hybrid has only two parents.
  4. 4. The Importance of Animal Research Every medical breakthroughin the 20th century comeabout as a result of researchwith animals .
  5. 5. Chimeras , Transgenics , and Xenotransplantation• Chimeras : DNA is not mixed• Transgenics : Human DNA is mixed with animal or plant DNA• Xenotransplantation : Human DNA might be mixed with animal DNA
  6. 6. Transgenic Animals• Started with the purpose of producing better breed lines of farm animals .• Moved forward in attempting to produce important biopharmaceuticals , to that of producing organs for humans .
  7. 7. Transgenic AnimalsA transgenic animal is onewhich has been geneticallyaltered to have a specificcharacteristics it otherwisewould not have. Inanimals transgenesiseither means transferringDNA into the animal oraltering DNA already inthe animal .
  8. 8. Animal-Animal Chimeras In the last 25 years , researchers especiallyfrom University of Cornell , have worked withthese half-half creatures , like : rabbit-tiger goat-sheep quail-chick mouse-horse
  9. 9. Sheep-Goat Chimera-First developed by Dr. R.S.White , Australia in1978.-- Researches fused a sheep embryo with agoat embryo , the resulting creature was amosaic of goat and sheep tissue . The partsthat grew from the sheep embryo were wooly ,those from the goat embryo were hairy .-- This chimera may be fertile , but it passes oneither sheep or goat genes , depending onwhether its reproductive organs were formedfrom the goat or sheep embryos .
  10. 10. Quail-Chick Chimera-Nicole Le Douarin , Institute of Embryology ,France.--By inserting quail cells of early stages into a chickenegg.-- The quail cells act as markers , to be easily identifiedwhen they differentiate and form the chick.-- By comparing the final product with where the cellsare originally implanted , researchers were able totrack how each muscle develops and where that tissueoriginated . The goal was to shed light on thedevelopment of higher animal nervous and immunesystems .-She showed that procursor cells within the neural crestwere multipotent.
  11. 11. The Vacanti Mouse-By Dr Charles Vacanti , University ofMassachusetts in 1995.-- Like a human ear . Was an ear-shapedcartilage structure grown by seeding cowcartilage cells – no human tissue used .-- Created to demonstrate a method offabricating cartilage structures fortransplantation into human patients , aresonable polyester fabric was infiltratedwith bovine cartilage cells and implantedunder the skin of hairless mouse .-- The picture still provoke controversy .
  12. 12. Human Pluripotent Stem Cells• hPSCs capable of turning into any kind of tissue and stem cells .• hPSCs , theoretically provide an indefinitely renewable source of any kind of human tissue, thus offering tremendous potential for basic research , drug development and regenerative medicine .• The first sources of hPSCs were human embryos .
  13. 13. How To Examine hPSCs• The standard method to test that hPSCs are truly pluripotent is to inject them into postnatal immune-deficient mice , and see whether they give rise to teratomas ( tumors that consist of disorganized tissue gowth of the three embryonic germ layers : endoderm , mesoderm , and ectoderm )
  14. 14. Human-sheepchimera-By Dr. Esmail Zanjaniuniversity of Nevada.-This research is going forthe last 2 years and still.-- Sheep contain 15%human genes ,body ofsheep but organs that arepartly human.-Goal is to have partlyhuman liver , lungs, heartand brain for humantransplants.
  15. 15. Human-monkey chimera- Dr Eugene Redmond , Yale University .-Implanting several millions of human neural cells(from stem cells )into the brain of an African greenmonkey .-- When the human cell mature they function asliving partners with the billions of monkey brain cellsthat are already there.-- Researchers putting 8-10 million human cells in amonkey brain that may has 20-40 billion cells.-- The goal is that will help supply a chemical calleddopamine , which is missing from the brains ofpeople who have Parkinson’s disease.
  16. 16. Human-Animal Chimeras for Vaccines• - The field of vaccines for diseases such as• (HIV) has faced major failures in recent years .• - Diseases like malaria ,HIV , hepatitis C and dengue cause high morbidity and mortality in the developing world as compared to the developed world .
  17. 17. diseases• - Viral infections caused by hepatitis B virus , hepatitis C and HIV , affect more than 500 million people resulting in more than 3.5 million deaths/year .• - Bacterial and parasitic diseases have a similarity high impact . Endemic and epidemic malaria result in severe disease in about half-a-billion people each year , and causes 1.5 million deaths annually , mostly in developing countries .
  18. 18. Humanized Mice• - Have recently emerged as powerful tools in the investigation of human diseases .• - Models transplanted with human cells or tissues and/or human transgenes that are suited for direct investigation of human infections agents .• - Recent researches focus on HBV, HCV, HIV, TB, and malaria , with mice carrying the target tissues of human pathogens , as well as bearing human immune components to react against them.
  19. 19. Examples of Humanized Mice HIS Mice• - (HIS) human immune system mice .• - Are generated by grafting immune-deficient animals with suspensions of hematopoietic cells and/or human peripheral blood cells with supplemental human tissues supporting the generation of human immune cells.• - HIS mice are already showing potential as the only available small animal model for HIV infection ,for testing the efficacy of antiviral compounds.
  20. 20. Ethical Issues
  21. 21. Chimeras Debate• There are legitimate ethical questions related to chimeras• At the same time The main health benefits of chimeras may occur in the developing world .
  22. 22. In The Developed Countries• There is a strong vocal political opposition against chimeras in the west .• Xenotransplantation and transgenic animals for drugs and disease models have not faced such opposition .
  23. 23. Rotavirus Vaccine Case• In general ,there is a precedence of delays in the development of life-saving technologies when the perspective of communities in developing countries is not taken into account .• Example : An earlier version of the rotavirus vaccine was removed from the market in the US in 1999, when few children developed negative symptoms which postponed research and subsequent introduction of rotavirus vaccine in developing countries ,where hundreds of thousands of children die every year from rotavirus associated diarrhea.
  24. 24. Risk and BenefitsSome health officials in the developing countries argue , that even though there was a small risk of negative effects in some children getting the vaccine , the benefits of testing the vaccine in developing countries , given the disease burden , far outweighed the risk .
  25. 25. Public Controversy Examples Of Public Media Headlines* Scientists create animals that are part-human .* the biological co-mingling of animal and human.* What if a human mind somehow got trapped inside a sheep’s head .* Harvesting human organs from sheep .* Combining monkeys and people .* Researches were attempting to play god ?* Human born to mice parents ! ( national geog.)* Mice with human brains .
  26. 26. The latest legislations in some developed countries• May 2008 : The UK House of Commons , decided that embryos would allowed to be made in laboratories only if guarantees of destroying them within the first 14 days were given.• Jun2008 : Government of UK approved and granted a Newcastle University a permit to use cow eggs filled with human DNA to develop therapies for Parkinson’s disease and stroke victims ( all cow DNA would be removed before the human DNA would be inserted )
  27. 27. Legislation• 2009 : Canada bans all chimera research .• 2009 : The human-animal hybrid prohibition Act. Failed to pass the US Congress.• June 2010 : In US , some States banned chimera research – Ohio-Oklahoma-Louisiana and Arizona.• Feburary 2009 : US (FDA) ,announced approval of Atryn , an anticoagulant protein derived from the milk of transgenic goats , (first time) , it was approved in Europe before that .
  28. 28. Chimeras Ethical IssuesSummary The main concern is : willchimeras eventually be developedto be too human .
  29. 29. Chimeras Ethical Issues Bioethics , researchers , animal rightsactivists ,and others interested in chimerascan be divided in two broad categories :1- Complete opposition to research of chimeras .2- Concerns about particular research methods to be used , and outcomes that may result .
  30. 30. The group who are convincedthat human-animal chimerashould not performed at all .Because :• It involves research on human embryoscombining human and animal genetic material.• Because it disregards the welfare of animalsand animal species involved , especially thehigher primates (Chimpanzees) .
  31. 31. The other group , notcompletely opposed to theresearch , their concerns :•Could chimeras have human brains ?•What is the potential for humanizedchimeras•How will human-animal primatechimeras be treated .
  32. 32. What are the scientistsopinions on human-animalchimeras•A concern must given to studies in which humanneurons or gametes might be incorporated into thebrain or gonads of a closely related primate.*The permeability of the boundary between species• Proposed research for chimeras must havescientific merit ,be directed to increase theknowledge and potential public benefit inappropriate facilities with properly trained andsupported scientists and stuff.
  33. 33. Scientists opinions …….• Chimeras are designed to have an immune system through the use of hESCs, which may allow for transgression of species boundaries .• What would happen if human cells migrated to the central nervous system of a chimera and make connections with the animal’s neurons?• The possibility of breeding generations of human- animal chimeras and the uncertainty of the nature of the offspring .•
  34. 34. What researchers and research institutes working on human-animal chimeras say:• Having only a few non-human cells in the final individual would not suffice since a human with a porcine heart valve is still a human being . But where to draw the line is unclear ,even for researchers .• The moral confusion argument has been alleged to be at the heart of the public controversy ,but this allegation is not supported by the extensive social science research on public understanding and attitudes toward modern biotechnology.
  35. 35. Thankyou
  36. 36. Biosafety in Food and Agriculture Tarek Alfallah
  37. 37. Between the 60’s & 90’s Milk yield in most dairy cow breeds have been more than doubled Time needed to produce a slaughter- weight broiler fell from 40 to 80 days.
  38. 38. These achievements derive, and still increasing1. improved management practices:  Record keeping  Breed societies  Facilities & equipments  Computer skills2. measurements of the genetic potential  Heritabilitys of different traits  Selection  Advanced biometric models
  39. 39. Status of Genetically Modified GM crop Tech in AfricaCommercial production : Burkina Faso , Egypt and S.FConfined field testing : Burkina Faso , Egypt , South Africa , Kenya , Uganda , Nigeria .Contained research : at least 14 countries .
  40. 40. Genetic Progress For Quantitative Traits Made by selection on phenotype or on estimated breeding values (EBV) Without knowledge of the number of genes that affect the trait or the effects of each gene. Hundreds of genes may affect one quantitative trait .
  41. 41.  Molecular genetics allows for the study the genetic make-up of individuals at the DNA level .
  42. 42. TWO BIG DIFFERENCES Traditional GeneticBreeding Methods Modification Require several  Progress can be generations to achieved produce beneficial in one generation . traits .  More precise , Transfers all the transfer only animal’s genes ( good desirable genes . and bad ) to the next generation .
  43. 43. Molecular genetics either by Direct selection on genes that affect traits of interest , major genes or quantitative trait loci ( QTL ) . Selection on genetic markers linked to QTL .
  44. 44. Why molecular genetic information can result in greater gain than phenotypic information ? Not affected by environmental effects and ,therefore, has heritability equal to 1. Can be available at an early age in principle at the embryo stage , thereby allowing early selection and reduction of generation interval . Can be obtained on all selection traits especially : - sex-linked traits - Expensive or difficult to record - Traits that require slaughter of the animal ( carcass traits )
  45. 45. One good reason to use new biotechnologies It ‘s been estimated that the supply of food required to adequately meet human nutritional needs over the next 40 years is equal to the amount of food previously produced throughout the entire history of humankind .
  46. 46. Reproductive technology Genetic modification transgenics Cloning Pharmaceut- ical farmSelection & Animals culling Mating
  47. 47. BIOSAFETYProtecting human and animal health andEnvironment from the possible adverseEffects of products of modern biotechnology
  48. 48. Four main events in the last 40 yearsThe United Nations conference on the human environment and development .( 1972)The Rio Earth Summit ( 1992)Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) 1992Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) 1993
  49. 49. Biosafety issues of transgenic crops ( genetic pollution)1- Laboratory green house stage2- Confined trial stage New genotypes gene flow or spreading by pollen grains or Other ways ; means genetically polluted the wild Type plant in the area ……
  50. 50. Risks of genetic pollution GMO’s enter the food chain The risk of loosing the wild type relatives of the transgenics ( the natural reserve of plant) Global warming and genotype –environment interaction
  51. 51. CONCL. & RECOM………. Biotechnology in food and agriculture already put its prints on the industry . Biotechnology is needed to the developing countries for their food security and health now and in the future . Modern biotechnology has been identified as the most potent technology for rescuing Africa from the effects of food shortages .
  52. 52. World focused on issues such as poverty and foodSecurity , as well as species loss and ecosystem destruction ; these quistions are among the most important and the most difficult in any society .Scientific controversies regarding genetic sciencecannot be resolved or decided on the basis of asimple restatment of the scientific issues .
  53. 53. Developing country should establish a strategyPut in place a legislation for promoting andfacilitating public awareness and educationconcerning the new technologies .Developing country should establish amechanism to ensure public access toinformation on GM plants or animals thatmight be imorted or experimented .
  54. 54. Thank you for your attention .