Genetically Modified Organisms (Gmo)


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Genetically Modified Organisms (Gmo)

  1. 1. Genetically Modified Organisms The GM Debate Separating fact from fiction!
  2. 2. What is it? <ul><li>GM technology is not a single methodology but a group of methods which allow the manipulation of genes. </li></ul><ul><li>Normally it involves the insertion of a functional gene (plus its promoter, the equivalent of an on/off switch for the gene, and a marker gene) into the genetic code of a crop species </li></ul>
  3. 3. What can we do with GM?
  4. 4. What can we do with GM? <ul><li>Crop plants resistant to herbicides </li></ul>
  5. 5. Crop plants resistant to herbicides <ul><li>Poisons that generally affect only unwanted plants, or weeds, are called herbicides. </li></ul><ul><li>A growing number of weeds are developing resistance to herbicides. </li></ul><ul><li>The gene that confers this resistance has been introduced to a number of crop plants. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Crop plants resistant to herbicides <ul><li>This means that growers can put the herbicide directly on the crop. It kills all unwanted plants. Yet, the crop remains unharmed. </li></ul><ul><li>Corn, cotton and soybeans have all been genetically engineered to be herbicide resistant. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Crop plants resistant to herbicides <ul><li>About seventy-five percent of all soybeans and sixty-five percent of all cotton grown in America is GM for herbicide resistance. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Crop plants resistant to herbicides <ul><li>Scientists developed another kind of genetically engineered corn to resist insects. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Improving crop quality <ul><li>Tomatoes can be manipulated to improve the crop quality </li></ul><ul><li>Tomato pastes have been modified with a gene which inhibited the production of the enzyme which softened cell walls in the tomato. </li></ul><ul><li>The GM gene therefore served to maintain firmness in the tomato as the fruit ripened. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Other crop improvements <ul><li>High-lysine corn products that improve the nutritional value of animal feed </li></ul><ul><li>Improved soybeans and canola for healthier oils and protein, </li></ul>
  11. 11. Pharmaceutical products <ul><li>Many medicines have traditionally been extracted from plants, microorganisms or animals. </li></ul><ul><li>It may not be possible to produce enough of the medicine to treat all the people who need it </li></ul>
  12. 12. Pharmaceutical products <ul><li>The cloning of human genes in bacteria enables large amounts of many medicines (e.g. human growth hormone). </li></ul><ul><li>The treatment of dwarfism with growth hormone used to involve extract the pituitary glands from cadavers. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Pharmaceutical products <ul><li>Organisms can be genetically modified either to increase the amount of medically useful products, such as antibiotics, that they produce naturally, or to produce entirely new medicines. </li></ul><ul><li>Plants are starting to be used to produce vaccines for a variety of human and animal diseases. </li></ul>
  14. 14. What are the ethical issues?
  15. 15. Is it ethical? <ul><li>Views for: </li></ul><ul><li>This issue has been carefully considered by </li></ul><ul><li>many independent ethical bodies including the Pope. </li></ul><ul><li>None has found any reason to consider GM technology as unacceptable in principle. </li></ul><ul><li>All technologies if handled properly benefit humankind. It is unethical to deny the exploration of the potential of such beneficial technologies. </li></ul><ul><li>View against: </li></ul><ul><li>Humans have always ‘tampered’ with nature – but GM represents a fundamental change in the way we deal with nature. </li></ul><ul><li>Some people believe that GM is unethical. Food containing GM material must be labelled so that these people can avoid GM if they wish. </li></ul>
  16. 16. WHAT DOES THE GM FUTURE HOLD? <ul><li>Views for: </li></ul><ul><li>GM offer exciting opportunities for a more sustainable future, hope of alleviating hunger around the globe, and a way of coping with the projected major increase of the world's population. </li></ul><ul><li>We have an obligation to evaluate all avenues that may achieve these goals. </li></ul><ul><li>View against </li></ul><ul><li>The unknowns surrounding GM and the risks that have not yet been fully understood ,we may be leaving a worrying legacy for the future. </li></ul><ul><li>We could be posing major environmental, socio-economic and even health problems for future generations. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no strong evidence that GM offers a more sustainable future. </li></ul>
  17. 17. What about the developing world? <ul><li>Views for </li></ul><ul><li>Countries should be allowed to decide for themselves without being dictated to by largely overfed societies. </li></ul><ul><li>GM crops provide an opportunity for increasing food supply to malnourished people. </li></ul><ul><li>Two-thirds of the farmers currently growing GM crops live in resource-poor countries, including those in Africa. </li></ul><ul><li>Views against </li></ul><ul><li>Africa is being used as a dumping ground for GM foods. </li></ul><ul><li>The people who benefit are not the poor but the biotechnology companies and the seed distributors. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Is patenting genes democratic? <ul><li>Views for </li></ul><ul><li>Patenting is an essential part of the process of investing in the research and development that leads to the discovery of something new. </li></ul><ul><li>Patents last about 20 years, which is a short time in the context of a plant breeding timetable. After the patent ends, everyone has access to the intellectual property. </li></ul><ul><li>Views against </li></ul><ul><li>There is a real question as to whether anyone should have the right to ‘own’ genes. </li></ul><ul><li>Patenting allows industry to take control of and exploit organisms and genetic material, treating them as exclusive private property that can be sold to or withheld from farmers, breeders, scientists and doctors. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, technology fees on seeds deprive farmers of their generations-old right to replant and exchange their seeds. </li></ul>