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13-4: Genetic Engineering. GMOs. Genetically Modified Organisms. Take a gene from a sea anemone that makes them glow in the dark and insert it into the DNA of a puppy and BAM ! …. Glow-in-the-Dark Puppies!!. Not for sale in the U.S.

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13-4: Genetic Engineering

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13-4: Genetic Engineering


GMOs

Genetically Modified Organisms


Take a gene from a sea anemone that makes them glow in the dark and insert it into the DNA of a puppy and BAM!…

Glow-in-the-Dark Puppies!!

Not for sale in the U.S.


With the increasing ability of humans to manipulate genes, we are now able to use geneticengineering technology for man’s benefit.

This field of industry is called biotechnology, and it is changing the way humans interact with the natural world.


Because all organisms are made up of the universal genetic code (DNA), it is possible to construct organisms that are transgenic, meaning they contain the genes of other organisms.


Transgenic microorganisms have revolutionized medicine, because we can transform bacteriacultures to produce human proteins.

  • Example: People with insulin-dependent diabetes are now treated with pure human insulin produced by human genes inserted into bacteria.

  • Steps:

  • 1. Use restriction enzyme to cut out insulin gene from human DNA

  • 2. Insert human DNA into bacteria

  • 3. Extract insulin from bacteria


Old school Genetic Modification


Genetically-Modified Organisms

  • Mammals – transgenic mice

    • Genes knocked out to test tissue-specific disease

    • How could this be helpful?

  • EnviroPig – produce enzyme

    • Less costly to feed

    • Reduced phosphorous waste

    • Potential for reduced

      “dead zone” in coastal waters?


Dead Zone

  • Algal bloom in Gulf of Mexico, emptying from Mississippi.

  • This type of area is considered a ‘dead zone’ because the massive amount of algae deplete the area of oxygen leaving it completely devoid of marine life.

  • Why do you think this is occurring here?

  • How could this be related to EnviroPig?


Transgenic Maize

  • Bt Corn is a variety of corn that has been genetically altered to express a Bacillus thuringiensis(Bt) toxin

  • This bacteria produces a protein that can be used as a pesticide


Transgenic Maize

  • The effects of Bt corn on non-target species has been studied. Why?

  • Studies on monarch caterpillars show that they have not suffered due to Bt corn.

  • In the US, farmers must plant non-Bt corn near Bt corn. Why would this be law?

  • Pests could eventually develop resistance to Bt

  • Safety issues – liver, kidney, and heart toxicity in rats tested with GM maize


Arguments against GMOs

  • GMOs spreading into non-GMO food supplies

    • Wind-borne seeds

    • Cross-pollination

  • GMO-targeted pests developing resistance

  • Health / nutrition of GM foods

  • Environmental impact of GM monocultures


Arguments for GMOs

  • Reduce need for pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.

  • Reduce irrigation needs

  • Reduce temperature, pH, climate demands

  • Increase crop yields

  • Quick results in countries that are struggling


A clone is an individual or cell that is genetically identical to it’s parental cell(s). This process was once considered impossible, but in 1997 Scottish scientist Ian Wilmut successfully cloned a sheep named Dolly.


The ability to clone animals holds great promise for medicine in the areas of stem-cells research and disease control/cure. However it is also highly controversial with regard to the possibility of human cloning.


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