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Genetic Engineering • The process of manipulating genes within organisms • Taking a gene from one organism and putting it into another • AKA- Genetic Modification
Genetically Modified Organisms • Friend or Foe? • Worried about creating “Frankenstein”
GMO #1- Insulin • Diabetes is a disease in which people cannot regulate their blood sugar (to do lack of insulin). • Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar in normal people • Today, most diabetics respond to injectable insulin and live normal lives
GMO #1- Insulin • Originally, we used pig insulin to treat diabetes. This was very expensive and some people were allergic to it. • Now, we use human insulin that is created by E.Coli • Scientist inserted a human insulin gene into E.Coli and now that’s how we make insulin.
GMO #2- Round Up Resistant Crops • Weeds are notoriously hard to kill because some of them are resistant to herbicides. • Scientists isolated the gene that makes them resistant and inserted it into soybean crops • “Round Up Ready” crops can save 450 hours of time, 3,500 gallons of diesel fuel, and be planted closer together (grow more).
GMO #2- RR Crops • What’s the catch? • Farmers can now drench the crops with herbicide • Has resulted in SUPER WEEDS, that will not respond to herbicides (herbicide resistance)
GMO #3- Golden Rice • Rice with Vitamin A • Developed to be grown in areas of vitamin A shortages • Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness, maternal mortality during childbirth, and diminishes the ability to fight infections
GMO #3- Golden Rice • Problem- Who owns Golden Rice? • The scientist who created Golden Rice wanted to give it away for free to the people who needed it • The company that funded the researched wanted to make money off of it.
GMOs: The Future • Edible Vaccines ???? • Put the vaccine for a harmful disease (ex malaria) into a tomato and distribute them to the people that need the vaccine • Easier than sending doctors/nurses to inject • Cheaper than current vaccines
Conclusion • 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. Yet 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. However, 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.