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Genetic Engineering · PDF file What is genetic engineering? Genetic engineering is the direct modification of an organism’s genome, which is the list of specific traits (genes)

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  • Genetic Engineering


  • What is the difference between the mice in these two groups?

  • What is genetic engineering?

    Genetic engineering is the direct modification of an organism’s genome, which is the list of specific traits (genes) stored in the DNA.

    Changing the genome enables engineers to give desirable properties to different organisms.

    Organisms created by genetic engineering are called genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

  • History of GMO Development

    1973: created first genetically modified bacteria

    1974: created GM mice

    1982: first commercial development of GMOs (insulin-producing bacteria)

    1994: began to sell genetically modified food

    2003: began to sell GMOs as pets (Glofish)

  • What is the GMO process?  All genetic changes affect the protein synthesis of the


     By changing which proteins are produced, genetic engineers can affect the overall traits of the organism.

     Genetic modification can be completed by a number of different methods:

    • Inserting new genetic material randomly or in targeted locations

    • Direct replacement of genes (recombination)

    • Removal of genes • Mutation of existing genes

  • GMO Bacteria Bacteria are the most common GMOs because their simple

    structure permits easy manipulation of their DNA.

    One of the most interesting uses for genetically modified bacteria is the production of hydrocarbons (plastics and fuels) usually only found in fossil fuels.

     Cyanobacteria have been modified to produce plastic (polyethylene) and fuel (butanol) as byproducts of photosynthesis

     E. Coli bacteria have been modified to produce diesel fuel

  • Engineering Plants

    How might genetic engineering modify plants to solve everyday problems?

    (Consider world hunger, weather problems, insecticide pollution…)

  • Copy and complete this table

    Example Why it was created

    BT-corn Prevents crops being eaten by insects

    Golden rice


    Venomous cabbage

    Flavr Savr tomato

    Banana vaccines



    AquAdvantage salmon

  • Genetically Modified Crops GMO crop production in the US (2010):

     93% of soybeans

     93% of cotton

     86% of corn

     95% of sugar beets

    Example:  One common modified crop is Bt-corn.

     A gene from the Bt bacteria is added so the corn produces a protein that is poisonous to certain insects but not humans.

  • Reasons to Genetically Modify Crops

     Insect resistant

     Herbicide resistant

     Drought/freeze resistant

     Disease resistant

     Higher yield

     Faster growth

     Improved nutrition

     Longer shelf life

  • Genetically engineered rice which contains a gene from carrots (or other vegetable) which causes the

    rice to contain the building blocks for vitamin A production in the body.

    Vitamin A deficiency causes blindness and death.

    125 million children suffer from vitamin A deficiency. Most of these children live in

    developing countries where rice is the staple food.

    Too much vitamin A causes other health problems.

    Some people think that GM crops like this one promote the use of GM foods to people that

    are not in the position to say no.

  • The ‘Protato’ contains 60% more protein per gram than a ‘normal’ potato, it also

    has a larger yield.

    A gene was used from the grain Amaranth which codes for storage



    Potato created for the starch industry.

    Used antibiotic resistance marker gene.

    Fear that the genes could escape into the environment.

    It was proposed that the waste potato was fed to livestock.

    This caused outrage from some European countries, why?

    In tests with rats and rabbits there have been no side effects and no

    allergic affects.

    Could the Protato face the same opposition as Amflora?

  • Cabbage which has been genetically engineered to include the gene for

    Scorpion venom.

    The venom is poisonous to caterpillars – it acts as a pesticide.

    The toxin has been altered - it does not kill human cells

    This reduces the use of chemical pesticides sprayed on crops.

    What if the toxin mutates and alters again?

    What affect will the toxin have on the biodiversity of the area?

  • The Flavr Savr tomato is a genetically engineered tomato which has a gene

    inserted to extend shelf-life by slowing down the rotting process.

    The Flavr Savr tomato was the first GM fruit to be sold in the World.

    Normally, tomatoes are picked while green and transported many miles before being

    sprayed with ethylene to ripen them.

    This prevents damage and perishing on the journey.

    Is it better to spray tomatoes with ethylene than

    genetically engineer them?

  • Bananas, carrots, potatoes and lettuce have all been genetically engineering to

    deliver vaccines for diseases.

    The banana has been the most successful in testing. The virus’ genes are

    transferred to the banana cells and

    become a permanent part of that banana’s

    genetic code.

    When the gene has been inserted into the banana, it’s cells produces virus proteins (not the infectious part).

    When you eat the banana you ingest these proteins and the body produces

    antibodies against them – this is exactly how injected vaccines work!

    Is there a risk of people taking the vaccine without realising they

    are doing so?

  • Engineering Animals

    Could genetic engineering be used to modify any animals to solve


  • Bioluminescent Animals


     Protein tracking

     Disease detection using bioluminescent imaging (BLI) to identify different types of cells

     Novelty pets (Glofish are available now)

  • Zebra fish with a gene inserted from jellyfish or coral to make them


    Originally created in an attempt to show levels of pollutions in rivers.

    Native to India and Bangladesh. None have

    survived in American rivers.

    The first genetically engineered organism to be

    sold as a pet.

    They can reproduce, but it is illegal to do so!

    How does this fish benefit us? Other fluorescent organisms

    // //

  • Could Spiderman Be Real?

    Web-Producing Goats Spider genes in goats enable the

    production of spider silk in goat milk

  • Goats which produce spider silk in their milk!

    The gene transferred from a spider causes the goats to produce an extra protein in their milk

    which can be extracted and spun into spider silk thread.

    Spider silk is stronger than steel, lightweight, and very elastic.

    It holds it’s strength between -40°C and 220°C.

    Spider silk could be used to manufacture;

    • replacement ligaments

    •wound covering (it has antiseptic properties and vitamin K which helps with blood clotting!)

    •optical communications

    •bullet proof clothing

    •waterproof clothing!!

    Spiders cannot be farmed as they are

    cannibalistic –

    they eat each other!

    About 75% of spider goats are euthanised as there are strict controls meaning that they cannot leave the facility where they are created.

    Why create a life to destroy it?

  • Fast-Growing Salmon

    Genes from two other fish cause this salmon to

    continually produce growth hormones

    Less Smelly Cows Modifying bacteria

    responsible for methane production in cattle results in 25% less-flatulent cows

  • A gene which controls the growth

    hormone from one breed of salmon is

    inserted into the DNA of another.

    This causes it to grow much quicker than

    ‘normal’ salmon.

    AquAdvantage salmon

    Normal salmon

    This fish has not been consumed by humans yet – is it safe?

    What effect could the AquAdvantage salmon

    have on wild salmon if it escaped?

    Could this gene be transferred to humans

    if we eat it?

    What could happen if this occurred?

  • GMO Concerns

    What are some concerns regarding genetically modified foods and animals?

     Risk to human health; unsafe to eat

     Harm to the environment and wildlife

     Increased pesticide and herbicide use

     Farmers’ health

     Seed and pollen drift

     Creation of herbicide-resistant super weeds

     What about genetic engineering in humans? Nearly 50 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan and all of the countries in the European Union, have enacted significant restrictions or full bans on the production and sale of genetically modified organism food products, and 64 countries now have GMO labeling requirem