What are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)?

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Transcript What are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)?


     A GMO is any living things that has had its genome manipulated by humans, usually by inserting a gene from another species GMOs are very important for the food and medicine industries.

Biotechnology is the science of genetic modification.

Also known as genetically engineered, recombinant or transgenic organisms.

In 2008, 13.3 million farmers in 25 countries were growing GMO crops on 1.25 million square kilometers

    Humans have been manipulating the genomes of organisms for thousands of years Humans have been using the process of selective breeding to choose the best plants and animals, and to gradually change the genomes of those species Only the strongest, tastiest and most desirable individuals are allowed to breed and their genes are passed on to their offspring These organisms not considered to be GMOs

 Wolves to Dogs:  Teosinte to Corn:

Brassica oleracea

or wild cabbage has been bred into cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and kale

  ◦ ◦ ◦ The insertion of foreign genes into organisms Bacteria: Plasmids are used as a vector to transfer foreign genes A restriction enzyme is used to excise a specific gene which will anneal to a plasmid cut with the same enzyme Bacteriophages are also commonly used to transfer DNA

  ◦ ◦ Some plants can be genetically modified by infecting them with a bacterium called

Agrobacterium tunefaciens

The desired gene is inserted into the “Ti” plasmid in the bacterium ◦ When a plant is infected it incorporates some the plasmid DNA into its chromosome, so any of the plants offspring will carry those genes An alternative method is the “Gene gun” DNA attached to small gold or tungsten particles is fired at a piece of plant tissue

  ◦ ◦ ◦ Microinjection the use of a micropipette to insert DNA into a cell Uses needles 0.5-5μm in diameter The foreign gene is inserted into the pronucleus of a fertilized egg cell The genes of animals can also be modified using viruses because viruses naturally insert their DNA into animal cells

   ◦ ◦ ◦ Bacteria can be made to produce important human proteins by inserting the human genes that code for these proteins into the bacterial genome Examples: Human insulin is now produced by and was much less effective E. coli bacteria for diabetics. In the past insulin from pigs or cattle was used Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is also produced by recombinant bacteria. HGH was previously obtained from cadavers.

Others: Blood clotting Factors and Vaccines Human proteins can also be produced in the body fluids of transgenic animals then refined

   ◦ Flavr Savr Tomatoes The first transgenic plants licensed to be eaten by humans Golden Rice ◦ ◦ ◦ Rice modified to contain β-carotene Aimed to combat vitamin A deficiency (VAD) VAD results in 2.5 million deaths of children under 5 and 250-500 thousand children going blind every year among other health problems ◦ Insect and disease resistant crops Soybeans, corn, canola, wheat, etc.

   GloFish ◦ Zebrafish with a fluorescence gene taken from jellyfish are available as pets ◦ Malaria-resistant mosquitoes When introduced to the wild they would reproduce and spread the gene through the gene pool, decreasing the number of mosquitoes carrying malaria “Enviropig”

   ◦ ◦ ◦ Environmental concerns ◦ ◦ GMOs can mate with wild plants and create hybrids GMOs and hybrids have a selective advantage and will outcompete wild plants GMOs have unpredictable effects on other organisms (may be poisonous) Loss of biodiversity Human safety concerns: ◦ ◦  Transgenic food may cause allergic reactions People allergic to seafood may be allergic to plants with genes from fish No labeling regulations Social concerns Market dominance in the food industry by a few companies

     Medicines from GMOs are cheaper and of better quality than previous sources, saving lives Plant GMOs with increased yield and insect/disease resistance provide more food with less land and reduce the need for poisonous pesticides and fertilizers Food can be modified for increased nutrition Ecological concerns of escaped GMOs becoming weeds apply equally to other domesticated plants as well as the effects of monocultures of soil health GMO foods are tested for potential dangers before they are licensed for human consumption

   Genetic engineering is an exciting field of science and new discoveries are made every day There may be some dangers but all human inventions have an element of risk GMOs have a huge potential to improve and save human lives

              Natural Resources & Environment Summer 2011: 13+. Academic OneFile. Web. 3 Dec. 2011.

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The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 3rd ed. Vol. 6. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 4071-4074. Di Giuseppe, M., Vavitsas, A., Ritter, B., Fraser, D., Arora, A., & Lisser, B. (2003). Nelson.

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Nature Education.,1(1). Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/recombinant-dna-technology-and-transgenic animals-34513 (2010). Glofish. Retrieved from http://www.glofish.com/ Gallagher, J. (April 20, 2011). GM mosquitoes offer malaria hope. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13128327 (2011). DNA Microinjection Services. Retrieved from http://research.uci.edu/tmf/dnaMicro.htm

(2011). Golden Rice is part of the solution, Biofortified rice as a contribution to the alleviation of life threatening micronutrient deficiencies in developing countries. http://www.goldenrice.org/ (November 5, 2008). What are Genetically Modified (GM) Foods?. Retrieved from http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/gmfood.shtml

(2009). Cloning into a Plasmid. Retrieved from http://www.accessexcellence.org/RC/VL/GG/plasmid.php

       Slide 4: http://visual.merriam-webster.com/animal-kingdom/carnivorous-mammals/dog breeds_1.php

, http://www.learner.org/courses/essential/life/images/show5.maize_teosinte.jpg

Slide 5: http://www.tainongseeds.com/Kohlrabi.html

, http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2009/dymond_dani/Classification%20Information.htm

, http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/senior/vegetabl/cabbage1.htm

, http://groovyvegetarian.com/2007/11/10/10-fun-facts-about-broccoli/ , http://www.bigoven.com/glossary/Cauliflower , http://www.lesliebeck.com/ingredient_index.php?featured_food=77 , http://www.thatsfit.ca/2010/01/27/kale-chips-recipe-healthy-crunchy-homemade-snack/ Slide 6: http://www.accessexcellence.org/RC/VL/GG/plasmid.php

Slide 7: http://www.bio.davidson.edu/Courses/Molbio/MolStudents/spring2003/McDonald/Gene_gun.html

Slide 8: http://images.tutorvista.com/content/biotechnology/micro-injection-process.jpeg

, http://research.uci.edu/tmf/dnaMicro.htm

Slide 10: http://www.goldenrice.org/ Slide 11: http://www.glofish.com/photos.asp