Monday, April 8, 2013

Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering, or genetic modification, is a way to change an organism's genome (all the hereditary info found in one's DNA) by either removing or inserting new material "to form new combinations of heritable genetic material." Any organism changed in this manner is considered genetically modified. We are currently using genetic engineering to produce insect resistant plants and animals used for research "and the production of agricultural or pharmaceutical products." 

Some people worry whether genetically engineered plants and animals are safe. Other people worry that genetic engineering will eventually crossover to humans and become a privilege of the wealthy "who will opt to design their child with genetic advantages." There are arguments both for and against human genetic engineering, including "the belief that every fetus has an inherent right to remain genetically unmodified, the belief that parents hold the rights to modify their unborn offspring, and the belief that every child has the right to be born free from preventable diseases."*


The GloFish (patented and trademarked) is a brand of genetically modified fish.

And if you really want to be freaked out by this subject, look up spider-goats.


*Wikipedia

45 comments:

  1. Oh it's certainly has the potential for a horror story doesn't it?!! Oh I am officially freaked out by this! LOL!! Take care
    x

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    1. I wasn't - until I learned about spider goats!

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  2. I have mixed feeling about genetic engineering of food. But there's a lot of cool things we can learn about health through gene study. Thanks for sharing this.

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  3. Genetically modifying creatures and plants falls under a "just because we can do it, doesn't mean we should do," for me. We still know so little about the potential problems that can be caused. Plus I really don't like the idea of some company owning a gene. Like Monsanto pretty much owning the rights to all the seeds they sell and farmers can no longer save seeds if they buy from Monsanto.

    That's scary!

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    1. I just wish we would think a little more before acting. And Monsanto is a truly black company, evil to its very core.

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  4. Monsanto is definitely scary but that's because they have such control/power. I think genetic modification may be a very good tool for the future. It just depends on who has control.

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    1. Monsanto (along with Haliburton, G4S, and Barrick, to name a few others) is horrible and if they suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth we would all be better for it.

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  5. I agree with Heather. Watch the film Food, Inc. and you'll understand the control those seed companies have on farmers.

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    1. I know - I heard a whole thing about it on NPR and I was absolutely horrified. One word: evil.

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  6. OMGosh! Your last statement/question will stay with my all day long. I'm freaking out, right now. Bluck!!!

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    1. Yeah, it freaked me out, too when I heard about it!

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  7. I wish I was genetically engineered before coming to this world....

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    1. me too, but only if I got to choose how.

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  8. yeah, i know what desmond means haha---this stuff is a little too much for me :)

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  9. Love your post.

    As a farmer, I have my own opinion on the GMOs. The seed company patented the seed and like anyone who feels the product they developed belonged to them, they didn't care to have their dollars go to waste.

    Think Slinkies, Advil, and linoleum. The inventors wanted to keep what they had envisioned and created to themselves for a while without someone making a knockoff. Like China is doing with stuff now.

    The patent will run out and then us farmers will save some seed. But remember, seed grown *just* for crops and not foodstuffs IS different, more uniform. The germination is better and more consistent.

    The use of GMOs makes for bigger crops which feeds more people. Some people who are starving in Third World countries need more food not less.

    Okay, semi-rant is over.

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    1. I'll say only one thing in resposnse, Huntress: population control. This planet has all the resources we need to last forever but not if we continue to expand beyond what it can provide. At some point even GMOs won't help. And that's my rant :)

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    2. I say shoot 'em with contraceptives like they're doing the wild horses. *tongue firmly in cheek*

      Okay, semi-smart alec quip over.

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  10. Finally, a concept I fully understand (mostly), but can't say that I agree with. Like so many things there are wonderful humanitarian applications and then there's the 'dark side'. I wonder if this is something humans are ready to handle.

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    1. I completely agree. Technology is a wonderful thing and I am all for it - as long as we use the knowledge we discover for good. Because I'll wager if those goats had a say they'd just as soon no one messed with their genes.

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  11. Oh, man... I think we are playing with FIRE and it is going to backfire big time. They are already seeing that those damn pesitcides kill the BEES that are needed to pollinate everything we need to eat. I happen to think we've begun our own apocalypse this way.

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    1. We are playing with fire and it wouldn't surprise me in the least to find that we have all been hoisted by our own petard.

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  12. OK, I'm officially freaked out for the day. Of course, I'm coming back. See you tomorrow. HA HA!

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    1. Happily, tomorrow's post won't freak anyone out :)

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  13. Oh wow, you and Andrew over at StrangePegs both blogged about this topic. You guys are in sync!

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    1. I shall have to go check it out! Thanks :)

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  14. Ugh. Yep, that will haunt me for a while. Properly freaked out now. And yet, my mind is also reeling in the possibilities...

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    1. It is an interesting subject and filled with possibilities both good and bad.

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  15. Ya I have mixed feelings on this one. I dont think people should play God, yet we may be able to make medical breakthrus at the same time.

    Um, spider-goats. Wow.

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    1. I don't think we should play God until we're as wise as he is and that's not going to be for a long time.

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  16. This is why The Windup Girl freaked me out so much -- because it's happening!!!!!

    I really want them to pass a law that forces growers to reveal which crops in the stores are GMO. Crazy what's happening with our food chain right now.

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    1. That is a book I still think of from time to time.

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  17. The shape of things to come, maybe?

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  18. Based on history, I fear genetic engineering is NOT something mankind can be trusted with.

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    1. Not now anyway. Maybe some day.

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  19. GloFish look cool but spider-goats? I saw a few of those on the web. *shudders* Gross!

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  20. Great post on a very current subject. Genetic engineering freaks me out!

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  21. Nope sorry not brave enough to look up spider-goats - great entry BTW

    David

    http://britsintheus23.blogspot.com/

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  22. Genetic engineering, this one I at least can understand:) I counted sister chromatid exchanges in a lab during college. The spider-goats, just thinking about it makes me cringe. I have to look it up, though, because I have to know if it's worse (or better) then I think.

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  23. Spider-goats are an interesting development. It's a little disturbing to think about all the possible combinations--hopefully there won't be any egregious mistakes.

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  24. What are the benefits? What are the costs? Will our bodies accept genetically engineered food the same way they accept the food grown over the centuries?

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  25. these have all been great posts!
    genetic engineering scares me...
    as does cloning

    but if God allows it, so be it.
    and it mkes great sci fi fodder!

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