Year 10 Quantum Science 2011: Genetics Practical Brendan Keller-Tuberg

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Dec 11, 2012 (4 years and 11 months ago)

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Year 10 Quantum Science 2011:

Genetics Practical

Brendan Keller
-
Tuberg



Genetic engineering, as many people would say, is a technological revolution. It gives the
human race the power to change nature itself: undesirable characteristics of any organism
ca
n be changed and modified at will, any organism can be cloned, and many human
diseases can be cured. However, others will say that genetic engineering is an example of
humanity taking science too far: when scientists genetically modify an organism, they ar
e
modifying nature itself.
So, is genetic engineering right or wrong? Are there any other
reasons to stop genetic engineering?

Finally, l
ogically, is genetic engineering good or
bad for the human race?


Every organism on the planet has their individual DN
A in each cell of the organism.
The
DNA in an organism is the ‘blueprint’ for the organism: inside DNA is information about
the organism’s appearance, personality, and more. Because DNA as a whole determines
all of the organism’s features, the DNA can be s
plit into individual segments which deal
with individual aspects of the organisms. These segments are called genes.

Molecular
biologists, while researching and learning about genes, discovered many different
enzymes which change the structure of the DNA in

a living organism. Some of these
enzymes can also break and join together individual genes into the DNA. Therefore, it is
with these enzymes that scientists can change a living organism’s DNA. The scientists,
when genetically modifying an organism, will f
irst identify the individual gene in the
DNA which they want to change. Using the correct enzyme, they cut this gene off from
the DNA. Next, they will look for the gene they desire in another organism, and again
will cut the gene from the second organism.
Finally, they will splice the desired gene in
to the place where the unwanted gene was cut off. The organism has now been
genetically engineered.


Genetic engineering and modification is a
hard technology to deem as ‘right’ or ‘wrong
.’
This is due to many
positives and negatives of genetic engineering. Many people
automatically decide that genetic modification is not right because it ‘changes nature’s
blueprint.’

As a result of this harshness towards genetically modified food, these types of
foods are banne
d in many countries, making genetically modified food hard to obtain in
most parts of Europe, Australia and America.

To properly and logically argue this subject,
it is important to look past this idea, and find other logical arguments.


As well as the obv
ious scientific advancements that come with genetic engineering, there
are many benefits in

other

areas of the world. Genetic engineering can directly affect the
economic,
medical
, and social aspects of someone’s life.

Many genetic modifications to
differe
nt foods have a positive effect on the economy. The most common change to
organisms mass
-
grown comes in the form of resistance to

many different environments
.
Many foods like potato, squash or wheat have been changed so that
they can withstand
storms, temp
erature extremes, and even insects and diseases.

Corn has even been
modified to produce a poison to stop insects from eating from it.

As a result, genetic
engineering can help the economy by increasing the productivity of lands, stopping use of
insecticide
s and chemicals on
food, reducing

the cost of modified food, and
enhancing
the efficiency of a small piece of land.


Genetic engineering also can significantly increase medicine and health in the modern
world. Because a ‘bad’ gene can be spliced out of the

DNA and be replaced with a better
gene, mutated or defective genes in a human’s DNA could be replaced with working
gene, thus fixing the person’s ailment. Genetic changes such as this in the human body
could cure partial paralysation or diseases like poli
o
. This same technology could even be
used to change a person’s hair or eye colour at will. Genetic modification of certain foods
could lead to foods with higher nutritional value, to improve people’s health and
consumption of nutrients.

Genetic manipulati
on could also lead to less harmful cigarettes,
food that naturally spoils slower than usual, and even a genetic increase of the average
human lifespan.
All of these possibilities within the use of genetic modification could
significantly increase the quali
ty of medicine around the world. However, before these
medical advancements can be made, scientists need to further research into genetic
engineering to ensure the safety of the changes in the DNA.


However, even t
hough there are good aspects
of genetic e
ngineering,
some dangerous
and unknown aspects of the technology involve
d make it quite controversial.

Greenpeace
Australia comments that “
The risks are enormous and the consequences potentially
catastrophic, and yet the new technology is being rapidly int
roduced into every aspect of
our lives with little regard for safety
.”
1

The only main problem

with genetic engineering
is that scientists do not yet know enough about how to safely change genes within the
DNA structure

in the food, where a lot of genetic m
odification takes place
. In past
experiments with modified foods
, many problems have aroused with the

‘improved’ food
.
Effects of the changes in the DNA include
increased toxins in the food, and increased
percentages of allergic reactions to the food. As w
ell as this, for unknown reasons, many
people who sampled the genetically modified food became partially paralysed or
temporarily disabled.
This is obviously very bad, and a good reason for countries to ban
genetically modified food.

When scientists know m
ore about the nature and role of each
individual gene in the DNA,

and the affects of changing it or replacing it with something
else,

which is practically inevitable in the future,

genetically modifying food and selling
it to the public will be a much safe
r and more accepted occurrence.


In conclusion, the logical answer to the question initially preposed is that
, there are more
logical reasons for genetic engineering to continue. The only logical argument against
it
is that not enough is known on the subje
ct to safely implement, but surely, with enough
continuing research into the future, this argument will be useless and unrelated. Genetic
engineering is a logical step forward in the world of science, and an important one.
Science, along with the world, wi
ll continue to move forward and learn more through the
technology developed in genetic engineering,

as it always has and will.






1

The Problem,
http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/issues/GE/overview/problem

20/5/11

Bibliography



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Accessed on 22/5/11


Genetic Engineering: Manipulating the mechanisms of life, Ross Hodge
, Facts on File,
New York, 2009


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Accessed on
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Genetic Engineering: The Controversy, author unknown, (online)
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Accessed on 20/5/11


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Accessed on
22/5/11


The Problem, author unknown, (online)
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A
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