SCIENCE ACROSS THE W
Talking about Genetics around the World
(with international dialling code)
Web address of school
We understand that your cla
ss is working on ‘Talking about
Genetics around the World’. We would like to exchange
information on attitudes towards genetic modification. Our
students are looking forward to hearing from your class.
(with international dialling code)
Web address of school
Dr Peter Morgan
135 Barkers Road
+61 3 9854 5411
Part 1 What do we mean by genetic modification?
1. This is what genes and DNA mean to us.
DNA and genes are the building blocks of nature. As science ge
ts more advanced, ways to
manipulate these building blocks are becoming available.
DNA is nucleic acid consisting of large molecules shaped like a double helix; associated with the
transmission of genetic information
Nucleus contains chromosomes.
We have 46 chromosomes. They can be found in a strand of
DNA or a DNA Double Helix. We carry genes in the DNA and each gene is like a file with our
characteristics. We can mutate a gene by taking a gene from another family DNA strand and
place it in the fi
We got our knowledge from the following sources.
Teachers, texts and class work.
2. These are the ‘old style’ biotechnology or breeding examples that
we see or
use locally, and nationally.
We found a product call Yakult, which is made using ‘old style’ style biotechnology.
Its web site is
Prawn breeding progams
is an importa
nt old style Biotechnology much loved by
. Most people in Victoria
drink Victoria Bitter not Castlemaine xxxx.
Breeding Sheep for specific traits eg
Part 2 How does genetic modification affect our lives?
These are the main areas of GM technology, and research and development taking
place in our own locality and country.
In New Zealand across the Tasman Sean there are three main fields of genetic
modification research; animals, plants and medicines. Animal experiments have included work
on cattle, sheep, salmon, possum control, wasp control and stoats while plant experim
been conducted on potatoes, peas, apples and kiwifruit, tamarillos, flowers, pine trees and white
clover. The majority of anti
genetic modification groups have not protested against laboratory
experiments in this area, which have resulted in drug
s and vaccines for conditions including
diabetes, haemophilia, cystic fibrosis, breast cancer, infertility and Gaucher disease.
In Australia the main a
reas of research and development are making so
called ‘super crops’, which are not
susceptible to attacking from insects and other damaging causes. The tastes of the crops are being
enhanced, and the possibilities of the integration of different crops to c
ombine and make a new crop are
Also the research of various animals, such as cows and mice, is being undertaken to both make a super
animal, which can perform tasks, which will have a personal benefit to today’s society, and also enhance
their own lives. Some research on mice is to study behavioural patterns, adding various substances which
have the possibility to cure diseases which have hindered the lives of both animals and humans for ages.
These are the people who are doing this work.
,who are an agency of the Australian Government,
A range of Universities and Research institutes such as
Victoria Institute of Biotechnology
Companies such as
and a large range of other countries mainly in the Agriculture sector see the
Australian Biotechnology Industry index
One we found interesting was the efforts of
to make a Blue carnation
5. We think these are the benefits and the disadvantages of this work.
t know what we are eating
More easily grown
Not proven safe over time
May harm the environment
Will affect farmers income
Shouldn’t mess with nature
Super Big Chickens with
Deformed unhealthy Chi
Drumsticks the size of baseball bats
We think that there are definite advantages to this work. The research being undertaken
has endless possibilities. It could hold possibilities for the cure of “incurable” diseases,
enhance the taste of our food,
and provide an overall better quality of life. However,
these possibilities can only be realised if the research being done is performed
properly. If not, the consequences could be fatal. Before releasing any genetically
modified product onto the market,
it is of paramount importance that the developers are
aware of any side effects that their products may cause, and make certain that if there
are risks involved in consuming the food they release, or if undertaking treatment using
a concocted medicine that
the product never to see the light of day.
Part 3 Addressing the issues and concerns, with a focus on GM crops food and the
6. These are the main crops that are grown in our own locality, and in our country.
Wheat, potato, corn,
Are GM foods being sold in Australia?
Some of the packaged foods in supermarkets contain GM ingredients derive
d from approved GM commodity crops
of cotton, corn, canola, soybean, sugar beet and potato. They appear as ingredients in many foods.
considered a food because the oil can be consumed
is the only GM food commodity approved to be
wn in Australia. The other GM commodities are imported.
No fresh GM vegetables, fruit, meat, fish or other agricultural products are sold in Australia.
Our country imports, and exports the following GM foods.
All over the world for medi
In Trials only
As part of Australia's bet each way, it is as quietly as possible carrying out scientific trials into a wide
range of genetically engineered crops and products across the country. Potatoes, can
tomatoes, clover, field peas, carnations, cotton, wheat, barley, tobacco, baker's yeast, fowlpox virus,
Indian mustard, apples, sugarcane and pineapples are all involved. Trials have also involved pigs and
These are the regulations f
or growing GM crops in our country.
Currently, a GM plant needs to be approved for trial by the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee
(GMAC) and the Federal Government's Interim Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (IOGTR).
Must be Fully labelled b
efore sale in Australia
ANZFA Food standards
Must be approved by the Federal Government so an environmental disaster does not occur.
8. These are the GM foods and food additives, which are sold in our country.
Corn , Soybean
These foods and additives are identified in the following ways.
10. We have
included samples of labels.
Here are the opinions of local people about GM foods.
Most have been taken from the Internet. A few are comments from Students or their families.
“GM is really the only way to fe
ed a growing population on a planet that is becoming less efficient”
“ The positives out weigh the negatives”
“GM foods can be used to feed starving people in Africa” “
The Media has different angles about GM food. It leans slightly Against GM food thou
believes that GM foods are a good way of beneficial foods they may be produced and
sold cheaper than normal foods, which don’t have the same beneficiaries of GM foods.
believes that people should not eat GM foods a
term effects have not yet been tested or discovered.
We do not know what effects these foods have on the human body after a long period of usage.
This is how the media presents GM foods in our country.
The media dislike the GM manufacturing
in Australia as they have portrayed over the news and current
affairs. Majority of the media take the same stance as “Elizabeth Taylor”. An example of product
advertising through media is that of Vegemite, which states it, has no Genetic modification. Thi
s just goes
to prove that companies believe can use the fact that the have no GM as a marketing scheme.
Results of a
suggest Australians don’t care too much GM food.
included examples of positive and
negative media coverage.
Thank God for this research. Modifying the building blocks of life is an abomination. I live on wild
picked roots, nuts and berries.
This is the only way forward
for humanity. Changing the DNA, the building blocks of life, has led directly to global overpopulation
and the degradation of the natural world. For centuries our forebears have been crossing DNA from one species to another to s
manipulate the nat
ural order. Man has created tomatoes as big as tennis balls and corn cobs as big as your hand. Sure, there is
abundance of food but this food is the result of humans interfering with nature. From tomatoes, potatoes and corn, to soy, co
Every time we cultivate and consume these we accept the notion that it is okay to tamper with DNA. God created wild
foods, and He created bees, the wind and other Natural pollinators to mix DNA from different species. Man has no right to int
process. Go natural. Reject all modern foods. Reject all foods that have been bred by humans. Don't believe the lie that gene
modification of food is a modern problem. Eat only wild foods and many of the world's problems will be automatically solved.
The Age Opinion Section
Political leaders are supposed to go to United Nations summits, but not many are at this week's world environment summit
not much will happen. The world's leading green groups are blaming governments for thi
s state of affairs, but they have themselves to
blame, for they are ignoring the interests of developing countries, without whose support international solutions are impract
What is going wrong? Western environmental non
governmental organisations (
Greenpeace, Worldwide Fund for Nature
and Friends of the Earth
drive the global environmental agenda. Their problem is that they are not fundamentally interested in
improving economic welfare in the developing world. To them "sustainable develop
ment" means giving priority to the environment
over everything else.
When western European governments suggested the UN hold a world environment summit in 1992, the developing countries agreed
to go along only on condition that it was a UN Conference on En
vironment and Development. At the summit, held in Rio de Janeiro,
they went along with the Climate Change Convention only because they were offered aid and given guarantees that developing
countries would not have to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases an
d on condition that desertification in Africa was added to the
global environment agenda.
Developing countries have known for years that the ENGOs give priority to problems that interest Western environmentalists (c
greenhouse gases, restoring the oz
one layer, restricting use of heavy metals, banning genetic modification of plants and saving whales)
and pay little attention to the environmental priorities of developing country governments (undrinkable water, polluted air a
city rubbish tips).
The Age Newspaper