Genetically Modified Food

parsimoniouswoowooBiotechnology

Dec 11, 2012 (4 years and 9 months ago)

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Genetically Modified Food

Introduction: Genetically
modified

(changed)

(GM) foods

are foods
derived

(made)
from genetically modified
organisms.
GMO’s

have had specific changes introduced
into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. These
techniques a
re
extremely precise; specific DNA sequences are cut out from the
parent organism and new DNA sequences are
inserted

(placed inside)
.


GM foods were first put on the
food
market in the early 1990s. Typically,
genetically modified foods are plant products:
soybean, corn, canola, and cotton
seed oil. Animal products have also been developed, although as of July 2010
none are currently on the market. In 2006
,

a pig was controversially

engineered
to produce omega
-
3 fatty acids through the expression of a roundw
orm gene.

Researchers have also developed a genetically
-
modified breed of pigs that are
able to absorb plant phosphorus more efficiently, and as a consequence the
phosphorus content of their manure is reduced by as much as 60%.

Critics have objected to GM

foods on several grounds, including possible safety
issues, ecological concerns, and economic concerns raised by the fact that these
organisms are subject to intellectual property law.

Genetically Modified Organisms Benefits

GMOs can be valuable in many w
ays
.
Since the mid
-
1990s, the U.S. Department
of Agriculture has approved 63 genetically engineered (GE) crops for unrestricted
sale, including strains of corn, soybeans, cotton, potatoes, wheat, canola, and
papaya. Most of these crops have been
developed

(created)

resist insects or
fungi, while others have been engineered for specific product qualities such as
longer shelf life
; this means that the products can last longer in the supermarkets
.
Products under development include grains, field crops, fruits,

vegetables, trees,
and flowers designed to achieve desirable growing properties such as cold or
drought

(lack of water)
resistance or efficient use of nitrogen.

Proponents

(People for)
of pest
-
resistant GM crops say that the application of
GM technology
t
o our foods would

decrease
the amount of
pesticides

(chemicals
that kill pests)

used on our crops. This has beneficial impacts on the environment;
pesticides would

not runoff i
nto rivers and oceans, killing

aquatic

(water)

wildlife.


Increased crop yields

with reduced production costs (from less

need for pesticide
spraying)

can

help increase the profits

of farmers. According to ISAAA’s 2006
Review on the Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops, 90% or 9.3
million of biotech crop farmers were small
, resource
-
poor farmers from
developing countries
. This
increased income from biotech crops
could make
these farmers less poor.

S
ome people believe that genetic modification provides a solution to the problem
of global
malnutrition

(lack of food)
. Scient
ists have developed “second
gen
eration” GM plants with increased

nutritional contents. Although none of
these have yet been commercialized, several are in the pipeline for regulatory
approval. A good example will be “Golden Rice” that is rich in pro
-
vitami
n

A. The
W
orld
H
ealth
O
rganization

estimates that up to half a million children go blind
each year because of vitamin A deficiency. Wit
h this in mind, some people see

“Golden Rice” as having the potential of reducing childhood blindness in
developing count
ries.













Traditional White Rice vs Golden
Rice

Genetically Modified Organisms
Risks

New
Allergens

(An item that causes an allergy, like
dog hair)

in the Food Supply
:

GMO

crops could
bring new allergens into foods that sensitive individuals
would not know to avoid. An example is tran
sferring
the gene for one of the many allergenic proteins found
in milk into vegetables like carrots. Mothers who know
to avoid giving their sensitive children milk would not
know to avoid giving them
GMO
carrots containing milk proteins. The problem is
un
ique to genetic engineering because it alone can transfer proteins across
species boundaries into completely unrelated organisms.

Increased Weediness
: One way of thinking generally about the environmental
harm that genetically engineered plants might do i
s to consider that they might
become weeds. Here, weeds mean all plants
in places where humans do not want them.
The term covers everything from Johnson
grass choking crops in fields to kudzu
blanketing trees to melaleuca trees invading
the Everglades. In
each case, the plants are
growing unaided by humans in places where
they are
not wanted
. In agriculture, weeds can
severely
inhibit

(decrease)

crop yield. In
unmanaged environments, like the Everglades,
invading trees can
displace

(cause to move)

natural
f
lora

(plants)

and upset whole
ecosystems.

Poisoned Wildlife
:

Addition of foreign genes to plants could also have serious

consequences for wildlife.
For example, engineering crop plants, such as
tobacco or rice, to produce plastics or
pharmaceuticals

(medic
ines)

could
endanger mice or deer who consume crop debris left in the fields after harvesting.
Fish that have been engineered to contain
metal
-
sequestering

(holding metal
within their bodies)

proteins (such fish have been suggested as living pollution
clea
n
-
up devices) could be harmful if
consumed

(eaten)
by other fish or raccoons.






Discussion Questions for Higher Level Thinking

1)
What is genetic engineering?

2)
Do you think genetic engineering is a good thing?

3)
What are people worried about who oppo
se genetic engineering?

4)
Do you worry about eating GM (genetically modified) food?

5)
Do you think genetically modified food could harm the ecosystems of the areas
in which they grow?

6)
What do you know / think about the Oncomouse


the mouse specially
modified to help in cancer research?

7)
Do you think it’s essential to modify genes to create new medicines?

8)
Scientists can genetically engineer fruit to contain vaccines at a very

low cost


Is this a good idea?

9)
What do you think about cloning?

10)
Would you like to see a cloned version of yourself?


1)
What do you know about genes?

2)
Do you think genetic engineering is playing God and that we should leave life
as it was created?

3)
What do you think of the idea of genetically engineering new bodily

organs to
replace yours when you are old?

4)
What do you think would happen if a GM crop or animal started causing major
harm to the environment / us?

5)
Genetic engineering might allow parents to ‘design’ their children before their
birth


What do you t
hink of this?

6)
Should genetic engineering go ahead to eliminate human flaws, such as
violence, jealousy, hate, etc?

7)
What if scientists create a monster human?

8)
What do you understand by the term ‘genetic aristocracy’?

9)
If someone’s genes are chang
ed a lot, are they the same person?

10)
Does the government have the right to limit how far we modify ourselves?








Case Study:
OncoMouse

The
OncoMouse

or
Harvard mouse

is a type of laboratory mouse that has been
genetically modified using modification
s designed by Philip Leder and Timothy A Stewart
of Harvard University to carry a specific gene called an activated oncogene. The
activated oncogene significantly increases the mouse’s

susceptibility

(chances of getting)

to cancer, and thus makes the mouse

suitable for cancer research. The rights to the
invention are owned by DuPont. "OncoMouse" is a registered trademark.










Case Study:
The Glofish


The
GloFish

is a
patented

brand of
genetically modified

(GM) fluorescent
zebrafish

with
bright red, green, and orange
fluorescent

color. Although not originally developed for the
ornamental fish trade, it is the first genetically
modified animal to become publicly available as
a
pet
.


The original zebrafish (
Danio rerio
) from which
the GloFish was developed is a native of rivers
in
India

and
Bangladesh
. It measures three
centimeters long and has gold and dark blue
stripes. Over 200 million have been sold in the
last 50 years in the United States ornamental
fish market. Despite the number of zebrafish
sold, they have neve
r established any wild populations in the United States, primarily
because they are tropical fish, unable to survive in the
temperate

North American

climate.


In 1999, Dr. Zhiyuan Gong and his colleagues at the
National University of Singapore

were

working with a gene called
green fluorescent protein

(GFP), originally extracted
from a
jellyfish
, that naturally produced bright green
bioluminescence
. They inserted the
gene into a zebrafish embryo, allowing it to integrate into the zebrafish's
genome
, which
caused the fish to be brightly fluorescent under both natural white light and ultraviolet
light. Their goal was to develop a fish that could detect
pollution

by selectively
fluorescing in the presence of
environmental

toxin
s
. The development of the constantly
fluorescing fish was the first step in this process. Shortly thereafter, his team developed
a line of red fluorescent zebra fish by adding a gene from a sea
coral
, and yellow
fluorescent zebra fish, by adding a variant of the jellyfish gene.




A s
train of mice used for cancer research, called
Oncomouse, was the first mammal to be
patented.



Genetically Modified Food Overview


1) Pick one of the italicized words in this segment. Write the word below,
define the word, and use the word in another sentence
(do not use the
sentence given in the article!)


Word: ______________

Definition: ______________________________________________________________

Sentence: ______________________________________________________________

______________________________________
________________________________


2) In the simplest terms, how do you genetically modify food?



3) Did you have any idea that you eat genetically modified food all the time? Explain.




Genetically Modified
Organisms Benefits


1) Pick one of the italiciz
ed words in this segment. Write the word below, define the word,
and use the word in another sentence (do not use the sentence given in the article!)


Word: ______________

Definition: ______________________________________________________________

Sentence:

______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________


2)
At least three advantages were given on the benefits of genetically modifying
organisms. Below, list three advantages

of GMO’s.



-



-



-



3) Would you eat golden rice? Why/why not?













Genetically Modified
Organisms Risks


1) Pick one of the italicized words in this segment. Write the
word below, define the word, and use the word in another
sentence (do no
t use the sentence given in the article!)


Word: ______________

Definition: ______________________________________________________________

Sentence: ______________________________________________________________

____________________________________________
__________________________



2) At least three disadvantages/risks were given on genetically modifying organisms.
Below, list three disadvantages of GMO’s.



-



-



-


3)
Why do farmers dislike weeds? Explain.





Case Study: Oncomouse


1) How is the on
comouse used in labs?



2)
Do you believe that mammals should be used in human medical research? Explain.





Case Study: Glofish


1) How was the glofish created?




2) Would you want to own a glofish? Why/why not?









Genetically Modifying Organisms:

Let the Critical Thinking Begin!


Directions:
Answer the questions below using complete sentences and an immense
amount of brain power!


1)

Do you think genetic engineering is a good thing? Explain using evidence from this
assignment.














2)
Gene
tic engineering might allow parents to ‘design’ their children before their birth. Do
you agree or disagree with this idea?














3)
Do you worry about eating genetically modified foods? Explain.