Genetically Modified Microorganisms
Organisms that have been genetically modified include microorganisms such as fish, insects, yeast, plants, and animals. Genetically modified organisms are widely used in scientific research which helps produce goods and foods, known also as genetically modified foods (Starr/Evers/Starr, 2013). Genetically modified organisms or genetically modified microorganisms are engineered through science by the process known as genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is the manipulation of genes, implying that the process is outside the organism’s reproductive process. This is done by the genetic engineering of splicing genes together.
Splicing genes together is done by the researchers of a certain area of study employing genetic engineering to take certain genes from a source organism and put them into another plant or animal. An example of genetic engineering is when a scientist takes a Bacillus Thuringiensis organism, a commonly occurring soil bacteria, and use enzymes to remove from it the Bt gene. The Bt gene produces a protein that turns toxic in the digestive tract of caterpillars. The Bt gene is then spliced and then incorporated into the chromosome organism of a cotton or corn plant.
The end result is a plant with a natural pesticide that kills any caterpillar that decides to feed upon these genetically modified and genetically engineered plants (Starr/Evers/Starr, 2013). Another section of genetic engineering is gene transfer. Gene transfer is done when a scientist is transferring of genes between species and amino acid sequences of polypeptides are then changed because genetic code is then universal. Gene transfer is done by removing the plasmid from the bacterium and the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is cut by a restriction enzyme.
Next the foreign deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is then cut with the same enzyme and then the foreign deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is now inserted into the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of the plasmid which is now known as a combined plasmid. The combined plasmid is then reinserted into the bacterium. The bacterium is used to insert the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) carrying the foreign gene into the chromosome of a cell or protein. The cells or the protein are then grown in a lab in a culture, which could be anything such as a test tube or a petri dish for a period of time.
Now the plant or protein is generated from a cell clone. Now all of the cells carry the foreign gene and may express it as a new trait. Within the study of science gene transfer is mainly used to help cure viruses, inherited diseases, cancer, and infectious diseases such as AIDS (Eliash1988, 2007). Another section within genetic engineering having to deal with genetically modified organisms and genetically modified microorganisms is known as cloning. Cloning is the creation of an organism that is an exact genetic copy of another. This means that every single bit of DNA is the same between the two.
The first well known subject and successful cloning was known as Dolly the sheep in 1997, but cloning technology has been around way longer than dolly. Cloning is also known as the process of nuclear transplantation or the transplantation of a nucleus of one organism. To make Dolly, researchers isolated a somatic cell from an adult female sheep. Next, they transferred the nucleus, an enclosed compartment that contains all the information that cells need to form an organism, from that cell to an egg cell from which the nucleus had been removed.
After a couple of chemical tweaks, the egg cell, with its new nucleus, was behaving just like a freshly fertilized zygote. It developed into an embryo, which was implanted into a surrogate mother and carried to term. A somatic cell is any cell in the body other than the two types of reproductive cells, sperm and egg. Sperm and egg are also called germ cells. In mammals, every somatic cell has two complete sets of chromosomes, whereas the germ cells only have one complete set (Rott, 2013). Another section of genetic engineering which takes part due to cloning is called Therapeutic Cloning.
Therapeutic Cloning is the production of embryonic stem cells for use in replacing or repairing tissues or organs. Therapeutic cloning is achieved by transferring a diploid nucleus from a body cell into an egg whose nucleus that has been removed. The stem cells are harvested from blastocyst that develops from the egg, which, if implanted into a uterus could produce a clone of the nucleus donor. Therapeutic cloning is used for extreme cases were self-transplants are needed, as well as Leukemia, degenerative diseases, extreme cases of spinal cord repair, and skin grafts for burn victims (Mcgill, 2007).
Some benefits of genetic engineering with genetically modified organisms and genetically modified microorganisms are with these processes we can make beer use of our limited farm land by generating and creating higher yielding crops. With this it also helps generate a higher profit and saves a major amount of money spent on harvests. Another use of genetically modified organisms and genetically modified microorganisms is we can also create more food that has a longer shelf life and which can in turn can help by producing less waste.
We can also produce and create a better quality of food that has better taste. We can also reduce a produces maturation time to help generate more food in a less amount of time (Philips, 2008). Some risks that are involved with genetic engineering, genetically modified organisms, and genetically modified microorganisms are the potential for human health implications that come from the food we genetically engineer and create. Everything we eat goes through our body and into our bloodstream and it is unknown to were the mass of the potential risks we cause ourselves with the food we eat.
There are also concerns for potential environmental impact issues such as out-crossing. With the process of genetic engineering and the creation of our plants and food we have made to create their own personal pesticides we have created the inevitable out-crossing of transgenic plants with naturally occurring ones. By doing this we have created such problems as the super weed which is almost impossible to kill without destroying everything near it or taking such matters as digging the plant up and burning it.
Other issues that can be caused are political and economic issues such as their being a company that has the production of food that is the domination of the world’s food production. There are now only a few big companies that develop massively and generate the world’s food by genetically engineered plants and produce. There are also only a few countries that use such means to develop food due to the health risks involved by eating genetically engineered foods. For example the U. S. does not have a law that makes it a requirement to label such foods as genetically engineered foods.
Another concern that is brought with genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms are the ones that come from tampering with Mother Nature such as cross mixing animal genes to create bigger and stronger ones. Some call it playing god. Lastly the things most of us have to worry about are the weapons created by using genetic engineering such as biological weapons. With the advancements of science and chemicals only the imagination could limit the possibilities of the weapons that could be created to use against us or others (McPhersson, 2008).
In my personal opinion I feel that we need to really regulate what we do with genetically modified microorganism and genetically modified organisms through genetic engineering. We really need to study and watch the health risks that come from us genetically modifying the produce and plants we eat. Same goes for the animals we slaughter. I feel companies are out to make the most money and are only looking at their own benefit by producing more to sell more. The health risks we have caused ourselves are just too great. We are already the country that contains the most obese people in it.
Why make things worse. On that note, I do feel we need to keep or advancements and keep pushing forward on creating more ways to heal people with diseases and that have hade damage done to their bodies through disasters ad accidents. References Mcgill, J. (July 2007) Therapeutic Cloning: Promises and Issues. Retrieved From: http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC2323472/ McPhersson, J. (2008-08-24) Effects of Genetic Engineering. Retrieved From: http://www. disabled-world. com/artman/publish/genetic-engineering. shtml Eliash1988. (January 20, 2007) Genetic Transfer – Part 1.
Retrieved From: http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=t4i0Q_irM8o Philips, T. (2008) Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Transgenic Crops and Recombinant DNA Technology. Retrived From: http://www. nature. com/scitable/topicpage/genetically-modified-organisms-gmos-transgenic-crops-and-732 Rott, D. (January 21, 2013). IB Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology Part 2. Retrieved From: http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=ltFl491UeJY Lisa Starr/Christine Evers/Cecie Starr. (2013). BIOLOGY TODAY AND TOMORROW WITHOUT PHYSIOLOGY, Fourth Edition Strayer University