Explain how this technology works.
Genetic engineering otherwise called genetic modification and can basically be described as the ‘direct manipulation of an organism’s genome’ which is the complete set of genetic material of an animal, plant or other living thing. This direct manipulation works by using modern DNA technology. This ‘involves the introduction of foreign DNA also known as synthetic genes into the organism of interest’ or curiousity. Genetic engineering does not include traditional animal and plant breeding, in vitro fertilization, induction of polyploidy, mutagenesis and cell fusion techniques that do not use recombinant nucleic acids or a genetically modified organism in the process. Cloning and stem cell research, although not considered genetic engineering, are closely related and genetic engineering can be used within them. Synthetic biology is an emerging discipline that takes genetic engineering a step further by introducing artificially synthesized genetic material from raw materials into an organism.
Outline at least 2 advantages & disadvantages of having this technology.
•Better Taste, Nutrition and Growth Rate;
Genetically engineered crops are expected to have the capacity to grow on lands that are presently not suitable for farming. The manipulation of genes in crops is expected to improve their nutritional value as also their rate of growth. Biotechnology, the science of genetically engineering foods, can be used to impart a better taste to food’
•Pest-resistant Crops and Longer Shelf life;
Engineered seeds are resistant to pests and can survive in relatively harsh climatic conditions. Biotechnology can be used to slow down the process of food spoilage. It can thus result in fruits and vegetables that have a greater shelf life.
•Boost Positive Traits, Suppress Negative Ones;
Positive genetic engineering deals with enhancing the positive traits in an individual like increasing longevity or human capacity while negative genetic engineering deals with the suppression of negative traits in human beings like certain genetic diseases. Genetic engineering can be used to obtain a permanent cure for dreaded diseases.
•May obstruct Nutritional Value;
Genetic engineering in food involves the contamination of genes in crops. Genetically engineered crops may supersede natural weeds. They may prove to be harmful for natural plants. Undesirable genetic mutations can lead to allergies in crops. Some believe that genetic engineering in foodstuffs can obstruct their nutritional value while enhancing their taste and appearance.
•May Introduce Harmful Pathogens;
Horizontal gene transfer can give rise to new pathogens. While increasing the immunity to diseases in plants, the resistance genes may get transferred to the harmful pathogens.
•May Lead to Genetic Defects;
Gene therapy in human beings can have certain side effects. While treating one defect, the therapy may lead to another. As one cell is responsible for many characteristics, the isolation of cells responsible for a single trait is indeed difficult.
How does this biotechnology affect society? Include how Christians have responded.
Genetic engineering is an extremely controversial issue without even considering the view of religions. Genetic engineering is when genes of a living thing are altered to create a variation, often beneficial, in that species and its future descendents. However, the issue is controversial, despite the benefits, for two main reasons. Firstly, the genetic modifications of animals and plants may have unfavourable and unpredicted effects or may be dangerous. Secondly, there are religious issues against genetic engineering; is it wrong to ‘play god’ by effectively creating and changing life?
“Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?” Ecclesiastes 7:13. This question from the bible now has an...