Genetically Modified Animals

Topics: DNA, Genetics, Gene Pages: 6 (1220 words) Published: September 1, 2014


Week 8 Assignment: Genetically Modified Animals
Natasha Haynes
SCI115: Introduction to Biology
Professor Trinna Johnson
August 21, 2014

Genetically Modified Animals
The Biology
Genetically modified (GM) animals are the result of deliberately changing a genome through genetic engineering. The process of modifying the genetic composition of a mammal scientist starts with Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). DNA makes up the genes of all living things and by using DNA sequencing scientist are able to identify a specific gene. Each parent passes along one set of genes, each set forming on side of the two sided DNA strand. The two DNA strands are known as polynucleotides. Similarities found between species prompt scientist to research and theorize utilizing variations found during research. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) plays a part in the genetic engineering process because the RNA is a strand of nucleotides. The amount of research required to confirm the desired strand can be substantial, however once the RNA needed is identified, it can then be isolated, and replicated for further experimentation. The replication process is most commonly referred to as cloning. GM is done by taking DNA from one organism and combining it with the DNA of another organism. Scientist inserts a compatible nucleotide or protein that will generate a desired modification into the gene sequence of a fertilized egg. The new hereditary genetic information will be passed to future offspring. There are many reasons for genetically engineering changes in a multitude of species. The eldest known and most common reason is for medical advancements. As early as the 1920 animal proteins have been used as pharmaceuticals, insulin extracted from pig pancreas is one of the first examples of such a use. Animals are modified to produce proteins for extraction, purification, and therapeutic use. In 2008 the FDA approved the use of GM goats that were engineered to produce human AT in their milk; AT is protein found in the human body and needed to assist in the blood clot process. (FDA Veterinarian, 2008) Scientis and medical professionals anticipated that other biological products, will be considered for production from animals such as goats, sheeps and cows. Rats, chickens, and pigs are among the other animals that have been used in research for medical advancements. Genetic manipulation has also been utilized in order to increase the resistance of pathogens animals are susceptible to. The idea is that if viruses and bacteria that affect animals can be eliminated in animals, the risk of humans being contaminated will be reduced. An example of this theory is the sterilization of mosquitoes in certain areas of the country. Mosquitoes carry various, potentially fatal viruses that can be passed to humans. In an effort to control the population, scientist modified male mosquitoes so that they cannot reproduce. In theory the technique should eventually eradicate mosquitoes where the GM have been introduced (McKie, 2010). Implications

People are in opposition of genetic engineering on religious, ethical, or social grounds. Are the benefits of manipulating the natural process worth the risk of altering genetic codes? This is a social concern, as there is a risk that possible harmful organisms can be accidently released into the populace via inadequate measures of containment or unethical or immoral practitioners. The CDC, FDA and other agencies impose regulations to reduce the chance of an epidemic resulting from a mutation in a GM animal carrying a virus or other harmful organism. These regulations limit but do not eliminate the possibility of such an outbreak, nor do they protect from other considerable risks. One such potential risk results from the incorporation of transgenic DNA into the genomes, which could introduce a new pathogen that may coincidentally be a human pathogen as well. Not everyone is opposed to GM animals and believes that with the...


References: FDA Veterinarian. (2008). FDA Approves First Human Biologic Produced by GE Animals. Retrieved August 20, 2014, from FDA.GOV: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/FDAVeterinarianNewsletter/ucm190728.htm
McKie, R. (2010, August 7). Genetic modification: glow-in-the-dark lifesavers or mutant freaks? Retrieved August 24, 2014, from The Observer: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/aug/08/genetic-modification-robin-mckie
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