Genetically Modified Animals!

What are Genetically Modified [GM] Animals?
GM Animals are organisms whose DNA have desired traits incorporated into them.

Why do we mess with animals' genes?

Would you eat genetically modified animals if you had the choice?
Would you keep animals that have been genetically modified as pets?
Is it okay ethically to change an animal to suit our wants or needs?
Do people have the right to know that their food is genetically modified?
Would more legislation be a good thing?

  • Increased resistance, productivity, hardiness, and feed efficiency
  • Better yields of meat, eggs, and milk external image DuckEggs2.JPG
  • Improved animal health and diagnostic methods
    • to better understand human diseases
    • to create models of human diseases
    • to understand gene function
    • to test toxicity of stuff
    • Therapeutic proteins

Techniques for genetic modification
Selective Breeding:

  • Animals bred for their useful, external image puppies-in-a-wagon.jpgcommercially desired characteristics
  • problems: as most characteristics selected are controlled by many genes, whose number and action are unknown, after many generations of selection deleterious secondary effects can appear

The process in a picture:
The process in a picture:

  • Scientists add and make changes to specific genes
  • These GM animals have a gene from another organism
  • Usually, foreign DNA is injected into a fertilised egg [microinjection]
Example of transgenesis being used:
Example of transgenesis being used:

DNA targeting and inducible mutations

  • certain human diseases can be modelled by creating specific changes in both copies of a gene of interest

Genetic modification of embryonic stem (ES) cells
  • ES cells are taken from very early embryos
  • they retain the ability to form most, if not all, of the specialised cell types of the adult
  • ES cells can also be grown indefinitely in tissue culture.
  • Gene is "knocked out", so that the protein the gene was supposed to translate is not made.
external image istockphoto_4561961_dna_strands.jpg
Ethical Issues
Ethical issues: Pros:external image dbrn319l.jpg

  • more genetic diversity among animals
  • different animals can breed with other species that wouldn't be possible in nature
  • certain genes can increase the viability/fitness of animals [ex--resistance to disease]
  • commercialization of GM animals [GloFish]--better-looking pets/more entertainment/decoration
  • better nutritional value [ex--replace gene in shrimp that makes allergic proteins]

Ethical issues: Cons:

  • morally horrifying
  • messing with nature
  • GM animals could suffer abnormalities
  • could be taken as animal cruelty
  • unknown dangers environmentally [ex--GM animal + wild = ???]
  • commercialization of GM animals -- big companies can control food chain or animal's abilities, and make more money off of it because it's a fast, cheap way to make a LOT of GM organisms at a time
  • worse nutritional value from side effects of GMing.
  • animal proteins may be incorporated into carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, etc., which causes a problem for vegetarians.
    This summarizes one of the problems of genetic modification: while scientists focus only on the trait to be altered, other problems with the organism may arise.
Basically the Only Law is that:

The FDA requires that GM foods should be labeled to reveal the nutritional content. If an orange contains peanut proteins and is NOT labeled, that is bad, and the consumer of the orange is in danger if the consumer has a peanut allergy.

GloFish: Is it okay?
GloFish: Is it okay?

URL: [[|<span</span]]>

Name of Reviewer: Emily Zhang
Date of Review: 5/20/08
Review of Site:
This online report, created with the combined efforts of Professor Patrick Bateson and several others under the institution Royal Society, is a wonderfully detailed report discussing scientific issues of GM Animals, the exact topic I am searching for. Although it is slightly out of date, from May 2001, the paper gives readers a thorough definition of what GM really means. Again, as technology advances quickly, some of the information in the report may be obsolete. But most of the techniques described in this professionally formatted article are still used today, and certainly the dictionary definition of a GM animal will remain constant for a while. As a report, all the information are pure facts, with no unproved opinions. The article takes 46 pages, so it can not be a simple overview, though there is a summary in the front. The purpose is not to advertise, to persuade, nor to advocate causes, but to inform others of a scientific truth. The only fault being how out of date it is, this research report provides an excellent source I can confidently recommend this article to anyone who wishes to learn more about the topic of GM animals.

  • || Name of Reviewer: Marissa Zhao || Date of Review: May 26, 2008 ||
  • |||| Review: This source is from the institution GlaxoSmithKline. The page was last updated May 1, 2006. The source is from the point of view of GlaxoSmithKline, which states their policy for the treatment of GM animals in their care. The information is not so much as an opinion, but it does use phrases such as “Our Code of Practice […] ensures” and “We are constantly improving.” Although the purpose of this source was not to be an in-depth analysis of ethical issues, this source does explain ethical issues that the institution encounters through many people. The purpose of this source is to inform and ensure readers of their service (treating GM animals with certain care). The informing is used as the foundation of the article, telling readers that many people are against some methods of treatment for GM animals. The service being ensured is that in GlaxoSmithKline’s care, GM animals will be better sheltered. While this source outlines the ethical issues of GM animals, it does not provide detailed reasons/description about the topic. This source would be recommended for people who want to have a general idea about the societal aspects of GM animals, but not to people who are looking for a deep explanation about the subject. ||

Website URL:<span</span>
Name of Reviewer: Lea Gorodesky
Date of Review: May 27, 2008
Review of Site:
This source is a detailed fact sheet that gives information pertaining to each state about regulations on genetically engineered food. It is provided by the Center for Food and Safety, and created in May 2006. There are no biases, and all information is factual. The purpose of the information is to inform people about the regulations across the United States. I would definitely recommend this site to someone else because it was a nice way to locate information quickly, and it was put together by a reliable source.

Cites Used:<span style="color: #000000"></span></span>

Educator: Leah
Scientist: Emily Z.
Lawyer: [group]
Sociologist: Marissa