Name: ____________________________________ Date: ______________ Period: _______ WebQuest: Genetically Modified Organisms Changing a specific gene in an organism through a process called genetic engineering was science fiction just two decades ago. Now it is common in both simple and complex organisms. Organisms with a new gene engineered into their genome are called transgenics or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If the GMO is a food item, the name used is genetically modified foods or GM foods. The purpose of this exploration is to find out if GM foods and other organisms are a benefit to the world or a risk of genetic disaster not worth taking. 1. Visit the Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism (contrary to what some teachers tell you, Wikipedia is a valuable and reliable internet resource, especially for science). Define GMO: 2. GloFish are novelty pets that glow various colors under UV light. Surprisingly, the technology behind this silly gimmick earned three scientists the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008. List the three scientists, tell where the glow protein (called green fluorescent protein or GFP) was originally from and describe what useful research purpose has been discovered for the glow protein GFP. Visit http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081008100616.htm to find this information. Names of the 3 scientists: In what organism was the GFP gene found? Scientific use for GFP (hint GloFish application was not Nobel Prize worthy): 3. Go to another Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food . List three GM foods that you have likely eaten in your lifetime. Continue on the back 4. Go to the web page http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php and scroll down to “What are the advantages of GM foods?” Fill out the chart below by placing an advantage into each column based on whether the modification is for profit or for human benefit (there are 8 total; two boxes in the chart will remain blank). Add a specific example organism for each category you listed so that the boxes have two lines like this: Phytoremediation Example: transgenic tobacco removes explosives residue Find your own examples for each category. The Wiki page from the previous question is useful for this, too. Improvement to make food cheaper Improvements to benefit human health Example: Example: Example: Example: Example: Example: Example: Example: Example: Example: 5. Read the section on “What are some of the criticisms against GM foods?” on the CSA page and “Controversy” on the GMO Wikipedia page (first link on the front.). Then write at least two paragraphs, one summarizing the environmental hazards, and one summarizing the human health risks. Environmental Hazards Human health risks Final Note: essentially NONE of the hazards and risks featured in the above sources has become a widespread problem anywhere in the world. Theoretically all are possible, but none have become reality yet.