Transgenic Organisms Presentation

Transgenic Organisms
What are “Transgenic Organisms”?
Transgenic organisms are organisms
whose genetic material has been changed
by the addition of foreign genes. This
foreign material can come from other
organisms of the same species, from a
whole different species, or synthetic
Courtesy of: The Food Standards Agency
In 1994 the first genetically
engineered food item went the
market when the FDA approved the
sale of a tomato that had been
genetically modified to stay riper
longer off the vine. This tomato was
produced using recombinant DNA
technology, and was the herald for
an age of genetically modified
foods to come.
When we think of genetic engineering, most of us probably think of
transgenics. Transgenic animals or plants are those that have genes from
other organisms added to their DNA. Already today thousands of products
come from Transgenic organisms. Everything from medicines, foods, feeds,
and fibers. One of the biggest applications (and largest debates) of
transgenics is in Agriculture. There are currently four nations involved in
growing transgenic crops. They are the United States (68%), Argentina
(23%), Canada (7%), and China (1%)
“Glowing” tobacco
plant. This is an
example of a tobacco
plant that has been
genetically engineered
with a fluorescent gene
(luciferase) that causes
it to glow.
This is a genetically
modified strain of malariaresistant mosquito which
has been created
successfully by a
The creation of mosquitoes with green
fluorescent testicles will help curb the
spread of malaria carrying mosquitoes.
South Korean scientists have successfully cloned cats via the advantage of a
technological twist that could use to make significant genetic changes in every
creature on Earth. These cats carry genes that have been altered genetically to
enable them to glow in the dark. Photos from South Korea’s Ministry of Science
and Technology show cats appear normal in visible light (left) but their skins glow
red under ultraviolet light (right). “The ability to manipulate the fluorescent protein
and use this to clone cats opens new horizons for artificially creating animals
with human illnesses linked to genetic causes.”
Researchers transfer DNA from the
long-vanished Tasmanian tiger into
a mouse. The finding shows how
lost information about species from
the past can be retrieved and also
provides a glimpse into how longgone creatures may someday get a
second chance at life.
Uses for Transgenics
-Enhances taste and
-Increases nutrients,
yields, and stress
-Improves resistance to
disease, pests, and
-Allows for new products
and growing techniques
-Increases resistance,
productivity, hardiness,
and feed efficiency
-Allows for better yields of
meat, eggs, and milk
Improves animal health
and diagnostic methods
More uses. . .
• Transgenic organisms can be used to produce proteins for people or
animals that cannot produce such proteins on their own. For
example, insulin is a protein produced by humans to break down
sugars in the bloodstream. However, some people are born without
the ability to produce their own insulin thus making it hard for them
to live. Since the advent of transgenic organisms, scientists have
been able to modify animals so that they produce insulin in large
quantities. This insulin can then be harvested, processed, and made
available to diabetics who need it.
• Another use of transgenics is to discover what certain genes do. By
taking an unknown gene from one organism and inserting it into
another organism, scientists can observe that changes that the gene
produces in the new organism thus gaining insight into what exactly
the gene does phenotypically.
Environmental use
The field of genetic engineering is especially
exciting for scientists who are attempting to
create a more superior oil-converting
bacteria. Current oil-converting bacteria pose
some problems because they cannot compete
with native microorganisms for resources and
therefore cannot be implemented easily in areas
that do not already have populations of oilconverting bacteria.
Courtesy of: The Environmental Protection Agency-Alternative
Countermeasures for Oil Spills
Dolly the sheep was the first
mammal to be cloned from the
DNA of an adult. Here she is with
her first-born lamb, Bonnie.(Roslin
Institute, Edinburgh)
• Safety - Some people say that they have a potential
human health impact in regards to: allergens, transfer of
antibiotic resistance markers, and other unknown effects
• Potential environmental impact - Unintended transfer
of modified genes through cross-pollination, unknown
effects on other organisms in the environment, and loss
of flora and fauna biodiversity
• Access and Intellectual Property - Some people fear
that transgenic food could lead to the domination of
world food production by a few companies.
Increasing dependence on Industrialized nations by
developing countries.
And "biopiracy" - the foreign exploitation of natural
More concerns
• Ethics - Is it a violation of natural organisms' intrinsic
Are we tampering with nature by mixing genes among
Does this create stress for the animal?
• Labeling - Not mandatory in some countries (e.g.,
United States).
Mixing GM crops with non-GM confounds labeling
attempts - how do we know what's been modified and
what hasn't?
• Society - New advances may be skewed to interests of
rich countries
Currently. . .
• Genetically modified organisms are already used in a
wide variety of products we consume on a daily basis.
For example, “Campbells” soup line contains genetically
modified ingredients, as does most of “General Mill's”
and “Kellogg's” cereals on the market. In fact, we have
been eating genetically modified foods since 1996
Where will we be with transgenics in 10 years?
Today, scientists are working around the clock on new transgenic
Imagine a banana that when eaten, vaccinates you against
diseases such as hepatitis B,
fruit trees that produce fruit in half the normal growing time, or
even plants that have been crossed with cold water fish so they
don't freeze in the winter, providing year round food for
developing nations.
The future of transgenic organisms is only as limited as our