Science, Biotechnology, and the Pursuit of Truth Listen here: http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2001/nov/biotech/011115.biotech.html Images from www.usda.gov
What is Genetic Engineering? The use of biological entities as a tool. A subtopic of Biotechnology Any of various techniques by which recombinant DNA is produced and made to function in an organism.. gene transfer. The use of genes as designing tools in biological entities.
Transformation of Biotech through Time Ancient Times (along the Nile, etc.) Pasteurization (1864) Mendel and Modern Genetics (1865) Hybridization (1926) Discovery of DNA Structure (1953) New Crop Varieties (1980’s-today) (www.dupont.com 2002)www.dupont.com
Some examples of what GE can do.... (Mellon and Rissler 1996)
Project Looking at the outside. –Blue= seemingly endless ocean water –Boat=knowledge/discovery/ambition Operators= people actively involved in biotech. –“School of Fish”= outcomes of biotech. What is on the end of the line? What line test are YOU using??
Benefits of GE/Biotech FEED THE WORLD? Heartier Plants Healthier, Cheaper, Better tasting foods? Reduce use of toxic chemicals to control weeds and pests? Less destruction of rainforest due to cultivation? Decreased erosion do to less necessary tillage. Bio-based fuels (ethanol)
IMPACT OF BIOTECH (Matthews, Mantell, McKee 1985)
Downside to GE/Biotech “Super-weeds” “Super-bugs” Toxins and Allergens Genetic Diversity?? Contamination of non-GE plants Viruses (formation of new or gene transfer) Some family farms may suffer Non-target effects (GE is often “messy”, etc.) OTHER long-term effects on biota and environment.... THE UNKNOWN!!
Crops With Wild Relatives (Mellon and Rissler 1996)
So.....?? OR Images from http://www.clearlight.com/~tyrone/10000.htmlhttp://www.clearlight.com/~tyrone/10000.html and http://unmuseum.mus.pa.us/seasnake.htm respectively What do you see in the peephole?
Inside Project Inside the GE strawberry..... –Steel DNA strand with fish incorporated into it... Perhaps a bit unnatural eh? –Frightening??
Genesis 1:26-29 –God has given man dominion over the rest of the living creation. Psalm 8 – “ PS 8:5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. PS 8:6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: PS 8:7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, PS 8:8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas” (NIV). Genesis 2:15 –“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (NIV)
Leviticus 18 –“Leviticus 18 contains two prohibitions which might apply. We are not supposed to "defile ourselves with any beast"-- referring of course to certain Canaanite sexual practices. But surely mixing human genetic material with animal material would be the same idea? And also in Lev. 18 is one of the prohibitions against sacrificing children to Molech, which I understand to have been a practice that.... sacrifices one human life for the supposed benefit and prosperity of others. These things are forbidden by God”. -Dr. David H. Wick
James 2:1-9 –Do not show favoritism/Do not be partial Exodus 23:10 – EX 23:10 "For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, 11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove” (NIV). –Promoting sustainable Ag.??
Leviticus 25:3-4 “3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards” (NIV).
Dr. Gregg Johnson Dr. Gregg Johnson ’89 University of Minnesota Research –Gene for reduced growing season –They proposed shooting gold particles covered with DNA as the mode of incorporating the desired gene into the plant genome.
Dr. Gregg Johnson “The benefits outweigh the risks.” No pilot studies of 20-30 yrs. –We need to do the best we can to minimize risk in a reasonable amount of time. God made us inquisitive and gave us rational thought. God calls us to seek knowledge and understand the world. “God gives us insight into creation as he thinks we have the ability to be good stewards of it.” Accidental finds=God is in control
Dr. Jim Beilby Bethel College Theology Professor
Didn’t say much. “I think that Christians should, given the data I’m aware of, be very careful, but that does not mean that research should not be going on. We should be developing GE, but should also be extremely careful in our testing and evaluation.” Dr. Jim Beilby
Dr. David H. Wick “The positive feelings I have about genetic engineering derive from the basis you suggest---that God has granted man the privilege of caring for the earth and having dominion over it.” “I’ve eaten tomatoes genetically engineered to ship better, and they taste like styrofoam. I’m hoping for an advance that will produce a tomato that tastes like a tomato and still ships like an apple or potato.” GE is not the first scientific advance with unintended consequences. Antibiotics and pesticides have had them... “Yet the overall impact of antibiotics and pesticides has been positive”.
More Christian Responses “Genetic engineering opens new ways for people of compassion to help those in need. With caution and yet with great hopefulness, we welcome its development, pledging to support a climate of thoughtful reflection, public awareness, appropriate regulation, and justice in distribution” (United Church of Christ 1989) (Cole-Turner 1993). “Humans are to participate in, manage, nurture, justly distribute, employ, develop, and enhance creation’s resources in accordance with God’s revealed purposes” (United Methodist Church 1991) (Cole-Turner 1993).
Roman Catholic Positons “.... The Pope endorsed research involving animals, since they ‘are at the service of man and can hence be the object of experimentation’” (John Paul II 1982) (Cole-Turner 1993). –It seems safe to assume the same view holds true involving GE plants.
Can GE Feed the World? Image from http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/gwbbio.html “ The world also needs to begin realizing the enormous potential of biotechnology to help end hunger. The U.N. has recently reported biotechnology can dramatically improve crop yields in developing countries while using fewer pesticides and less water. We need to move forward based on sound science, to bring these benefits to the 800 million people, including 300 million children, who still suffer from hunger and malnutrition“ (www.dupont.com 2002).www.dupont.com
Can GE Feed the World? There is potential..... But not without commitment! Many third world countries have poor growing conditions, but we must get the technology to them for it to make a difference. There are some deep-seated social and cultural issues we must overcome before this will become possible on a wide-scale –Patents, economics, greed.... Etc. +Biotech and sustainable Ag. Practices?? Distribution is KEY!
So.... Who’s minding the store?? EPA –Pesticides USDA –APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) –EA (environmental assessment)
Who’s minding the store? FDA (food and drug administration) –Unexpected Effects (produces unexpected genetic effects) –Known Toxicants (has significantly higher levels of toxicants than present in other edible varieties of the same species) –Nutrients (significantly alters levels of important nutrients)
Who’s Minding the Store? –New Substances (differs significantly in composition from such substances currently found in food) –Allergenicity (contains proteins that cause allergic response) –Antibiotic Resistance Selectable Markers –Plants developed to make specialty non-food items –Issues Specific to Animal Feeds (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/bbep/bp/overview.html#2 2002)
So, What Can We Draw From This?? WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY! –We are called to care for the earth and be stewards of creation. The boat is powered by the promise of economic gain. –We have a reign anyway!! Cautious progress is the key!
Cartoon from the London Times of 1799 showing how people are percieved to react to the first smallpox vaccination. (Braun 2002)
Prime Minister Tony Blair “Responsible science and responsible policymaking operate on the precautionary principle. But that principle should make us proceed with care on the basis of fact; not fail to proceed at all on the basis of prejudice." — Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister (May 2002) ( www.dupont.com 2002) www.dupont.com Image from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/2236902.stm
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY Live in the world, work it, & care for it!
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Matthews, J. A., S. H. Mantell, R. A. McKee. 1985. Principals of plant biotechnology. Blackwell Scientific Publications. Boston, MA. Mellon, Margaret, Jane Rissler. 1996. The ecological risks of genetically engineered crops. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge, MA National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Image 10075248. [Internet] http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/images/pao/AS11/10075248.jpghttp://images.jsc.nasa.gov/images/pao/AS11/10075248.jpg (November 7, 2002). Nature. 1999. Crops that keep their genes to themselves. [Internet] http://www.nature.com/nbt/press_release/nbt0499.html (October 25, 2002).http://www.nature.com/nbt/press_release/nbt0499.html Odunze, A. C. 2002. Mulching practice in semi-arid zone of Nigeria for soil erosion control and grain yield of maize. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 31(20). Peters, Ted. 1997. Playing god?. Routledge. New York, NY. Phillips, Susan C. 1994. Genetically engineered foods. Congressional Quarterly Researcher. 1994: 675-691. Time Magazine. 2002. A new green revolution for a greener 21 st century. [Internet] http://www.whybiotech.com/index.asp?id=2081 (October 19, 2002).http://www.whybiotech.com/index.asp?id=2081 United States Department of Agriculture. 2002. Regulation of genetically engineered organisms and products. [Internet] http://www.aphis.usda.gov/bbep/bp/overview.html#2 (October 2, 2002).http://www.aphis.usda.gov/bbep/bp/overview.html#2 Wick, David H. 2002. E-mail interview.