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NOTES 26 – Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering

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1 NOTES 26 – Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering

2 What is biotechnology? Biotechnology – the use of organisms and their genetics in industry to make products EX. Insulin medicine for people with insulin-dependent diabetes is produced using bacteria

3 Genetic Engineering – making changes in the DNA of an organism to produce new traits in that organism EX. Inserting a gene into a tomato plant that slows the ripening process

4 How is genetic engineering possible?
Because all living organisms have DNA, by moving DNA from one organism to another, it is possible to transfer traits from one organism to another Genetic engineers use plasmids and restriction enzymes as tools to change an organism’s DNA

5 Plasmid – a small, circular piece of DNA found in some bacteria that can be used to carry DNA from one organism to another Restriction Enzymes – proteins used to “cut” DNA in specific places


7 How is a gene from one organism moved into another organism?
Scientists identify the gene in an organism that is responsible for the specific trait they want to put into the new organism Restriction enzymes are used to cut the gene out of the DNA strand and to cut open a plasmid from a bacteria cell

8 The cut out gene is inserted into the plasmid (gene splicing)
Recombinant DNA – DNA produced by combining DNA from different organisms

9 Transformation - The recombinant DNA plasmid is inserted into an embryonic cell of the organism that is going to get the new trait If the process works, the cell will make the DNA plasmid a part of its own DNA and the newly introduced foreign gene will begin making its protein and causing a new trait When the original cell divides, it copies the foreign gene along with its own DNA so the organism that develops from the original cell has a copy of the new gene in all of its cells

10 What is a transgenic organism?
Transgenic Organisms – organisms that have genes from organisms of other species

11 Transgenic bacteria are used to produce human insulin for diabetes, clotting factor for people with blood clotting disorders like hemophilia, and human growth hormone EX. The human gene responsible for insulin production is cut from human DNA and inserted into a plasmid to make recombinant DNA. The recombinant DNA is inserted into bacteria cells which are transformed and begin producing insulin.


13 Transgenic mice have been produced with human genes that make their immune systems similar to humans which allows scientists to study the affects of disease on human immune systems Transgenic cows have been produced with extra copies of growth hormone genes that make them grow faster

14 Transgenic plants have been produced that contain genes which produce natural insecticides (insect-killing chemicals), or are resistant to weed-killing chemicals, or have better flavor or texture

15 F.D.A. Approves Drug From Gene-Altered Goats (from New York Times 2/6/09)
“…the Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first drug produced by livestock that have been given a human gene.”

16 What is genetically modified food and is it good or bad?
Genetically Modified Food (GMF) – food changed through biotechnology (sometimes seen as GMO, which means genetically modified organism) Genetically modified food has only been around since 1992, so the long term health effects of eating GMF’s are not well studied Right now there are no labeling laws requiring a company to let you know if their product has been genetically modified

17 Examples of GMFs Soybeans modified to resist weed-killing chemicals (herbicides) A herbicide resistant gene is taken from a bacteria and inserted into the soy plant Allows farmers to spray high doses of weed-killing chemicals on soy fields without harming the soy plants 89% of soy grown in the US is GMF A company called Monsanto makes both the herbicide resistant soy plants AND the herbicide they are resistant to (Roundup)

18 But I don’t eat soy… “…the ubiquity of soybean derivatives as food additives in the modern American diet virtually ensures that all U.S. consumers have been exposed to GM food products.” from 60% of all US corn is GM Try finding a processed food product that does not contain corn or soy

19 Doritos Ingredient List

20 What about McDonald’s?

21 Some Brands That May Contain GM Ingredients:
Mazola Crisco Heinz Kraft Peter Pan & Skippy Eggo Lean Cuisine Progresso Chef Boyardee Campbell’s Soups Oreos Ritz Teddy Grahams Triscuit Wheat Thins Keebler Hostess Frito Lay Lipton Aunt Jemima Betty Crocker Pillsbury General Mills Kellogg’s Coca-Cola Pepsi Gatorade Kool Aid

22 There are many pros and cons to the GMF issue
Produce more food on less land Can eliminate the need for chemical pesticides May someday be an inexpensive source of medicines, fuels, and plastics Long-term health effects of eating GMFs is unknown GM crops could pose a risk to the environment Hard to stop GM crops from mixing with non-GM crops

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