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11/7/2009 Biology 11.3 Genetic Engineering in Agriculture Genetic Engineering in Agriculture.

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Presentation on theme: "11/7/2009 Biology 11.3 Genetic Engineering in Agriculture Genetic Engineering in Agriculture."— Presentation transcript:

1 11/7/2009 Biology 11.3 Genetic Engineering in Agriculture Genetic Engineering in Agriculture

2 11/7/2009 Improving Crops  Farmers began primitive genetic breeding years ago by selecting seeds from their best plants, replanting them, and gradually improving the quality of their crops over time.  Today, we use genetic engineering to select and add characteristics and modify plants by manipulating a plant’s genes.

3 11/7/2009 Improving Crops  Genetic engineering can change plants in many ways; from making plants drought resistant to making plants that can thrive in different soils, climates or environmental conditions.

4 11/7/2009 Improving Crops  Genetic engineers have developed crop plants that are resistant to a biodegradable weedkiller called glyphosate. This enables farmers to spray their fields with glyphosate, kill all the weeds off, and leaves the crops unharmed.  Half of the 72 million acres of soybeans planted in the U.S. in 2000 were genetically modified to resist glyphosate.

5 11/7/2009 Improving Crops  Scientists have also developed crops that are resistant to certain insects by inserting specific genes into plants.  This added gene makes the plants produce proteins that make the plant unacceptable to the insects for a food source.

6 11/7/2009 More Nutritious Crops  Genetic engineering has been able, in many instances, to improve the nutritional value of many crops.  For example, in Asia, rice is a major food crop. Rice however is low in iron and beta-carotene.  Genetic engineers have modified rice in these countries by adding genes which boost the levels of iron and beta-carotene to the rice plants.

7 11/7/2009 Risks of Modified Crops  Risks: Many people, including many scientists, have expressed concern that genetically modified crops (GM crops) might turn out to be dangerous. — What kind of unforeseen negative affects might we experience from the new engineered crops?  Potential problems: We have already noted that crops such as soybeans have been genetically altered to make them resistant to the weedkiller glyphosate.  Scientists are concerned that the use of glyphosate will lead to weeds that are immune to this weedkiller. Than we will need to search for a new weedkiller and alter more crops to be resistant to it.

8 11/7/2009 Risks of Modified Crops A re GM crops harmful to the environment?  Will genes introduced into crops by genetic engineering pass on to wild varieties of plants? — This type of gene flow happens all the time between related plants. — In most crops however, no closely related wild version of the plant is nearby to take up the gene changes.  Some scientists fear that insect pests may become immune (by adapting) to the toxins that are genetically engineered in some plants. — This would lead to insect strains that are harder to kill as they would be immune to the genetically produced changes that were supposed to repel them.

9 11/7/2009 Gene technology in Farm Animals  F armers have, for generations, improved their stock of animals through selection of the best and cross breeding.  Now, many farmers use genetically- engineered techniques to improve their stock or their production.  Many farmers add growth hormone to the diet of their cows to increase the amount of milk their cows produce. The cow growth hormone gene is introduced into bacteria which is than added to the cow’s food supply.  This increases the amount of milk the cow produces.  Scientists have also boosted growth in pigs by adding growth hormone genes to the food that pigs eat. These procedures lead to faster growth and higher profits for farmers.

10 11/7/2009 Making Medically Useful Proteins  Another way in which gene technology is used in animal farming is in the addition of human genes to the genes of farm animals to produce human proteins in milk.  This is used for complex human proteins that cannot be made by bacteria through gene technology.  The human proteins are extracted from the animal’s milk and sold for pharmaceutical purposes. These animals are called transgenic animals because they have human DNA in their cells.

11 11/7/2009 Making Medically Useful Proteins: Cloning  More recently, scientists have turned to cloning animals as a way of creating identical animals that can make medically useful proteins.  In cloning, the intact nucleus of an embryonic or fetal cell is placed into a new egg whose nucleus has been removed.  The egg with the new nucleus is than placed into the uterus of a surrogate mother and is allowed to develop.

12 11/7/2009 Making Medically Useful Proteins: Cloning  Cloning from Adult Animals:  In 1997, the first successful cloning using differentiated cells from an adult animal resulted in a cloned sheep named Dolly.  A differentiated cell is a cell that has become specialized to become a specific type of cell.  In Dolly’s case; a lamb was cloned from the nucleus of a mammary cell taken from an adult sheep. Scientists thought that a differentiated cell would NOT give rise to an entire animal. The cloning of Dolly successfully proved otherwise.

13 11/7/2009 Making Medically Useful Proteins: Cloning  An electric shock was used to fuse mammary cells from one sheep with egg cells without nuclei from another sheep.  The fused cells divided to form embryos, which were implanted into surrogate mothers. Only one embryo survived the cloning process.  Born July 5, 1996; Dolly was the first cloned sheep, genetically identical to the sheep that had provided the mammary cell.

14 11/7/2009 Problems with Cloning:  Since Dolly’s birth in 1996, scientists have successfully cloned several animals.  Only a few of these cloned animals survive however. Many become fatally oversized.  Others encounter problems in development. For example, three cloned calves were born in March 2001, only to die a month later from immune system failure.

15 11/7/2009 The Importance of Genomic Imprinting  Technical problems with reproductive cloning lie within a developmental process that conditions egg and sperm so that the “right combination of genes” are turned “on” or “off” during early stages of development.  When cloned offspring become adults, a different combination of genes is activated.  The process of conditioning the DNA during an early stage of development is called genomic imprinting.

16 11/7/2009 The Importance of Genomic Imprinting  In genomic imprinting, chemical changes made to DNA prevent a gene’s expression without altering it’s sequence.  Usually, a gene is locked into the “off” position by adding methyl groups to it’s cytosine nucleotides.  The bulky methyl groups prevent polymerase enzymes from reading the gene, so the gene cannot be transcribed.  Later in development, the methyl groups are removed and the gene is reactivated.

17 11/7/2009 Why Cloning Fails:  Normal vertebrae development depends on precise genomic imprinting.  This process, which takes place in adult reproductive tissue, takes months for sperm and years for eggs.  Reproductive cloning fails because the reconstituted egg begins to divide within minutes. There is simply not enough time in these few minutes for the reprogramming to process properly.

18 11/7/2009 Why Cloning Fails:  Gene keys fail to become properly methylated, and this leads to critical problems in development.  Because of these technical problems; and because of ethical problems, efforts to clone humans are illegal in most countries.

19 11/7/2009

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