Biomedical Sciences Research On Gene Technology (Research Paper Sample)
gene technology carries with it social and ethical implications—many of which engender personal views and discussion. select one (1) of the following biotechnology topics to write about: •genetically modified crop plants •genetically modified microorganisms •genetically modified animals •personal genomics and / or personalized medicine for humans •gene therapy write a four to six (4 to 6) page paper on your chosen topic. organize your paper into sections corresponding to the following requirements: 1.biological basis. describe the technology. discuss what it accomplishes. elaborate on the scientific principles that make this technology possible. your goal in this section of the paper is to show the instructor that you understand the underlying science behind the technology. describe how exactly the technology works. discuss the biological principles that underlie this technology. 2.social and ethical implications. without disclosing your personal view about this technology, provide an analysis of its social and ethical implications. state the ethical concerns apparent in the use of this technology. discuss the benefits and risks. your goal in this section is to look at all sides of the issue. in the next section, you will give your opinion. 3.personal viewpoint. in the previous section, your goal was to be as objective as possible, to look at all sides of the issues. in this section, your goals are to give a personal opinion about the technology and provide a justification of that opinion.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS
Genetic engineering is the modification of an organism’s genome using
biotechnology. Modification includes transfer of genes within or across species as well as
through molecular cloning. Various methods are used to manipulate the genomes. Crops
whose genes have been altered are referred to as genetically modified crops.
One method involves isolating and thereafter replicating the DNA material to produce
identical copies. The DNA material is then inserted into the organism in this case crops.
Removing genes can be done using nuclease. Genetic targeting is a method used to add,
remove or to mutations. These techniques are referred to as recombinant DNA technology
(Halford, 2003). The most common method involves shooting radiation onto the target genes
using a gene gun and has proven most successful in monocotyledons (Liang & Skinner,
Genetic engineering is performed in order to introduce traits which do not occur
naturally but are highly regarded as crucial. Such traits include; longer shelf life, resistance
to disease, adaptation to certain climate, herbicide tolerance and increased yield (Atherton,
2002). A crop could be high yielding, mature faster but be highly susceptible to disease.
Another variety of the same crop could take longer to mature while be highly resistant to
disease. The disease resistance trait is introduced to the high yielding variety thereby altering
the original structure of the crop.
There have been several concerns over genetically modified crops as is with any new
technology. Following the myths surrounding them, some countries have banned the use of
the crops with some partially accepting them while keeping their use in close observation
(Bodiguel & Cardwell, 2010). This is despite the fact that the technology has been
scientifically proven to be safe with them being equally comparable to unaltered food crops.
It is also important to note that mutation naturally occurs. The technology has been around
since the late 80s with the first commercial sale being in 1994 involving altered tomatoes to
increase shelf life.
The public seems to believe that the crops pose a health risk with some even going as far as proclaiming they cause cancer, which is completely unfounded. Several
organisations have pushed for the removal of the crops from the market to allow for further
studies. They claim that there could be long could be long term health risks which are yet to
be observed. An example is the rise of allergies in children which requires further research.
There are concerns that the altered crops will become resistant to conventional
herbicides and as a result becomes invasive (Ferry & Gatehouse, 2009). This means that these
crops could end up growing in unwanted places hence being termed as weeds. Modified
crops that are used to produce pesticides produce highly toxic pesticides and pose a risk even
before they are manufactured. Bees and butterflies may also be affected largely due to new
agricultural practises which do not require them to aid in pollination (Andow, Hilbeck, &
Tuất, 2008). The pesticides used against the GMOs also pose a risk on birds.
Cross pollination is bound to happen with conventional crops therefore causing
contamination. As a result, a new strain of the crop will be produced which could possess
unwanted traits and maybe eventually lead to the demise of the original crop. Farmers who
are affected are forced to lower their prices as their crop is no longer a pure breed.
With land suitable for farming constantly reducing and the exponential growth in
population, conventional farming methods cannot support the population. Modified crops are
designed to grow at a much faster rate. This allows for several harvest seasons. Rather than
planting once in a year, the faster maturation rate can allow for two planting seasons or even
Another concern is the impact of the modified crops on the environment and the
conventional food crops. Adoption of biotechnology has seen the reduction of pesticide use
by 550,000 tonnes and also led to reduction in greenhouse gases. Leaching as a result of
excessive pesticide use has therefore been lowered and so has the contamination of water
The yield from conventional crops is minimal compared to that of biotechnology
crops. The nutritional value is also of a higher quality as well as offering better taste. The
crop could have a gene introduced into it that enables it to produce a certain vitamin in larger
quantities as compared to the normal variety. These crops produce a much bigger harvest for
the same acreage.
Having a hefty harvest would be a waste if all of the crop was lost in the field or
before it has got to the final consumer. Tomatoes for example have been genetically altered to
increase their shelf life from the normal 15 days to up to a month. This is done by
suppressing hormones that cumulatively lead to ripening.
Global warming has led to unpredictable weather patterns. The rainy seasons are no
longer reliable. This forces farmers to come up with solutions. Irrigation is the way to go but
with the infrastructure required for irrigation being quite expensive, it is more efficient to
adapt the crops. Genetically modified crops are much better suited to adapt to these
Various varieties of maize have been produced to suit a particular set of conditions.
For example, the drought resistant maize matures in three months and is quite short in length.
Both of these qualities are adaptations to allow the crop to take advantage of the short rainy
seasons in drought prone areas in Africa.
As genetically modified crops are much easier to produce, maintain and sustain they
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