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The Benefits And Hazards Of Gene Technology

566 words - 3 pages

BenefitsThrough gene technology, it is now possible to produce:• genetically modified organisms for a specific purpose.Previously, such genetic change would have to be brought about by selective breeding which requires organisms to be of the same species (able to breed successfully together), takes many generations and involves transfer of whole genomes, complete with undesirable background genes. Gene technology is much faster and involves transferring one or few genes, which may come from completely unrelated organisms, even from different kingdoms.• specific products, such as human insulin and human growth hormone, thereby reducing the dependence on products from other, less reliable sources, such as pig or cow insulin.• reduce use of agrochemicals such as herbicides and pesticides since crops can be made resistant to particular ...view middle of the document...

Regulation is designed to minimise therisks of escape of such genes. There is little evidence that such genes haveescaped into wild bacterial populations.Crop plants have, by their nature, to be released into the environment to grow, and many millions of hectares of genetically engineered crops, both experimental and commercial, are planted across the globe. So far, fears that they might turn out to be ‘super-weeds’, resistant to herbicides and spreading uncontrollably, or that their genes might transfer into other closely related wild species, forming a different kind of ‘super-weed’, or that they might reduce biodiversity by genetic contamination of wild relatives seem to have proved unfounded. A paper was published in Nature in 2001 showing that Mexican wild maize populations were contaminated with genes fromgenetically manipulated maize, but the methods used were flawed and subsequent studies have not confirmed this contamination, suggesting that the wild maize is notgenetically contaminated. There is some evidence that Bt toxin, geneticially engineered into plants such as cotton and maize, whilst very effective in killing the target species, may kill other, desirable, insects such as bees and butterflies, and may also cause natural selection of Bt toxin resistant insects. Future events may show that such environmental risks are greater than they look at present.Food that is derived from genetically engineered organisms may prove to be unexpectedly toxic or to trigger allergic reactions when consumed. There is little reliable evidence that this has been so, but the risk remains. Foodcontaining the expressed products of antibiotic resistance marker genes could be consumed at the same time as treatment with the antibiotic was occurring, which would potentially reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. No examples of this are known.bibliographieshttp://www.ifgene.org/beginner.htmhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_engineering

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