GMO (Genetically Modified Organism): GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) Research by: Research by Elise Palazzo Theresa Ragonese Heather Taormina Pamela Yoder Thomas Stratton Robinson Ramirez James Wert What is a GMO?: What is a GMO? A genetically modified organism is one whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering. Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are commonly used in foods and medicines. This has led to concern about the dangers they might cause to the environment and to human health The two most common types of GMO’s are: The two most common types of GMO’s are Foods - canola, corn and aspartame Medicines - Insulin, hormones and vaccine Food GMO’s: Food GMO’s Crops are modified so when farmer kill weeds with herbicides the crops can with stand the exposure to the herbicide – killing the weeds and not the crop Although it is not as common, some types of GMOs are modified to increase their nutrient content. Corn and soybeans are two examples of crops that have higher-nutrient GMO versions available. Some fruits have also been genetically modified to make them ripen later, according to the European Commission. This can help make them available fresh in the marketplace during a longer time frame or, for fruits that ripen after being picked, make it easier to transport them. Medicine GMO’s: Medicine GMO’s Genetically modified medicines can be produced cheaper and easier. Some GMO's are : insulin, thyroid hormones and the hepatitis B vaccine (insulin being the oldest) More Types of GMO’s: More Types of GMO’s Plants and Crops: Plants have been genetically engineered for scientific research and to improve crops. Crops have been genetically engineered to develop a resistance to commercial herbicides . Microbes : Microbes were the first organisms to be genetically modified. They are particularly important in producing large amounts of pure human proteins for use in medicine. Genetically modified bacteria’s have been used to produce insulin for diabetes, clotting factors for hemophilia, and human growth hormone to treat dwarfism. Types of GMO’s continued: Types of GMO’s continued Mammals : Genetically modified animals are important. They are used “to research human diseases (for example, to develop animal models for these diseases); to produce industrial or consumer products (fibers for multiple uses; to produce products intended for human therapeutic use (pharmaceutical products or tissue for implantation); to enrich or enhance the animals' interactions with humans (hypo-allergenic pets); to enhance production or food quality traits (faster growing fish, pigs that digest food more efficiently); to improve animal health (disease resistance” Types of GMO’s continued: Types of GMO’s continued Insects : Genetically modified insects have been used to study the effects of genetic changes on development. Mosquitoes : Malaria resistant mosquitoes have been genetically engineered. Aquatic Life: Aquatic life has been used to study the evolution of immunity and developmental processes. Genetically modified fish have been developed to detect pollution in waterways. The History of GMOs: The History of GMOs Genetically Modified Organisms PowerPoint Presentation: According to many sources, genetically modifying organisms is not new. People have been exploiting the benefits of various traits to control subsequent generations of crops, pets, and bacteria for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. PowerPoint Presentation: Let’s take into consideration the modern day dog, also known as man’s best friend. With many recognizable varieties ranging from the small, long and furry to the large and hairless and just about everything in between that are all descendants of the grey wolf. It’s amazing to know that over years of breeding this wild animal and choosing to selectively pair wolves that exhibit certain traits we end up with a domesticated pet that can show no visible signs of its origins aside from being four legged and having a tale. PowerPoint Presentation: This is only one common sign of natural genetic modification. Other, less known ways that this was used in early history was in farming. Farmers routinely selected the most productive seeds to improve their agricultural production. Between 1856 and 1863: Between 1856 and 1863 Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) Used pea plants to study the inherited traits of descendent plants to where he discovered a pattern, now known as the laws of Mendelian inheritance. 1871: 1871 Friedrich Miescher (1844-1895) German chemist Friedrich Meischer discovered DNA. These early findings were questioned by scientists because they thought it was too simple chemically to carry all the genetic information. Scientists thought proteins were the basis of genetics. He isolated nucleic acid which opened the door to understanding that DNA is the carrier of inheritance. Between 1895-1901: Between 1895-1901 Albrecht Kossel (1853-1927) I dentified the five organic compounds present in nucleic acid, adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine and uracil which are key in forming DNA. 1944: 1944 Oswald Avery (1877-1955) Along with Colin MacLeod and Maclyn McCarty discovered that DNA is where genes and chromosomes are made and that DNA is the true carrier of molecular information . 1953: 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick published their discovery of the double helix, which leads to the ability to splice genes (History of genetic engineering, 2012). Genetic modification opens up possibilities that traditional methods could not. Genes could be added, inactivated or deleted from cells. (Genetically modified crops, 2009). 1971: 1971 - First debate over the risks of human exposure to GMO’s began when a common intestinal microorganism (E. coli) was infected by DNA from a tumor inducing virus (Genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Transgenic crops and recombinant DNA technologies, 2012). 1972: 1972 Stanley Cohen (1922-) Herbert Boyer (1936-) Developed techniques that made it possible to chemically cut and splice strands of DNA at specific places in the sequence. Dr. Boyer goes on to found Genentech in 1976 1978: 1978 Genentech Becomes the first to synthesize i nsulin, later they create a human growth hormone which was used to enable dwarf children to grow to a normal size . Genentech’s Humulin is the first consumer product developed through modern bioengineering. 1982: 1982 Monsanto I ntroduced a bovine growth hormone used in cows to increase milk production. They were among the first to genetically modify a plant cell in 1983. 1983: 1983 A plant gene was inserted from one plant gene from one species to another species (Genetically modified crops, 2009). 1986: 1986 In Belgium the first field tests of genetically engineered plants are conducted ( History of genetic engineering, 2012). The organization for Economic Corporation and Development called “Recombinant DNA Safety Considerations” became the first intergovernmental document to address issues about GMO’s (Genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Transgenic crops and recombinant DNA technologies, 2012). 1987- Monsanto is also credited with opening the flood gates to genetically modified crops in field trials which took place that year.: 1987- Monsanto is also credited with opening the flood gates to genetically modified crops in field trials which took place that year. 1990: 1990 Pfizer the FDA approved the safe use of a genetically modified enzyme called Rennet which is used in the production of cheese and other dairy products. By 1995, 67 percent of cheese produced in the United States contained this GMO. 1992: 1992 Calgene’s Favr Savr tomato is approved for commercial production by the US department of agriculture. This was genetically engineered to remain firm for a longer period of time. The FDA declares that genetically engineered foods are not dangerous and do not require special regulation (History of genetic engineering, 2012). 1994: 1994 The European Union’s first genetically engineered crop is tobacco is approved in France (History of genetic engineering, 2012). 2000: 2000 2000- International Biosafty Protocol is approved by 130 countries. This protocol agrees upon labeling of genetically engineered crops, but still needs to be ratified by fifty nations before it goes into effect (History of genetic engineering, 2012). Today: Today Soybeans 93 % of soybeans planted in the U.S. are genetically modified. Soybeans are used in products such as animal feed, prepackaged meals and the oil is used in many industrial applications . % of Total Crops that are GMOs Today: Today Corn 86% of corn planted in the U.S falls under the category of a GMO. Maize is the most widely grown grain crop in the Americas, it is used to make sugar substitutes such as high fructose corn syrup, a large quantity of processed foods contain corn and is also used to make ethanol, a biofuel that is mixed with gasoline to decrease the amount of pollutants emitted by motor vehicles. % of Total Crops that are GMOs Tomorrow: Tomorrow Still in Development Various products including vaccines, vitamin enrichments, hormones that result in faster maturation and disease resistance. Only time can tell if the risks involved in using GMOs will outweigh the benefits. Advantages to GMO’s: Advantages to GMO’s Reduces use of pesticides and other toxic chemicals Today one of the major concerns for the environment and human health is the vast and profuse usage of pesticides to help keep the percentage of crop yield to a feasible amount for food growers to stay in business. The most present use in genetic modifications is to try to eliminate or reduce these uses. Herbicides and Fungicides have the same ramifications, but as not talked about nearly as much. Advantages continued: Advantages continued Human Health Obviously starvation is a major human health hazard today, but with the proposed changes this would become less and less of an issue. Genetic modification of food stuffs will allow for far greater control of the resources that humanity needs to survive including matching the amount of food eaten to the amount that is needed, and not overproducing and creating purposeful wastage as we do today with shelf life and subsidies. Elimination of issues already existing in some foods is another human health issues that can be controlled if the allergens can be targeted. Increase in the nutrition per food item is by far the largest need that will be needed if our population continues to rise. Some areas of the world food can be very expensive and increasing the nutrients per food item can greatly enhance the survivability of human populations under this strain. This doesn’t just need to happen with macronutrients such as proteins and carbohydrates, but can be very helpful is decreasing certain micronutrient conditions that exist with the restriction of food availability. Advantages continued: Advantages continued GMO plants are also more nutritious, this has been tested many times and proven. This can also stop many kinds of sicknesses that are caused because people don't get the daily vitamin and minerals they need. Also with all the testing that GMO plants must under go, we all know what we are putting into our bodies are good for us, any GMO that even has the slightest chance of being bad for our health is not allowed to be sold. Another thing good about all the testing GMO's have to undergo is it helps us to better understand crops and this can lead to helping in the development of new medicines for example Advantages continued: Advantages continued Increases the percentage of crop yield Proper and regular use of genetic modification decreases crop wastage that costs a very large percent of every crop that could otherwise be used to relieve suffering and hungry populations worldwide. Spoilage is actually by far one of the largest contributors to this loss of otherwise perfectly healthy food. Destroyed by insects instead of being eaten by humans and livestock each crop suffers from both of these causes in every farm in the world. With a small change in the genetic legacy of human food crops increases the percentage that can come to market simply by making the plant or animal less vulnerable to insects and spoilage. Shelf life after market is also a cause of much spoilage that can be alleviated by these same genetic changes. Increases amount of people that can be fed from every acre are another advantage of the proper use of modifications as the food can be larger, more nutrient efficient, and require shorter growing times. Increases amount of areas of land that can be used to grow can be a huge advantage as the amount of arable land will become less and less of an issue for growers. With global warming we need keep up with the changes in growing climate changes that will occur no matter what we do at this moment. Our climate zones will change, and instead of crops taking generations to breed a good set of genes for plants and animals, will be able to do it almost as fast as the changes take place. Frost damage presently causes millions of dollars of damage and thousands of tons of crop loss every year as well as warmer temperatures. We will be able to change possible growing conditions to the needs of the farmers if genetic modification is utilized Advantages continued: Advantages continued The advantages of GMO's are vast, one of the first advantages are pesticides. Because they can make the plants pest resistant, this does away with the need for pesticides, this in turn makes the plants more economically friendly, pesticides do not get into the air or water. This also saves the farmers money because pesticides can cost a lot of money, this in turn gives the farmers more money to spend on other things that they may need. This can also help yield a higher crop, because the farmer was able to save money and grow more this means a decrease in food prices, this is very good news for people in poor countries, if they don't have to spend as much of what little money they have on food, it can mean a reduction in poverty. Disadvantages to medical GMO’s: Disadvantages to medical GMO’s In 1982, genetically engineered insulin was approved for use by diabetics.This was the first medical commercial use of genetic engineering. (Access Excellence. That was 30 years ago, and before the Human Genome was fully sequenced in 2003. In the time since, there as been an explosion of research in the race to plant a flag in the field of developing human biological drugs. According to Dr. Rhonda Wimmer , "The Genome Project presented politically and publicly was promoted as a humanitarian cause, yet created with the underlying agenda that encompassed a lucrative business opportunity for patenting genes and selling them to pharmaceutical companies." ( Wimmer ) And this proved to be true in the actions of a company called Celera that tried to sequence the genome ahead of the government and file patents on 200-300 genes. Eventually they filed preliminary patent applications in 1999 on 6,500 whole or partial genes. In March of 2000, President Clinton announced that the genome sequence could not be patented and should be made freely available to all researchers. The statement sent Celera's stock plummeting and the biotechnology sector lost about $50 billion in market capitalization in two days. (Wikipedia) Disadvantages to medical GMO’s continued: Disadvantages to medical GMO’s continued This struggle underlies the medical dangers of GMO's on two levels. One is medical and the other is financial. There is one well known case that highlights both of these issues. According to an article published on the Center for Genetics and Society website, "In 1999 18 year old Jesse Gelsinger volunteered for a gene therapy clinical trial. Jesse suffered from orinthine trascarbamlase deficiency (OTCD), a rare metabolic disorder that prevents the body from breaking down ammonia. Many children with OTCD die at a young age, but Gelsinger had a mild version and led a fairly normal life through medicine and a special diet. Since a single-gene defect is responsible for OTCD, researchers considered it a prime candidate for gene therapy, a still-experimental treatment that attempts to replace defective genes with normal ones." Disadvantages to medical GMO’s continued: Disadvantages to medical GMO’s continued The article states what happened next: "When the researchers injected Jesse with with the replacement genes his ammonia levels skyrocketed. Within a few days, he suffered brain damage and organ failure, and was in a coma. His family then removed him from life support. He was 18 years old." It turns out that the researchers did not disclose to Jesse and his family that two monkeys had died, and other human volunteers had adverse reactions, and that James Wilson, who was the lead researcher: "did not disclose to the Gelsingers that he was conducting the clinical trial with a private company in which he had a stake. Wilson had a direct financial interest - not merely an academic one - in the trial's successful outcome. In fact, documents and press releases discovered by then-Washington Post reporters Deborah Nelson and Rick Weiss showed that Wilson's company had attracted significant investments. If Wilson could devise a way to deliver good versions of the OTC gene to Gelsinger and others like him, his company could then patent the gene delivery system and use it to try to cure other, more common genetically linked disorders, such as cancer. Wilson stood to make millions." ( Obasogie ) Business and Legal Disadvantages to GMO’s: Business and Legal Disadvantages to GMO’s The real issues facing GMO's in medicine today are the legal and business ramifications as the science is still too new to have produced a lot of viable medical results. In the 2006 novel "Next" author Michael Crichton lays out a scenario where a patient had an amazing recovering to a treatment for Leukemia, and his doctor uses the pretext of follow up visits to research his cells and sell them to a company. The company finds the patient uncooperative and decides to kidnap his grandson to harvest more cells has they have the legal right to his cell line. Now this is science fiction - but it's sounding less crazy in this time where companies are ' Pharming ', and creating Transgenetic Animals to grow biological drugs. (Wikipedia) .The potential for exploitation of human volunteers is great. Osagie Obasogie detailed further in his article: "First, a disproportionate number of human subjects are impoverished or undocumented workers. The practice of paying participants - often hundreds to as much as a few thousand dollars - suggests that the health risks stemming from clinical trials are largely shouldered by people who are doing it for the money. Selling your body to medical researchers is a way to make ends meet for a growing number of people, particularly during a recession. There's even a new term for it: guinea-pigging. Advantages continued: Advantages continued Another great thing about GMO's is they can be grown almost anywhere, no longer must people have to spend a lot of money having food shipped to them. Now food can be grown anywhere in the world even in dry or freezing environments. Being able to grow more plants in more parts of the world also helps in the decrease of global warming. GMO's can also be made to grow faster so they can be harvested sooner and more often during the year. The enhancement of taste, smell, and quality of GMO food has also been done. What this means is things that people might not have enjoyed in the past they now can. This is good news for mom's who want their kids to eat what’s good for them. Business and Legal Disadvantages continued: Business and Legal Disadvantages continued For some, guinea-pigging is a way to get needed cash. For others, it's simply a way to get some type of minimal health care. This situation is becoming increasingly common as the clinical trial industry looks to the developing world for more subjects. A recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine said that for the 20 largest American drug companies, one-third of their phase 3 clinical trials are performed completely outside of the U.S and that over 50 percent of the sites are foreign, with the developing world becoming a key destination. While this might provide an economic boom and offer some level of medical attention to the world's poor, it may also promote a dynamic where thin human subjects oversight can give license to questionable research practices." ( Obasogie ) Money is needed to fund research and innovation, and there is a 'land grab' going on as the potential to own genes or processes where genes can be delivered to a human for lifesaving purposes can mean millions, even billions of dollars. There are still the medical questions to be answered about what happens when you tinker with genes. But the road to these answers will be littered with the effect of commercializing the processes unlocking these biological secrets. Disadvantages to GMO’s in Food: Disadvantages to GMO’s in Food The foods that we eat, may be a genetically manufacture organism. GMO’s (plants) are when organisms such as plants have their genetic makeup deliberately altered to incorporate genes from other specific species with desirable traits. The purpose of this action is for plants to be pest resistant, drought resistant, cold and herbicide tolerant (Morris, 2010). Due to the alteration of plants, there are considerable disadvantages to humans and animals that consume them. Today meat and any animal byproduct aren’t sold to consumers Environmentally, GMOs such as plants can be altered to be specified to be harmful to certain organisms such as insects. As it does protect the plant is may kill off a desirable insect and alter the food chain (Hamel). Another concern is the issue of gene transfer. There is worry of cross pollination of plants that are GMO and non GMO. GE crops require the use of even more pesticides than normal crops. “Weeds grow resistant to pesticides, leading farmers to spray even more on their crops. This causes environmental pollution, exposes food to higher levels of toxins, and creates greater safety concerns for farmers and farm workers” (Sustainable Table, 2012). Disadvantages of GMO’s in Food continued: Disadvantages of GMO’s in Food continued Human health is another disadvantage to GMOs. Concerns are that with unknown traits being altered with other organisms, could it create allergic reactions; such as traits of peanuts being crossed with another plant. Could it cause the same or no reactions to people who have and allergy to nuts? Consumers are “blind” in knowing what their food is really made up of. Another health issue is the creation of new allergens. “The new combinations of genes and traits have the potential to create allergic reactions that have never existed before” (Sustainable Table, 2012). Disease is another concern. “Almost all GE food contains antibiotic resistance marker genes that help producers know whether the new genetic material was transferred to the host plant or animal. GE food could make disease-causing bacteria even more resistant to antibiotics, which could increase the spread of disease throughout the world” (Sustainable Table, 2012). Future of GMO’s: Future of GMO’s Progress is being made with genetically modifying compositional and processing characteristics of food crops. Such developments are at early stages but in the long term are certain to lead to the development of foods that lack undesirable components. New methods of preserving these foods without chemical preservatives are likely to be developed. Another possibility generating interest is the use of crops to provide renewable sources of valuable materials such as drugs, bioplastics , and vaccines. Cattle and sheep are being genetically modified to produce pharmaceutical chemicals in their milk so drugs can be produced more efficiently and cost effectively. Personal Opinions: Personal Opinions Sarah Perri : After researching the history of GMO’s I feel that science has come such a long way. To be able to change the DNA to produce a more desirable product is just amazing. I think as scientists continue to study DNA they can a better understanding of the process of genetics in food. Robinson Ramirez: I can certainly see the value of genetically modifying grains and crops to support and feed developing countries and struggling communities here at home. It has made the statement that “there is no reason for anyone to die of hunger” a fact, in my eyes. Farmers and scientists together have been able to create crops that are not as susceptible to draught, frost and damaging insects. This means that we can grow food in areas where they would normally not be able to grow, therefore feeding a population locally from crops that would under standard conditions not be available. This is a great achievement and should be continued and promoted. Now there is the argument that many of these engineered harvests present greater health risks to those that consume it. As true as this may (at some point) prove to be, the one certainty is that starvation is a very real, painful, drawn out and unnecessary way of dying. Given the choice between starvation and being fed but with the potential for disease or assumed health risks that may or may not ever present themselves, most people would choose food. By nature, we tend to seek a fix for the current problem and worry about the consequences later. But consider this, would you deny a starving child a meal of cereal and milk because the corn and soybean used in its manufacture were genetically modified and may put this child at an increased possibility of developing an ailment later on in life? Probably not, because if you did refuse to supply the child with food, the only inevitable occurrence would be death. GMOs can fix an immediate need for sustenance, but once an alternative is available, it should be greatly considered and the supply that is modified should be heavily scrutinized and studied for safety. It would be preferential that this occur concurrently or prior to the GMO being introduced into public consumption but the greater need for food must be addressed if a reasonable solution is available. Personal Opinions: Personal Opinions Elise Palazzo: In my opinion, after learning the increase use of herbicides and pesticides while growing GMO crops, it has turned me to not wanting to purchase any vegetables or fruits unless they are organic. Also I found it very risky to alter traits with plants that may cause allergic reactions or even cause new ones. I’m glad livestock hasn’t been genetically modified and don’t agree that it should. Annette Parsons : My opinion is that GMO's are a good thing. THey are helpful to people. My husband suffers from IBS, and because of it there are things he can not eat, but thanks to GMO's he can. One thing he can not have is fried foods, but if the food is fried in soy bean oil he can it. Soy bean oil is a GMO. Personal Opinions continued: Personal Opinions continued Theresa Ragonese : I have a history of diabetes in my family therefore I find GMO’s in medicine beneficial. We as humans will never stop exploring or changing new technologies. If GMO’s are in place to improve human health and well being than I think they are a good thing. Thomas Stratton : I am fairly neutral, I do not believe that any one technology or change is bad amongst itself. Alone, the only bad things about the technology is that organisms are are reproducing and the changes we make are likely to continue. This by itself isn't necessarily bad. In my opinion, these technologies are necessary in order to maintain our present cultural impetus. Without them we are headed for very big change in our present way of life. We think that technology will keep the food rolling and the fuels running for our vehicles. With genetic modification we can continue these things and keep our populations from starving, our cities running. Without them, this won't last more than another century or two. I really dont think th at the issue is the use of any of our technologies or cultural habits, its our inability to control our populations. There are 100 times the amount of people presently living than there should be in order to keep these systems stable and sustainable. These technologies will help this populations enlarge and keep from collapsing. Individually, that is a great thing for us, but for the future of our world it is bad. each change we make is neither good nor bad, but that change multiplied seven billions times over can be deadly. No one knows where this is leading. I personally think the idea is very cool, but everything has costs weather we choose to see them or not. Personal Opinions continued: Personal Opinions continued Pamela Yoder : Humans do not stop exploring. As we sit here today, the Mars Rover beams greeting cards to us across the vastness of space. In the effort to help ourselves, we've travelled further and further internally - into the DNA helix, picking it apart and examining the individual genes. It's so logical, right? Ones and Zeros, on and off. But we're not as smart as we think we are. And our tinkering with DNA has opened the door to some very enticing discoveries, but also some nightmares. My opinion is that we need to find a balance. We will continue to explore GMO's and find some benefits. But we also need to protect those who would be victims of the process. Desperate for a cure to a disease, or poor, and seeing a way to earn some money by allowing yourself to be experimented on. And the food that has been modified - we don't know the effects down the food chain. Already the alarm has been sounded regarding Herbal Medicines - unknown allergies to the transgenic plants, the effects of livestock being altered by eating GMO feed. Unintended cross-pollination. We must continue to be cautious. And make sure the Venture Capitalists are not in charge of keeping us safe. James Wert: GMO's can help so many people around the world. 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