Transgenic Animals Research Ethics


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“Transgenic Animals” Research Ethics:

“Transgenic Animals” Research Ethics 1


Outline Introduction to Transgenic Animals Methods of Creation Examples of TG Animals Ethical Objections Religious Views Conclusion 2

Transgenic Animals:

Transgenic Animals Have DNA from another source inserted into their genome ( GMOs ) Many transgenic animals have been created so far Currently, no transgenic animal or product is approved by the FDA for human consumption 3

Why Create Them?:

Why Create Them? Some of the goals of transgenic animal creation are: Improve livestock animals Use of animals as bioreactors Production of pharmaceutical drugs Used as Model Organisms in research 4

Creation Principle:

Creation Principle Inserting a foreign gene/genes into an animal The inserted genes are called Transgenes Genes must be transmitted through the germ line So every cell contains the same modified genetic material 5

Creation Methods:

Creation Methods There are 4 basic methods: DNA Microinjection Retrovirus-Mediated Gene Transfer Embryonic Stem Cell-Mediated Gene Transfer Linker Based Sperm-Mediated Gene Transfer Success rate is very low 6

1) DNA Microinjection:

1) DNA Microinjection Transfer the desired gene into the pronucleus of reproductive cell Manipulated cell is cultured in vitro to develop embryonic phase Transferred to the recipient female 7

2) Retrovirus-Mediated Gene Transfer:

2) Retrovirus-Mediated Gene Transfer Retroviruses transfer genetic material into the host cell to produce Chimeras Chimeras are inbred until homozygous transgenic offspring are born 8

3) Embryonic Stem Cell-Mediated Gene Transfer :

3) Embryonic Stem Cell-Mediated Gene Transfer Isolation of totipotent stem cells from embryos Desired gene is inserted into these cells Recombinant cells are incorporated into the host’s embryo 9

4) Linker Based Sperm-Mediated Gene Transfer:

4) Linker Based Sperm-Mediated Gene Transfer Sperm carrying the foreign gene, fertilizes the egg where foreign gene is incorporated into the genome 10


Examples of “Transgenic Animals” 11

Transgenic Cattle :

Transgenic Cattle Dairy cows carrying extra copies of two types of Casein genes produce 13% more milk protein This milk is more nutritious Currently the milk from these animals is under FDA review 12


EnviroPig Can digest plant phosphorus more efficiently Have Phytase enzyme in their salivary glands Phytic acid in the pig meal is degraded releasing phosphorus which is absorbed by the pig Pig waste is a major pollutant 13

Transgenic Fish:

Transgenic Fish Salmon/trout can grow up to 6 times faster than wild-type fish because they have extra copies of Growth Hormone (GH) gene Ornamental GloFish have red, green, yellow, and orange fluorescent color. They are available as a pet. 14

Transgenic Mice:

Transgenic Mice Most widely used Model Animal to detect gene expression Used in Knock-Out technology to detect gene function 15

Transgenic Monkey:

Transgenic Monkey ANDI , the first transgenic rhesus monkey born on October 2nd 2000, has GFP gene Glow in Dark Monkeys also have GFP and glow under UV light 16

Transgenic Rabbit:

Transgenic Rabbit Alba , the EGFP (enhanced GFP) bunny created in 2000 as a transgenic artwork Has GFP gene and glows when exposed to Blue light 17

Transgenic Cats:

Transgenic Cats Cloned transgenic cats contain red and green fluorescent protein 18

Transgenic Goats:

Transgenic Goats Silk gene from spiders is transferred to goats Each goat produces several grams of silk protein in her milk 19

Some Ethical Concerns:

Some Ethical Concerns 20 Use of animals in science is a controversial issue There are some moral or ethical factors contributing to genetic manipulation Animal welfare concerns: Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, UK (RSPCA) looking out for animals, since 1824

Ethical Concerns (cont.):

Ethical Concerns (cont.) Use of animals in research causes great suffering to the animals Using animals for the production of pharmaceutical proteins we reduce them to mere factories Animals should have the same basic rights as human beings Each biological species has a right to exist as a separate identifiable entity 21

Moral Status of Animals:

Moral Status of Animals Pets are a part of family They should be given respect They have a sense of pain and pleasure Moral Code of Ethics should be followed while using animals in research 22

b) Boundary B/w Natural and Unnatural :

b) Boundary B/w Natural and Unnatural There is a boundary constructed between what is considered ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ The crossing of species boundaries is ‘unnatural’ This becomes problematic when higher life forms are involved; Human-Animal Chimeras 23

c) Consequences of Genetic Modifications:

c) Consequences of Genetic Modifications Consequences of genetic modifications might be positive or negative Risks are there for human health and environment 24

d) Environment Safety Issues:

d) Environment Safety Issues Modified animals might ' escape ' and breed with other animals, so transferring the new genes to other populations Retroviruses might infect other organisms Wider effects of producing disease-resistant animals 25

e) Crossing Species Boundaries:

e) Crossing Species Boundaries Crossing species boundaries is the violation of God’s laws This scenario is changing the species concepts regarding Ecology, Morphology, Phylogeny and Evolution 26

f) Xenotransplantation Issues:

f) Xenotransplantation Issues Transplantation of organs from animals (Pigs) to humans can cause Zoonotic disease such as Mad Cow Disease The introduction of these diseases to the human population could have devastating consequences 27

Ethical Decision Making:

Ethical Decision Making Some uses are generally acceptable, often because their costs (usually welfare, health and environmental) are perceived as negligible Some uses are acceptable only where the benefits are sufficiently great and outweigh any perceived costs 28

The Banner Report:

The Banner Report   In 1995, the UK’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food delivered Banner Report It has 3 principles: Harm of a certain degree ought under no circumstances to be inflicted on an animal Any harm to an animal must be outweighed by the good which is realistically sought Any harm should be minimized as far possible 29


Conclusion Transgenesis and genetic engineering present difficult challenges for 21st century scientists and ethicists The two major considerations are: How much a transgenic animal benefits humans? How much pain or discomfort does it cause the animal? The issue is where you draw the line between human benefit and animal discomfort 30

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