What is genetic engineering?
Altering of an organism’s genome to produce an organism with desired characteristics. It is a very accurate process, as single genes can be targeted.
What are the benefits of using genetic engineering?
- cotton - to increase crop yield from same area of land
- corn - to produce toxins that kill insects, making the plants resistant to pests so smaller amount of pesticide is needed
- bacteria - to produce medical drugs such as insulin to greater diseases
How do scientists produce genetically engineered organisms?
- scientists take genes from an organism which code for these characteristics - these become foreign genes
- foreign genes are put into plant or animal cells at an early stage of the organism’s development
- the organism as it develops will display ten characteristics from the foreign gene
What are the risks of genetic engineering?
- no one knows for sure the long term effects
- eating genetically eng. organisms may lead to health problems as it could introduce new allergens that may cause people to become allergic to the organism
- genetically eng. crops may cross pollinate with wild plants, introducing the gene into the wilderness which may disturb the balance of an ecosystem
- some feel that this is unethical as it is altering and interfering with genome