Genetic Engineering in Agriculture

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1 Details Utah State University Engineering in This is a project resulting from the Engineering Workshop for Teachers to provide teaching materials for genetic engineering topics. Please direct any feedback to ASTE graduate student Olivia Horning at START COURSE 1

2 : Gavrilescu, M. (2010). Environmental biotechnology: achievements, opportunities and challenges. Dynamic biochemistry, process biotechnology and molecular biology, 4(1),

3 Objectives 1. Distinguish between the pros and cons of vaccine producing food. 2. Define bioethics and relate the field of study to vaccine producing food. 3. Explain why lab safety is important in genetic engineering. 4. Sketch the three spheres of sustainability and define each part. 5. List the three components of agricultural ethics and summarize each part. 6. Develop an argument for GMO crops and against GMO crops. 7. Give an example of a concern related to the following categories: ecologic, economic 3

4 Vaccine Producing Food Foods can be genetically engineered to contain vaccines, also known as edible vaccines, which could be easier to deliver vaccines to children. Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not? Create a pros and cons list to share with the class. 4

5 What is? The origin of the term is in the article, the Science of Survival where Van Rensselaer Potter defines the term as: A science of survival must be more than science alone, and I therefore propose the term bioethics in order to emphasize the two most important ingredients in achieving the new wisdom that is so desperately needed: biological knowledge and human values. Biology + ethics = bioethics 5

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7 Safety and Ethics Because of the dangers associated with genetic engineering, laboratory procedures such as researcher protection from infection and keeping all microbes in the lab. crippling is when microbe strains used in experiments involving recombinant DNA are unable to survive outside the lab, but dangerous experiments can be banned. 7

8 Safety and Ethics Should humans have the ability to create new organisms or alter an existing organism s genes? Is it unethical, or has it been done through artificial selection for centuries? (Pearson Education, 2016) 8

9 3 Spheres of Sustainability Draw the following diagram and write in the definitions for each circle part. Discuss as a class. Additional information found here: me807/node/575 9

10 3 Legged Milking Stool Agricultural ethics is like a three-legged milking stool. One appendage rests in health, another in environment, and the third is planted firmly in the social, cultural and historical meanings of rural life. Medically-based dietary advice may be grounded in a concern for human health, but it has the potential for both cultural and environmental reverberations. Agricultural and food issues have a natural place in the bioethics spectrum, even when bioethics is conceived narrowly in terms of human health. But a complete understanding of these issues will require insight from all three legs of the agricultural ethics stool. Paul B. Thompson, Michigan State University 10

11 3 Legged Milking Stool Draw the following diagram and write in the definition for each leg. Discuss as a class. Additional information found here: and Food Issues in the Spectrum, by Paul B. mages/stories/file/mhr/mhr_25_ 3.pdf 11

12 2015 Acres 444 million acres of GMOS grown in 2015, 1% decrease from million acres grown in 2016 around the world Grown in 28 countries, developing countries, >18millin farmers Global cultivated crop land = 9% 5 countries growing 90% of gmo crops in 2015, 91% in 2016: USA, Brazil, Argentina, India, Canada 12

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17 Benefits/Supporters Environmental, Health, Economic, world problem solving 17

18 Benefits/Supporters Supporters say the technology will be better for the environment Fewer chemicals are used with herbicide resistance compared to conventional crops Herbicide resistant crops, like roundup ready corn or soybeans Insect resistant crops, like bt corn and bt cotton 18

19 Benefits/Supporters Supporters say there are health benefits Higher quality and nutritional value, shelf life longer, sugar beets with lower calories, lower saturated fat oils, benefitting world s poor, added vitamins and minerals, golden rice, mass producing substances like pharmaceuticals 19

20 Benefits/Supporters Supporters say farmers will benefit Avoiding losses, single broad-spectrum herbicide reducing land degradation, losses reduced from sudden frosts, GM crop yields increasing 5 to 8 percent (corn, cotton, soybeans) 20

21 Benefits/Supporters Supporters say that GM Seeds will aid in feeding the growing world population 21

22 Concerns Ecological, health, genetic, contamination, patent, geopolitical 22

23 Concerns Opponents say that wildlife could be harmed by GM crops, pesticide resistant Superbugs and Superweeds (Refugee area is now needed for Bt crops to slow resistant insect development. Bt is a soil bacterium that organic growers spray on crops as a pesticide, and resistant insects would nullify this practice. Super weeds are herbicide resistant due to uncontrollable cross pollination by wind, birds, insects. Natural species competition, creating a loss of diversity. Non-target species includes harming birds, non pest insects, and animals. Specifically, transgenic Bt corn harming monarch butterfly, known through a Cornell University study. 23

24 Concerns Opponents say that GM foods could cause health problems Animal experiments include: the liver, heart, and brain being smaller, with a reduced immune system, in rats fed potatoes with GMO protein. (reword). Antibiotic gut resistance found in mice were the trans-genes were not degraded in digestion. Allergies due to proteins, 90% of food allergies are due to proteins. For example, though, the brazil nut protein in soybean was never on the market. 24

25 Concerns Lack of control over location of insertion, which could disrupt other genes. The role of the gene may be unknown, or have different functions based on the organism. For example, the genet in rats for sense of smell, in Zebra finches for song learning, and humans for Parkinson s disease are the same gene. Concerns with cross pollination and segregation. Because corn is the most highly used biopharma crop, there are concerns with cross-pollination with plants engineered to contain human antibodies, like contraceptive corn (epicyte gene) and herpes-fighting antibody (human gene). Proposing that there may be inadequate segregation of crops, such as crops for human vs. animal feed with the StarLink corn recall. 25

26 Concerns Starlink corn is a GMO product FDA approved for animal feed but not human feed, and found in September of 2000 in human food. $1 billion was lost. Companies affected included Kraft, taco Bell, Mission, and Kellog s 26

27 Economics Opponents say small farmers will be affected negatively by GM crop technology, making them dependent on big firms. Biotech crops could be too expensive in developing countries. Increased reliance on monocultures, with 90 % of food being grown from 15 crops. Monoculture crops predisposition for disease and pests due to lack of diversity. 27

28 Economics Opponents also say that profit driven biotech companies are not concerned with risk to nature or people. Money invested in research and development needs to be recuperated. High volume crops are the focus, such as soybeans, corn and cotton, rather than food crops to help those in poor countries. 28

29 Patents Food Inc. Growing and selling patented crops Biosurfdom, means that the farmers cannot choose what they grow. GMO seed cost being higher in developing countries. The plant variety protection act says that farmers cannot cross pollinate seeds, protecting GMO crop investors such as Monsanto. 29

30 Geopolitical - Pearson Biosafety Protocol was negotiated by 130 countries, but the united states declined. This requires GM organisms in bulk food shipments to be labeled by exporters, and if a health/environmental risk is imposed importing courtiers can decline shipments. What health/environmental risk are they referring to? This can cause trade disputes, and European countries have occasionally refused united states crops. 30

31 Content Source Pearson Education Campbell Essential Biology (6th Ed.) by Simon, Reece, & Dickey. 31