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Animal's genetic code redesigned

  1. Aug 11, 2011 #1
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14492948" [Broken]

    Just want to discuss this development.

    IMO, we are not prepared for this kind of revolution, unless we fully understand the implications and effect of engineering the genetic code without exactly knowing the outcome. I know this is done in the lab. Even though genetic codes have been there around for long time, it was nature (evolution ) that tinkered or tampered with it .

    We trying to tamper with genetic code faster than nature , surely we wouldn't know the outcome. I am not against this kind of research, only that we have to proceed cautiously.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2011 #2


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    This is, as usual, a highly distorted article. This is not a "redesign" or anything else, this is barely different to the prolific genetic modification we've been partaking in for decades. The only difference here is that the organism can now create a protein that contains an amino acid not used by animals in nature (this has been done in e. coli before).

    Scientists know the implications of what they are doing, they study it all the time. Saying "we are not prepared for this kind of revolution" without supplying any proper references or demonstration of scientific understanding is fallacious. This is a minor development that will, as with all science, incrementally improve our understanding of nature and the technology we can employ.
  4. Aug 11, 2011 #3
    Well tinkering with the genetic code to give the organism the ability to produce a protein using a amino acid, which it normally does not use, i think would give enough reason to proceed cautiously. I certainly think my use of the phrase "we are not prepared for this kind of revolution " is justified.

    I used the phrase to indicate to proceed cautiously, We could be doing more harm to ourselves than good.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  5. Aug 11, 2011 #4


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    We've been making organisms that produce http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recombinant_DNA" [Broken] before. I appreciate the need for proper thought to be given to the implication and ethics of all research but what do you have in mind? I still don't get what you mean by "not prepared for this kind of revolution" as clearly this is nothing new. To me you seem to be displaying far more ignorance of the topic than well thought out opinions, honestly you should look into the amount of thought that goes into the kind of thing and how huge bioethics is as a field.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Aug 12, 2011 #5
    How so? What is your reasoning? You're just as bad as the "cell phones may cause cancer" and the anti genetically modified food people. You're apprehensive based on absolutely nothing.
  7. Aug 12, 2011 #6
    Based on nothing? Haven't you seen Jurasic Park? :smile:

    Dr. Malcolm was right. lol
  8. Aug 12, 2011 #7


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    Well, let's say these engineered worms escape into the environment. I don't see these engineered worms posing any threat to the environment or human health. 1) the paper does not show whether the changes they made to the worm's genome are heritable (the engineered genes did not go into every cell in the worm, so it's not clear whether they went into the germ cells). So, the worm's offspring might not be able to incorporate the unnatural amino acids and the trait might go away after the escaped engineered worms die. Even if the trait is heritable, the paper suggests that the gene cassette they engineered into the worm gets lost from the genome over time, so after a few generations, the trait would likely be lost. 2) these worms do not have the ability to synthesize the unnatural amino acids on their own. They incorporate the unnatural amino acids into their proteins only when the researchers feed the worms large amounts of the unnatural amino acid. Without a source of unnatural amino acids, they are just slightly broken versions of a normal C. elegans worm.
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