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Medical Genetic engineering and third world medicine

  1. Aug 28, 2004 #1

    mee

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    I just had a lovely idea. Perhaps they could take edible plants, such as tea bushes, and genetically engineer them to make antibiotics. That way people, such as the yanomamo, could plant some of these perrenials near their campsites and chew them or make a tea when they get sick and not have to die or rely on distant doctors.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2004 #2
    Yes. Molecular Genetics can make a lot of things. But I don't think that the solutions for the third world come from Genetics but from the rich world's Polithics.
    On the other hand, it is not so simple your idea. It would must solve linked problems to the "edible plants": ecological equilibrium, antibiotic resistance, dose / side effects...
     
  4. Aug 28, 2004 #3

    mee

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    Fine, go down to live with the yanomamo as they do and then tell me you don't want them. :) Ecological equilibrium: its just one plant, are you saying they can't grow tomatoes either? Antibiotic resistance: Are you saying we should deny people in well developed countries antibiotics? They would have to be taught when is an acceptable time to eat them to minimise this. Dose: Again, teach them what is an acceptable dose, after all I have never heard of someone dying from antibiotic overdose, unless they are allergic. Side effects: Yes there are side effects with most medicines, but little ones from antibiotics are not that severe unless you choose something like penicillin. One would have to use an antibiotic that people often allergic to such things can use. Again, teach them. I didn't say it was a simple idea. But I am saying it is maybe a feasable idea. And worth further study.
     
  5. Aug 28, 2004 #4
    You are right. It is best an "edible" vegetal antibiotic than nothing. Yes. I agree.
    But I think that, although maybe useful, that and others are minor solutions.
    It is possible that be cheaper and best a direct supply of medicines that an edible plant. I suppose that yanomamo don't only need antibiotics.
    And I believe that the problems of yanomamo and the third world, in general, are produced by the selfish polithics of the countries where "edible" plants could be made.
     
  6. Aug 28, 2004 #5

    mee

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    Actually, the yanomamo have been living similarly for many many years and are only affected badly by having their living grounds being deforested by south american countries as far as i know. Some places in africa, central america and asia are currently being hurt by governmental pressures and subsidies but cultures such as the Baka pygmies, the !Kung bushmen, and the Yanomamo, who live in the forest hundereds of miles, often times, from the nearest town could use an growable anti-biotic. It is simply too expensive and difficult to give them regular medicine regularly. Now, peoples in third world nations who live near viable transportation routes are another story. But I was not really thinking of them.
     
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