SOC 2080 Course Reader #5.docx

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3 Apr 2012
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Pseudo Food Companies
-products that go through very little levels of transformation such as fluid milk, eggs, and flour and
tomato paste have thin profit margins
-some are sold below cost as “loss leaders” to attract customers to the store
-in Canada, the snack food industry has grown more than the entire food industry as a whole
-corporate concentration occurs w/pseudo foods b/c only a small group of companies control the whole
-spatial colonization occurs b/c these products are places at eye level for customers [physical
-low profit items [i.e. milk] are placed at the back of the stores so ppl are forced to go through the entire
-products they want ppl to purchase are placed at eye level, or they have special display’s for them
What Could Go Wrong? A Partial List
Things that can go wrong w/gene engineering
1) Code Scramblers
-can rearrange the RNA code in many ways creating different proteins
2) Hitchhikers
-the effect of a particular protein on a plant/animal can be modified by additional molecules of
phosphate, sulfate, sugars/lipids
3) Chaperones
-a proteins shape determines its function
-some proteins like to become miss-folded and therefore remain biochemically inactive
-this can cause it to duplicate itself which can give rise to neurological diseases
4) Messing Up the Hosts Normal DNA
-by impacting a foreign gene coded shard being put into a different gene can create damage
-disrupts the genetic blueprint of the organism
-a change in the host’s DNA due to the process of inserting a foreign gene is called “insertion mutation”
5) Horizontal Gene Transfer and Antibiotic Resistance
-after genes are shot into a pile of cells, they are doused in antibiotics, those surviving got the gene in
their DNA
-the process where genes travel from one species to another is “horizontal transfer”
-concern w/certain genes that can be transferred to ppl
6) Position Effect
-when a foreign gene enters the DNA there is no way to tell where it will end up
-the placement of the gene can dictate how well it does its job [in some locations it won’t produce a
protein at all, in others it will produce too little]
7) Gene Silencing
the foreign genes or the native genes get shut off [ no longer able to produce their protein]
-if the foreign gene ends up in the middle of the native gene this can occur
8) Environmental Influences
-the changes w/in the foreign genes can be linked to changes in the environment
9) Light Switches-Turning on your Genes
-some scientists inject the foreign gene so that it is permanently “on” and always will work no matter
where it is [i.e. proteins that make eyes blue are active/on in the areas where the eye is blue; in the
parts of the eye that are white they are off/relaxed otherwise the whole eye might be blue]
10) Hot Spots
the whole DNA section can become unstable
-causes breaks in the strand/exchanges of genes w/other chromosomes
11) Waking Sleeping Viruses
-the insertion of modified viruses into crops can create highly virulent new viruses
12) Cancer
-some material can cause certain types of cancer to act up
-materials in crops and animal food can be transferred into their body and then into people who eat
Synthetic Genes
-certain amino acid codes of bacterial genes have to be altered so they will read properly in the plant
Genetic Disposition
-varieties of the same species may be prone to dangerous side effects when a new gene is inserted
Complex Unpredictable Interactions
-genes can affect each other
-altered proteins can activate/deactivate genes
Gene Stacking
-stacked genes and their proteins can interact in dangerous ways
Nutritional Problems
-changes in the DNA can affect a plant’s nutritional content
-altered nutrition can lead to side effects
-genetic engineering can change a harmless food into one containing a deadly allergen 1-level of
naturally occurring allergen might be increased 2-a gene taken from one type of food might transfer
allergenic properties to another 3-unknown allergens can result from foreign genes and proteins that
haven’t been part of the human food chain before
Human Error