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Natural Science
NATS 1760
Darrin Durant

NATS 1760 DARRIN DURANT/ JAMES ELWICK Monday, March 18, 2013 EXCERPTS FROM GENOMES & WHAT TO MAKE OF THEM (pg. 348-349) Barnes & Dupre  The powers that genomics is threatening to unleash poses two kids of criticisms: 1) Because genomic power possesses dominant institutions and organizations, they are an obvious target for anyone who regards those institutions and organizations as the enemy 2) Genomics and associated sciences maybe attacked simply because they are power  Genomics is perceived as being the forefront of scientific and technological advance, and serves as a symbol for the ever-increasing potential, as well as risk and threat of new technology  Analogy with nuclear power- singled out as a conferring powers incomparably greater than any other emerging technology  a technology too awesome to use in the hands of people too likely to misuse it o BUT nuclear technology was not criticized in the same way as genomics; genomics inspires specific and detailed fears whereas the power of nuclear technology inspired fear through its mere magnitude and its capacity to obliterate us o It may also be due in part to the increased interest in the details of technical issues HOPE & HYPE OF GENETIC ENGINEERING Avise PREFACE [ix]  I have no vested financial interest either in, or in opposition to, the biotechnology industry. I have no close social or professional connections to advocates or opponents of genetic engineering, nor within that discipline do I enjoy a high scientific standing to protect  Instead, I hold an academic appointment in the field of evolutionary genetics  I have no personal desire to modify genes, nor any blanket ethical objection to the efforts of those who strive to do so ENGINEERING MICROBES  Microbes have been harnesses to manufacture some of the most lucrative commercial products that have emerged to date from the GM industry [16]  In microbes, gene cloning (‘carbon copies’) typically is accomplished when genetic engineers insert a foreign gene into plasmids, which are tiny circular pieces of DNA that reside within bacterial cells [16]  They automatically clone the transgene as well as their own native DNA [16]  Insulin, the diabetes-treating hormone, is now mass-manufactured from transgenic bacteria that been engineered to carry and express the human insulin gene [17]  When administered by injection, animal insulin enables diabetics to metabolize sugars that otherwise accumulate in their bodies at debilitating and sometimes fatal levels [17]  As a therapeutic drug, animal insulin was less than ideal because its structured differed somewhat from that of human insulin [17]  Using pancreatic cells from a special strain of rats [the University of California] managed to isolate the protein-coding DNA sequence for rodent insulin and insert and amplify it in a bacterium [18] By contriving a bacterial strain that expresses the rat insulin transgene [18]  Sold under the name Humulin, this was the first biopharmaceutical product of medical value to be engineering by recombinant DNA procedures [18] MORE INDUSTRIOUS MICROBES [24 -25] 1) The Food & Feed Industries o Microbial enzymes are catalysts and convert one form of the food substance to another, but themselves are either absent or nonoperational in final product 2) The Cleaning Industry o They help remove protein stains left by blood, sweat or grass 3) The Textiles Industry o Bundling and sealing fibers into durable threads, removing fuzz for a glossier finish, or removing harsh chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide after bleaching is complete 4) The Pulp & Paper Industry o Removal of pitch and other biodegradable deposits from paper mill machinery 5) The Leather-Tanning Industry 6) The Oils & Fats Industry o Conversions between various forms of fatty acids, affording opportunities for tailor-making desired fats and oils 7) Diagnostic & Testing Industries  200 microbial biotech enzymes in the commercial marketplace  A desirable enzyme from any suitable species is identified and characterized and its coding gene isolated  Using DNA-manipulating methods, this code sequence then is transferred into Bacillus or Streptomyces, Aspergillus or Saccharomyces  The microbes then take up the transgene, clone it as they themselves divide and multiply, and successfully transcribe and translate the transgene into the protein product desired  Thus, when the facilities are operated properly, any potential environmental or health risks due to escape of the GMOs are minimized TERMINATOR TECHNOLOGY  The company often projected an ar
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