How Genetic Engineering Benefits Modern Society

Genetic engineering benefits are often being touted by those in the scientific profession who have a great belief in this technology, and by the politicians who see it as a way of solving many of the pressing problems of their country and indeed the wider world. The benefits and potential benefits are there for everyone to see, and few doubt that they are genuine. The controversy comes with the potential side effects which the technology can inflict upon the environment or upon human beings who use genetically modified products.

The most commonly stated benefits of genetic engineering are those which affect food crops and yields. The system of agriculture which is used today is heavily chemical based, and this in itself draws plenty of criticism from environmentalist sources. The need to use pesticides is often quoted because of damage which insects and other pests can do to crops, lowering yields and sending prices higher. A genetically modified crop will be resistant to this damage and will be far more consistent in its harvest yields. There will also be more food produced per acre of space as the crop will be engineered to grow as large and productively as possible.

This is not the full extent of the benefits which genetic engineering can bring to food crops. In many parts of the world the quality of the harvest depends upon a varying and fickle climate, to the extent that unseasonably cold or dry weather can completely destroy a crop and waste a lot of resources. New strains can be developed which are able to survive at lower temperatures, and there is always the possibility of cultivating a crop which needs less water. The ultimate benefit of this will be lowered food prices, greater availability, and the possibility of feeding more people in the Third World.

types of genetic engineering

If anything the genetic engineering benefits become even more extreme when you look at the possibilities with animals and human beings, although the expense of implementing the plans and the risks involved will also grow. It is possible to cultivate animals which will grow larger, cows which will have greater milk yields or sheep which will produce more wool, but as of now this cannot be done at a price which makes it viable. There are also potential benefits to humans in having animals used as a testing ground for new drugs, or possibly even growing organs which can be transplanted into human beings.

The benefits of genetic engineering in humans are real, but are shrouded in controversy. Immune system deficiencies have already been successfully treated with genetic therapy, but in some cases leukemia developed as a side effect. Using genetics for other purposes is far more controversial, and many believe the difficulties could outweigh the benefits. A case in point is fertility, which can be solved by genetics but only at the expense of bringing a third genetic profile into the unborn child. This is extremely serious, as it will be passed down through the generations.

genetic engineering

There are many genetic engineering benefits which have already been realized, mainly in the area of plant cultivation and crop yield improvement. It is too early to say yet whether or not any extreme side effects will occur, but for now the system is working. Most of the controversy comes from the fact that many jurisdictions are not applying mandatory labeling to genetically modified food, although this is very difficult to do with accuracy. Better labeling could also serve to raise awareness of the improvement of the crop yields and the genetic engineering benefits.

 

 

 

Genetic Engineering News:

 

FDA Approves First Gene-Altering Leukemia Treatment, Costing $475000 - New York Times

New York Times

FDA Approves First Gene-Altering Leukemia Treatment, Costing $475000
New York Times
The therapy, marketed as Kymriah and made by Novartis, was approved for children and young adults for an aggressive type of leukemia EUR” B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia EUR” that has resisted standard treatment or relapsed. . To customize Kymriah .
FDA approval brings first gene therapy to the United StatesFDA.gov
Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment (PDQ)EUR”Patient Version - National Cancer InstituteNational Cancer Institute

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Leather grown using biotechnology is about to hit the catwalk - The Economist

The Economist

Leather grown using biotechnology is about to hit the catwalk
The Economist
To produce its leather, Modern Meadow begins with a strain of yeast that has been genetically engineered to make a protein identical to bovine collagen. Collagen is the principal structural protein in animal bodies. In particular, it gives strength and .

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Seeds in space EUR how well can they survive harsh, non-Earth conditions? - WTOP

Newsweek

Seeds in space EUR how well can they survive harsh, non-Earth conditions?
WTOP
A second ISS mission called EXPOSE-R included only the three types of Arabidopsis seeds. These received a little over double the dose of . The 11 Arabidopsis plants that did grow from both the wild type and genetically engineered seeds did not .
Frontiers | Phenotypic Changes Exhibited by E. coli Cultured in Space | MicrobiologyFrontiers
Beating Bacteria on Earth -- and in Space | NASANASA

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Genetically Engineered Corals Could Help Save the Coral Reefs - Interesting Engineering

Interesting Engineering

Genetically Engineered Corals Could Help Save the Coral Reefs
Interesting Engineering
One of the reasons it's so resilient to changes that kill other corals is because it has more genetic variation than most other types of algae. . The usual, well-established genetic engineering methods wouldn't work on this particular species .

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Scientists tinker with gene-mapping device to make DNA editing safe - La Crosse Tribune

La Crosse Tribune

Scientists tinker with gene-mapping device to make DNA editing safe
La Crosse Tribune
Stephen Jones, a molecular biology postdoctoral fellow, demonstrates the CHAMP, a device created for scientists to more safely use a new kind of gene editing technique called CRISPR, in the laboratory of University of Texas professor Ilya Finkelstein.

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The Drive for Perfect Children Gets a Little Scary - Bloomberg - Bloomberg

Bloomberg

The Drive for Perfect Children Gets a Little Scary - Bloomberg
Bloomberg
There's a lot of innovation going on in China these days, but perhaps not all of it is good. Chinese fertility centers are going well beyond American practices, .

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Around the web: Concerns with human genetic engineering, Gary Cohn on tax reform, and more - American Enterprise Institute

Around the web: Concerns with human genetic engineering, Gary Cohn on tax reform, and more
American Enterprise Institute
Since then, she's been meeting with stakeholdersEUR•unions and business types and the likeEUR•about how San Francisco, and California, might explore such a thing. Among the issues with a robot tax: What is a robot? Even roboticists have a hard time agreeing.

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RNA discoveries could improve stem cell research - Phys.Org

Phys.Org

RNA discoveries could improve stem cell research
Phys.Org
In the current study, Galat and the other co-authors of the study discovered that the cheRNA sequences are also specifically associated with different types of cells' eventual genetic expression. "Because they are so well associated with . More .

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