What Is The Future Of Genetic Engineering In Animals?

Genetic engineering in animals is the second stage of the intended advance of this technology, after the stage where plants are genetically modified to try to improve crop yields. There can several reasons why scientists would want to change the genetic profile of animals, from the simple consideration of improving milk yields in cattle to actually attempting to create animals whose organs can be transplanted into humans. There are huge moral arguments raging concerning all of these issues, as well as doubts as to the feasibility of actually putting many of the theories into practice.

The most obvious application of animal genetic engineering is in improving the food yields of farm animals. This can be extended to include other consumable products derived from farms, such as the wool from sheep. As of now, there are no commercial applications of this technology yet in use, as the expense of applying them would outweigh the savings to be made from the extra yields. Nevertheless, it is possible at least in theory to grow larger animals for meat, to extract more milk from cows, and to breed hens which will lay more eggs. These technologies may well be developed as side benefits of other animal genetic experiments.

Far less publicized is the possibility of using specially bred animals to test drugs for use in human beings. The idea is to breed farm animals which are as similar as possible to humans in the way they react to pharmaceutical products, and then to use these animals to try to test drugs before they are given to humans. If this could be done successfully, it would greatly lessen the expense involved in developing drugs which could be of great benefit to the sufferers of many illnesses. There are, of course, many difficult ethical considerations to overcome with this practice.

types of genetic engineering

Even more controversial is the use of genetic engineering in animals to create organs which can be transplanted into human beings. An example of this is the heart of a pig, which in theory could replace a malfunctioning human heart and carry out the same job, if only the human body did not reject it. An ordinary pig heart would always be rejected by a human recipient, but a heart from a pig which has been genetically modified may well not be. This technique will not be limited to heart transplants, it could be used for any organ which will function as the original organ functioned.

Whether any of these potential technologies ever come to fruition remains to be seen, but there is a high chance that they will. The testing of drugs on animals is something which the cash rich pharmaceutical industry will desperately want to do, as it will increase their profits which allowing them to get the drugs into the hands of more people. Farming technologies are less clear cut, as there are other drug based methods of improving yields which are far cheaper to implement. Only the future will tell which of the viable technologies are also financially viable.

genetic engineering

The moral and philosophical considerations with genetic engineering in animals are obviously extreme, and people on both sides of the fence are vehement in arguing their cause, and entirely convinced that they are right. It is also impossible to predict with accuracy what will happen with the laws concerning these experiments, but so far governments throughout the Western world have licensed genetically modified food, and some don't even require it to be labeled. History suggests that financial interests are likely to come out on top whenever there is a debate, and this will probably happen with genetic engineering in animals.

 

 

 

Genetic Engineering News:

 

Virus stampingEUR”a versatile new method for genetic engineering of single cells - Phys.Org

Phys.Org

Virus stampingEUR”a versatile new method for genetic engineering of single cells
Phys.Org
For decades now, scientists have used viruses as vehicles for introducing new genes into cells. Different types of viruses such as lentivirus, herpes simplex and adeno-associated viruses can be used to genetically engineer individual cells or cellular .

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Microsoft to use artificial intelligence to improve CRISPR - Digital Journal

Digital Journal

Microsoft to use artificial intelligence to improve CRISPR
Digital Journal
There is considerably scientific interest in CRISPR, the gene editing technology, especially in the potential to address genetic diseases. To speed up development, Microsoft plans to harness artificial intelligence. The primary medical potential of the .

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Gene therapy offers long-term treatment for mice with diabetes - Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

Gene therapy offers long-term treatment for mice with diabetes
Los Angeles Times
But advances in genetic engineering have made it possible to disarm viruses of their ability to sicken people without compromising their knack for sneaking into cells and altering their DNA. With hundreds of experimental gene therapies now under .

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Pakistani database to help deal with genetic disorders - SciDev.Net

SciDev.Net

Pakistani database to help deal with genetic disorders
SciDev.Net
[ISLAMABAD] Pakistan, a country with a high rate of marriages among close relatives, has taken a step towards dealing with inherited disorders by establishing a genetic mutation database, or mutome, that the developers say will help provide genetic .

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Long-lasting flu vaccine could replace yearly shots - Science News for Students

Science News for Students

Long-lasting flu vaccine could replace yearly shots
Science News for Students
(in genetics) A quality or characteristic that can be inherited. vaccine (v. vaccinate) A biological mixture that resembles a disease-causing agent. It is given to help the body create immunity to a particular disease. The injections used to administer .

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Biotech Crashes the Pest Party - AgWeb

AgWeb

Biotech Crashes the Pest Party
AgWeb
EURśGrowers need tools and this one is species-specific. There are so many concerns about the broad-spectrum effect of some insecticides on pollinators,EURť he notes. EURśIf something as benign as genetic engineering helps control insects, growers will want to .

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Scientists Grow 3D Hairy Mouse Skin without Using Embryonic Tissue - Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Scientists Grow 3D Hairy Mouse Skin without Using Embryonic Tissue
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Scientists in the U.S. have grown mouse skin tissue complete with hair follicles (HFs) directly from mouse pluripotent stem cells (mPSCs). The hairy skin more closely resembles natural mouse skin than existing lab-grown tissue that is constructed by .

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