Genetically Modified Animals And Plants Etc

MBOU

Recovering LFS Worker
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
4,198
Reaction score
5
Location
GB
Well, thought we could talk here without hijacking some poor members post!

Keep it clean and respect other peoples opinions. I do NOT want this post locked just because some people can't control themselves!

:good:

Here is link to the original post as i dont want to copy the whole thing over:
http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?/topic/397946-glofish/page__gopid__3346534#entry3346534

Here is what we are talking about:

tmiller
Good point..
I would say that they are being bred for profit at this point without a doubt...
But the origin seems legit-ish.

This is defensibly a grey area, and to err on the side of ethics I would have to side with natural vs modified. However I do have to live with my wife so i will let her have these..
And reserve the right to object to any other "modified" fish as i see fit.. Fair???

myself
That asides... as for Glofish... i'm really glad the UK has banned them and all GM fish. I know it doesn't hurt the fish or effect them in any way other than colour... however...

At what point does it stop? If you start allowing little things like this to be done to fish then it is 100% guaranteed to snowball out of control. If we have the chance to stop it and not take part before it gets too far then i'm all for it...

Look at parrot cichlids... that started off all innocently as well im sure, maybe an accidental cross breeding and someone thought it was great!... if we could go back to that point and still know what we do now... we would never let parrot cichlids come about!

Story of our lives this... its not learning from experience because some people are just too stupid to learn from their and others mistakes.

We all know whats done can't be undone... what happens to fish next now they flouresce in daft colours and others now glow in the dark... how far will people take it given free range? Will it stop at fish? I seriously doubt it! How long before these fish make it into the wild... because we all know they will... people ditch fish in rivers all the time... and if the gene can be passed on... how long before all the fish in our rivers glow? What happens when they cant hide from predators? The fish population drops, the predator population booms, its going to have very far reaching negative effects in the long run.

All because people want to play god and toy with nature. Just because they can't appreciate what we already have?

Curiosity101
Having almost finished my genetics degree I can promise you MBOU that your worries aren't really justified.

There are regulations in place to say what can and can't be done via genetics modification (so no snowballing of anything). Genetic modification is done with ALL sorts of genes. And so long as it's for sound research reasons then it's allowed. I even genetically modified some bacteria in my second year (simpler than in animals but same theory).
The only real difference between us and the USA is that they are allowed to sell GM animals to some extent. Where as we have a ban on all GM animal sales. But America still have laws in place on GM animals, they don't have free rein to create and sell whatever they want. Also considering how easy it is to do, as in as a 3rd year geneticist I could insert a gene into an animal near enough on my own... you would be seeing all of these things you feared by now if it were going to snowball.

Final point, they don't glow unless they're under black light. And if they do get released they arne't camouflaged so will be predated on in much higher numbers than the native species. The result is that the gene for the colour is a deleterious trait and so never increases above a very low threshold of frequency.

GM versus Line breeding/cross breeding are two very different things. Cross breeding and line breeding isn't regulated. GM is very tightly regulated.

Edit: Just to add I personally wouldn't buy them. I like to stick to more natural fish but I do pick and choose what line breeding fish I'll have. I wont keep anything crossbred or linebred to the disadvantage of the animal (this goes for anything...fish...dogs...). Everything else though, to me, is fair game.


myself
Here is just a few news articals on whats been done to these animals already.

Glowing Cats
http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-14882008

Glowing Pigs
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4605202.stm

Glowing Monkeys
http://www.metro.co....he-dark-monkeys

Glowing Mice
http://news.bbc.co.u...tech/343929.stm

Glowing Dog
http://www.metro.co....in-the-dark-dog

Glowing Rabbit
http://www.thesun.co...rk-bunnies.html

Glowing Axolotl
http://aspen.conncol...u/news/5699.cfm

GM Glowing Insects
http://news.bbc.co.u...tech/535240.stm


All in the name of science... we can all see how this is gonig to help cure awful diseases like AIDs and Malaria... but...

Then you get the money side of things... IMO these animals should never be available to the public at any point... For once the UK has it right in being so strictly regulated

How about some tasty Glofish Sushi? Anyone fancy eating some poor modified zebra danios?!

http://www.dailymail...ze-America.html

EDIT: I know there is a mssive difference betwen GM and parrot fish being bred but there isnt exactly much to compare it to

It is still only a matter of time before it gets out of hand, not anything to do with the actual practise of genetically modifying stuff (which isnt what im against as such!) but its the people that have the ability to modify animals or access to steal them... it will happen, humans are predictable

Same GM crops, was watching the protest about the crops GM to keep away aphids. But if there is no aphids then there is no ladybirds. And if there is no ladybirds then there are far less little birds or the little birds decimate other insect species instead... and it will all have consequences in the end.

Curiosity101
I agree with the fact I don't think any of them should be for sale... they were created for research purposes not food chain/sale. But that doesn't mean it will snowball to anything more than it already is... seriously.

And as for the crops. It's not a matter of aphids or no aphids. It's a matter of insecticide (which is poisonous and in some cases broken down to carcinogens in humans) vs GM which is harmless. If they're going to spray insecticides (which are non specific and kill everything) then I prefer GM.

:good:

Its an interesting conversation, especially with someone so knowlegable on genetics as Curiosity101.

Enjoy.
 

Curiosity101

Is now at University! :D
Joined
Mar 26, 2009
Messages
5,527
Reaction score
3
Location
Uk, Nottinghamshire
Just so I have this stated near the beginning... I'm not claiming to be an expert in everything genetics... but I definitely feel comfortable commenting on various aspects of it.
(Not saying you said I was claiming to be an expert MBOU... I'm just making sure no one thinks I'm trying to make out I am).

But yes... I can't see GM animals snowballing into anything mainstream or worrying. It's a fair point that if people become completely de sensitized to it then I can see how there might be a surge in popularity for GM animals in an aesthetic concept (although not in the UK as I can't see a reason for them ever changing that law). However I would expect that if that happened that the countries (with the exception of Japan/Korea) would probably move to ban it based on the risk of release into the wild (if that is an issue for the organism in question).
Although GM is safe for the animals in question there are risks that, depending on the modification, it could confer an advantage over native species that the natural species wouldn't have.

I know you listed all of those animals that have been modified. But alot of those were originally made to test theories of inserting the gene. GM isn't done in one way, particularly when you consider humans and medical research. The FPs (flourescent proteins) are used as 'reporter' genes. They use it for marking all sorts of things and are constantly developing different ways of introducing it and activating it to look at various aspects of biology (particularly development).
 

tmiller

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Messages
136
Reaction score
0
Location
Colorado USA
This was a question , originally based on my own concern towards what is best explained by the more learned of us as " GM animals snowballing into anything mainstream"
And I fully endorse the discussion and I am humbled by the actual knowledge and reference already presented..
If it wont snowball then ..
This is a worrisome website concerning the "Glofish" that In my opinion already has... "From original post" .
It explains the source, but also sensationalizes the modification.. This site is obviously for profit!!!

I will leave the rest to the more educated of us to discern..
I wont reverse hijack a polite exit from the original thread
However as most ethical Subjects go I ask that it stick to facts not conjecture nor personal prejudice unless labeled as such.

Oh hell , go wild , its your thread now...
 

Curiosity101

Is now at University! :D
Joined
Mar 26, 2009
Messages
5,527
Reaction score
3
Location
Uk, Nottinghamshire
Just to add the main safety issues with respect to GM organisms is gene transfer to other species (for example crop plants to other closely related plants). And the fact that inserting one gene may have further consequences than just the initial one.

I realised I said earlier that GM crops were 'safe' and technically I should elaborate on what I meant. What I mean is that the gene inserted will be known, and it's function known. It will also be inserted into a known position so that it definitely wont be affecting anything in the initial insertion. But the main 'risk' is that the gene product could have minor (normally major effects would already be predictable) effects on other aspects of the biology of the organism. The potential will be thoroughly checked though through various techniques, I'm just guessing here but I'd imagine at the very least they'd do a gene expression assay. All this means is they would say 'What was the original plant making' vs ' What is this GM plant now doing'. You would expect to see a specific change based on your insertion but you could easily check the whole set for other changes and then investigate those fully.
I've got to admit I never took the ethics module so I'm rusty on the ins and outs and alot of it is a mixture of guesswork at the actual process with the understanding of what I know I would/wouldn't be allowed to do in a lab.

So just to sum up the insertion will normally be fine for the organism and fine for consumption by people. But there is definitely an argument for 'If we don't fully understand the whole of the biology of the organism... ie. every single pathway' then we can't know for sure.
It's just not a particularly strong argument because the point is that based on what we do know you can normally make a very well educated guess, particularly since DNA sequencing is so accessible now.

People can even predict protein function very accurately simple based on a DNA sequence.
 

Curiosity101

Is now at University! :D
Joined
Mar 26, 2009
Messages
5,527
Reaction score
3
Location
Uk, Nottinghamshire
I just had a very brief look into whether fish are now being used for testing water for pollutants using the fluorescence genes and came up with this (plus others).

Generation of a fluorescent transgenic zebrafish for detection of environmental estrogens - 2010 - AQUATIC TOXICOLOGY

Although pollutant testing isn't the only thing it is used for obviously. Once they establish what they can do, that's when people start developing better ways and also start applying it to other avenues. Particularly as we hold alot of things in common with many different animals (genetically speaking). As human testing isn't allowed it stands to reason that we'll try the same techniques in multiple organisms.
 

tmiller

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Messages
136
Reaction score
0
Location
Colorado USA
I just had a very brief look into whether fish are now being used for testing water for pollutants using the fluorescence genes and came up with this (plus others).

Generation of a fluorescent transgenic zebrafish for detection of environmental estrogens - 2010 - AQUATIC TOXICOLOGY

Although pollutant testing isn't the only thing it is used for obviously. Once they establish what they can do, that's when people start developing better ways and also start applying it to other avenues. Particularly as we hold alot of things in common with many different animals (genetically speaking). As human testing isn't allowed it stands to reason that we'll try the same techniques in multiple organisms.
As this is obviously useful in the research, and invaluable in that respect I do not question that .. how is it justifiable to sale them to the general public as pets giving profit to the middle men and lfs??

Is there a hidden kickback to pollutant testing, or any other research we are, as consumers helping to further?? Or are we inadvertently furthering a genetic pollutant that cant be removed?

The existence of and usefulness as a scientific tool is not in question here... the question is GM animals for profit!!!

As it may not be degrading to the organism visually nor in any openly recognizable way does not define its legitimate place dangling centimeters away from the open ecosystem..
ie "So just to sum up the insertion will normally be fine for the organism and fine for consumption by people. But there is definitely an argument for 'If we don't fully understand the whole of the biology of the organism... ie. every single pathway' then we can't know for sure."

I'm rescinding my approving nod and willing to stand my ground against my wife ( this should not be a good time) pending a bit more thought..

this does not however dictate a solid stance on the subject.. just a retreat for better thought and information gathering ..
 

Curiosity101

Is now at University! :D
Joined
Mar 26, 2009
Messages
5,527
Reaction score
3
Location
Uk, Nottinghamshire
I don't understand the public sale side of things. The only reason I can see to 'justify' it so to speak is if the funds are put directly back into research as research (in general) is extremely expensive. I do feel like selling something genetically modified (ie. making it easily available to the mass market) is definitely asking for trouble in terms of the knock on effect it could have in the wild if/when the animals are released. But like I said earlier the risk of glofish is probably quite minimal... so it really would depends on each particular case. There is also the point that however minimal the risk, because there is a small element of the 'unknown' the risk has to be justifiable. Ie. Worth it for massively increased food production, not worth it for allowing people to have 'glow in the dark sushi'.

However having said that, I would say I'm much less against the sale of GM animals, specifically if the modification is just aesthetic which I'd imagine is the only modification the public would ever be interested in, than I am against un-regulated line breeding that is done with no knowledge/care of the animals health. However because line breeding is 'natural' due to being done by breeding it is somehow more acceptable? (not aimed at you... it's a general question on peoples perspectives).

Put it this way, I'm certainly glad I'm not sat on an ethics committee as I imagine the amount of knowledge you must need to make a fully thought through decision is immense.

Is there a hidden kickback to pollutant testing, or any other research we are, as consumers helping to further?? Or are we inadvertently furthering a genetic pollutant that cant be removed?

I didn't entirely understand this?
 
OP
OP
MBOU

MBOU

Recovering LFS Worker
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
4,198
Reaction score
5
Location
GB
Put it this way, I'm certainly glad I'm not sat on an ethics committee as I imagine the amount of knowledge you must need to make a fully thought through decision is immense.

Now that... is how I feel LOL

I do agree, in reality, people are doing far more damage breeding, to be honest... it goes for people too ;) there are a lot of people out there that could do with being steralised!! Let alone their poor animals!
 

Most reactions

Top