This week I thought I’d delve into the genetic engineered stew we seem to have cookin’ round the globe. And you can fess up if you don’t quite understand what all the fuss is about. Starts with a brief explanatory blurby just for you.
Genetic Engineering: Wassup????
Individual living cells make up all living things from single celled bacteria to complex organisms with billions of cells, like ourselves. Genes control the chemical messages within cells that determine the form and functioning of the cell, the organism’s various organs, and the whole organism.These codes of life consist of four chemical building blocks, arranged in pairs, like the treads of a spiral staircase. Millions of different combinations of the basic chemicals determine the different genetic make up of each kind of organism.
Genetic engineering is a set of techniques and processes for altering these genetic codes. Plants, animals, micro-organisms or even humans, that are different in some way from their natural counterparts, can be engineered. Some examples include: blue roses; research mice containing a human cancer gene; pigs and fish with added genes to grow faster and bigger; and herbicide tolerant crop plants.Changes may be passed on to the off-spring of the engineered organism if its germ (reproductive) cells are altered.
(Adapted from an Australian Conservation Foundation pamphlet )
Alba the Flouro Green Glow in the Dark Rabbit
‘Designed’ by Eduardo Kac who has a lot of trangenic experiments under his belt, Alba sure is pretty. So she should be. She’s an artwork. Born in February 2000 and brighter green than dishwashing liquid, Alba is actually an albino rabbit with pink eyes. Alba only glows when illuminated with the correct light. When (and only when) illuminated with blue light, she glows with a bright green light. She was created with a synthetic mutation of the original wild-type green fluorescent gene found in the jellyfish Aequorea Victoria.
The Pink Castle Mutants
Obviously if you want to protest about the growing of some genetically modified crops, you go and maybe do a crop pull and get some media attention. Must be a lot of crop pulls happening in the UK, because these kids seemed to think they’d need to build a flouro pink castle at a farm on top of the genetically modified crops to get media attention. Surprisingly their tactic worked for them and the crops were never properly maintained. The pics alone are worth checking out.
CopyRight Your DNA
At this point, it seems YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR GENES. That is to say you have no personal authority to prevent your genome (your unique DNA sequence spelled out in genetic code) from being replicated by others for a variety of potential uses. What to do? Download the Genetic Code Copyright certificate. This simple fill-in form offers you a means to proclaim ownership of your individual genetic identity. It is a symbolic gesture of your claim to rights that is not a legally recognized act at this time.
Grow Your Own Opinions
Explore the ethics behing genetic engineering in plants and humans.
http://www.geneart.org : ‘See Paradise now on this genetics art stie & Picture the Genetic Revolution with a range of art projects.’
One of the most victimised biotech companies in the world, poor things.