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For years scientists have failed to discover why as many as one in five pregnancies in a small Brazilian town have resulted in twins – most of them blond haired and blue eyed.
While the twins birthrate varies widely in different countries, it is typically about one in 80 pregnancies – a statistic that has left Mr Camarasa certain in his claim that Mengele was successfully pursuing his dreams of creating a master race, a real-life Boys from Brazil.
But this herd of 13 bulls, cows and calves known as Heck cattle is the product of Nazi genetic engineering, an attempt to reintroduce the extinct aurochs, the last of which died of old age in a Polish forest nearly four centuries ago.
Eduardo Kac, a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago,
has teamed up with French geneticists to produce a rabbit that glows in
the dark by injecting rabbit zygotes with a fluorescent protein gene
derived from jellyfish.
Our culture teeters on the edge of a steep and dangerous precipice. New technologies will soon allow us to change, radically and permanently, the world in which we live. Indeed, we will hold in our hands the capability of directly and purposefully changing who we are as human beings. The technology I am speaking of is genetic engineering.
This does not mean that someone, somewhere, won't use biotechnology to produce a superbug intentionally. Certainly this technology can be used to produce even more powerful and resistant agents of biological warfare. Some even speculated that HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS, was intentionally produced. Though this hypothesis has been successfully refuted, the prospect remains that DNA recombinant technology has opened up a new field that can be used for evil.
Genetic engineering is going to become a very mainstream part of our lives sooner or later, because there are so many possibilities advantages (and disadvantages) involved. Here are just some of the advantages :
• Disease could be prevented by detecting people/plants/animals that are genetically prone to certain hereditary diseases, and preparing for the inevitable. Also, infectious diseases can be treated by implanting genes that code for antiviral proteins specific to each antigen.
• Animals and plants can be 'tailor made' to show desirable characteristics. Genes could also be manipulated in trees for example, to absorb more CO2 and reduce the threat of global warming.
• Genetic Engineering could increase genetic diversity, and produce more variant alleles which could also be crossed over and implanted into other species. It is possible to alter the genetics of wheat plants to grow insulin for example.
Of course there are two sides to the coin, here are some possible eventualities and disadvantages.
• Nature is an extremely complex inter-related chain consisting of many species linked in the food chain. Some scientists believe that introducing genetically modified genes may have an irreversible effect with consequences yet unknown.
• Genetic engineering borderlines on many moral issues, particularly involving religion, which questions whether man has the right to manipulate the laws and course of nature.
Reject genetic engineering of smallpox, NGOs urge WHO
Rapid developments in biotechnology, genetics and genomics are undoubtedly creating a variety of environmental, ethical, political and social challenges for advanced societies. But they also have severe implications for international peace and security because they open up tremendous avenues for the creation of new biological weapons.
Many other genetically engineered mouse models are proving unreliable. Retinoblastomas are tumours of the developing retina and occur exclusively in children. They arise when a cancer-suppressing gene is disabled in some way. However, when a similar gene is disrupted in mice, the animals do not develop retinal tumours.32 Robin Holliday of the CSIRO Laboratory for Molecular Biology in Australia points out that such differences should not be surprising since ‘….tumour-suppressor genes and onco-genes (cancer genes) behave very differently in mouse and man.’33
As we saw in our series on genetic engineering of food crops,
genetic "engineers" are now moving genes around among plants,
animals, and bacteria on a regular basis, but with very little
understanding of the possible consequences, and almost no safety
testing. Now genetic engineers are starting to modify the genes
of humans, using three approaches: 1) cloning, 2) somatic cell
manipulation, and 3) human germline manipulation.
The designer marmosets carry a gene that causes their skin, hair roots and blood to glow green under ultraviolet light.
These are glo fish, the first genetically modified animal to be sold as a pet. They are bred from the offspring of genetically engineered fluorescent zebra fish.
(photo courtesy of www.glofish.com)
A Dutch biotechnology company call Pharming has genetically engineered cows, out fitting females with a human gene that causes them to express high levels of the protein human lactoferrin in their milk.
It is vitally important that we, as a society, protect ourselves and future generations against the dangers of irreversible gene pollution. The policing of such research will not be done by the biotech industry, who are strongly incentivized to experiment with and commercialize their gene mutations. Nor is the government, which has close economic ties with the biotech industry, monitoring such research. Therefore, we must do it.
Putting the matter plainly: when foreign genes are introduced into an organism, creating a transgenic organism (commonly called a genetically modified or genetically engineered organism), the results for the organism and its environment are almost always unpredictable. The intended result may or may not be achieved in any given case, but the one almost sure thing is that unintended results - nontarget effects - will also be achieved.
Just because Weed Nemesis™ unexpectedly emits a bio-luminescent glow after animals have repeatedly urinated on it is no cause for alarm. The plants in Avatar glowed and that wasn’t a problem for anyone. Scientists just never bothered to turn the lights off during testing, and as a consequence they just failed to notice this inexplicable photonic effect (which is usually a soft pink hue, but which can also be found in a variety of consumer-friendly colors).
The plant in question is rice, but it has been spliced with human DNA that will make it grow a protein found in both human breast milk and saliva. Ventria Bioscience, the California-based firm behind the crop, says the protein can be used to treat children with diarrhoea
Under the new laws, British scientists will get the right to conduct the most far reaching research into hybrid embryos in the world..
There are pigs with human blood, and rabbit eggs fused with DNA to help crippled mice walk.
The American Anti-Vivisection Society, which staunchly abhors animal patenting, estimates that up to 50 million animals are used in genetic engineering experiments annually in the United States alone — all in a bid to create what the group calls “unnatural new animals.”
The government has rejected some of the most controversial proposed patents, including the “humanzee,” a half man, half chimp. It was denied in 2005 because it was too human.
The patent office’s 1987 decision said the government “now considers non-naturally occurring nonhuman multicellular living organisms, including animals, to be patentable subject matter.”
Testing Methods Using OncoMouse® Transgenic Models of Cancer
But in an age when science is increasingly melding human and animal components for research -- already the government has allowed many patents on "humanized" animals, including a mouse with a human immune system -- the decision leaves a crucial question unanswered: At what point is something too human to patent?
Canada bans all chimera research, but the Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2009 failed to pass the U.S. Congress.
The prospect of chimeras has alarmed the religious right, which has sought to ban such research outright. In March 2005, Senator Brownback (R-KS) introduced a bill to prohibit human chimeras. That goes way too far.
The other lesson to carry away is that Adolph Hitler and his Nazi cohorts were absolutely wrong about the best way to produce superior human beings.
A friend from India told me many years ago, that if America survived as long as India had, everyone here would be some shade of tan. That is something I believe we should look forward to. Hybrids rule!
Even aside from our biological passengers, we have to accept that we're all genetic mongrels, having gradually accumulated the same genetic material as millions of fellow creatures, including viruses, bacteria and houseflies, during the course of our evolution. Doubtless this sharing of our genetic heritage with our biological forebears, is what confused Edward Leigh when he declared having been told "by a scientist" that he was "80% mouse" and "30% daffodil". I'm not sure if either is true, but we do share half our DNA with the humble banana!
While cinematic scientists such as those in "Splice" unwittingly unleash horrific monsters, real genetic scientists strive to help create hardier and healthier plant and animal hybrids. Drs. Frankenstein and Moreau need not apply.
Originally posted by Raist
All of those images are real, but how long before we have this?