Gene editing and manipulation is a newer, but rapidly growing field. We have the ability to change, add or delete genes in human embryos, adults and plants alike. We are going to explore both of these topics for this forum. You are to CHOOSE ONE of the ideas below and follow the direction.
Understand the methods and impacts of gene editing on humans and plants
Choice 1: Editing Human Embryos and Adults
With respect to gene editing in human embryos, most research is focused on fixing or removing harmful mutations that may cause diseases, but there are some fears of creating designer babies. In addition, we can edit the genes in adults, if we use a targeted approach. Read the articles below, and then respond to the prompt.
Pro and Con: Should Gene Editing be Performed on Human Embryos? Pro by Harris (2016) and Con by Darnovsky (2016).
A human has been injected with gene-editing tools to cure his disabling disease. Here’s what you need to know. (Kaiser, 2017) http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/11/human-has-been-injected-gene-editing-tools-cure-his-disabling-disease-here-s-what-you
CRISPR fixes disease gene in viable human embryos (Ledford, 2017)
The first CRISPR edited babies are (probably) here. Now What? From: Science Friday
For your original post:
Find a reputable resource, making sure to add an attribute or URL so that we can all view it, concerning gene editing in human embryos or adults.
Make sure to add a descriptive title so that others know what you are discussing.
Briefly summarize the main take home points of the research – make sure to include scientific terminology and discussion (remember, we are in a biology class!).
Some questions to consider: What is your take on the research? Are there any benefits and/or costs? Should we be focusing on this? Is there reason for concern?
Choice 2: Genetic Engineering of Plants
Genetically engineered crops are another controversial topic. They first began as a way to allow those in third world countries to grow crops that could survive in less than ideal conditions (such as drought tolerance, higher yield), and/or were higher in nutrition, meaning there was more benefit to each bite – dubbed the “Green Revolution.” You can read about it from Pingali (2012).
If you would like a little more background on genetic engineering in plants, read these resources:
Genetic engineering and GM crops (ISAAA, 2016)
Safety of genetically engineered foods (NRC, 2004)
Genetically modified plants and human health (Key, Ma & Drake, 2008)
For your original post:
You are to find a resource, making sure to add an attribute or URL so that we can all view it, on genetic engineering of plants. You can choose a specific plant, or discuss the generic practice of modification – but it must be different than anyone else in the class or you will not receive credit.
Make sure the title of your post is descriptive so that others know what you are discussing.
Briefly summarize the main take home points of the research – make sure you use proper scientific terminology and discussion (remember we are in a biology class).
Some questions to consider: Is it ethically responsible to engineer plants? Does it make a difference whether they are geared towards first or third world countries? Will they help or hinder our efforts to feed the ever-growing world population?
Darnovsky, M. (2016). Con: Do not open the door to editing genes in future humans. National Geographic. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/08/human-gene-editing-pro-con-opinions/
Harris, J. (2016). Pro: Research on gene editing in humans must continue. National Geographic. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/08/human-gene-editing-pro-con-opinions/
ISAAA. (2016). Genetic Engineering and GM Crops. Pocket K No. 17. Retrieved from http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/pocketk/17/default.asp
Kaiser, J. (2017, Nov 15). A human has been injected with gene-editing tools to cure his disabling disease. Here’s what you need to know. Science. Retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/11/human-has-been-injected-gene-editing-tools-cure-his-disabling-disease-here-s-what-you
Key, S., Ma, J. K.-C., & Drake, P. M. (2008). Genetically modified plants and human health. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 101(6), 290–298. http://doi.org/10.1258/jrsm.2008.070372
Ledford, H. (2017). CRISPR fixes disease gene in viable human embryos. Nature. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/news/crispr-fixes-disease-gene-in-viable-human-embryos-1.22382
National Research Council (US) Committee on Identifying and Assessing Unintended Effects of Genetically Engineered Foods on Human Health. (2004). Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US). 2, Methods and Mechanisms for Genetic Manipulation of Plants, Animals, and Microorganisms. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK215771/
Pingali, P. L. (2012). Green Revolution: Impacts, limits, and the path ahead. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(31), 12302–12308. http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0912953109