Essay Genetic Engineering : Genetically Engineered Foods

Essay Genetic Engineering : Genetically Engineered Foods

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As the global population increases exponentially, scientists are looking to genetic modification technologies to solve problems related to food shortages and disease outbreak to improve the human condition of a variety of populations throughout the world. Genetic engineering, in particular, holds significant promise in the grand scheme of these scientific ambitions in that its specificity makes it unique among the many modification processes that have been pioneered thus far. Genetic engineering is but one type of genetic manipulation, a general process which targets the genome of an organism to “produce desired traits in plants, animals and microbes” and includes evolutionary selection, interspecies crossing, mutation breeding and somatic hybridization (Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects). This method is defined as “genetic modification that involves an intended targeted change in a plant or animal gene sequence to effect a specific result through the use of rDNA technology” (Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods: Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health Effects). The desired effect may range from improved taste, yield and pest-resistance in plants to loftier goals, such as offering a solution to malarial outbreaks or even ‘gene-editing’ one’s genome to replace illness-causing mutations with healthy DNA. The aptitude of such technologies is surreal and its combination with undeterred ambition and a wide outlook for the future serves as the groundbreaking elements for brighter prospects for many impoverished populations throughout the world.
Currently, a new and emerging technology on the genetic engineering playing field is the CRISPR/Cas9 technology, which edits the genome...


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...pidly and have short generation periods. These features make the A. gambiae species perfect candidates, an honor not bestowed on every species of interest. Currently, the application of the CRISPR/Cas9 system as aspired by scientists, such as Esvelt, researching extensively in this field, is reliant on the role of public opinion- a deciding factor in the road taken concerning the use of this technology. In fact, Esvelt and his colleague, George Church, a professor at Harvard University, are persistent in their belief that “the public help decide whether the research should move forward” (PBS: Genetically Engineering Almost Anything). Their unique decision in allowing and even adamantly insisting, that the public serve as the deciding factor in the success of this technology, represents the face of science as a revolutionizing force in society, all of society, today.

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