Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Genetic engineering: How to make your dragon the finale

dragon_evolution_by_madsismo-d4j9c70.jpg

http://madsismo.deviantart.com/art/Dragon-evolution-274213116

We have finally reached the ending of the series. If you haven’t read or want to read part one and part two is suggest following these links and reviewing what we’ve done so far.

Today we will be looking into the issues of genetic engineering by looking into how it can help our world and what issues could arise from these modifications. A good quick summary of genetic engineering is the YouTube video from AFP as it gives a brief explanation of the aim or genetic engineering and then talks about some of the conflict between views on the subject

First we will look at the possible benefits of genetic modification. For agricultural means we could increase harvest yield, nutritional values and pest resistance. All of these things could be great for human society as we could produce more food in the same area with more nutritional values, therefor feeding a larger range of people for less money and land. In animal and human means we could remove genetic disorders from an embryo so that the organism that is born isn’t inflicted with the disorder through their entire life and in the case of animals would actually save a lot of animals lives here they wouldn’t have been able to survive in the wild with the disorder. In theory we could also determine what some one would look like later in their life even before they are born or show distinguishing features such as height.

children-designer_babies-brands-babies-genes-birth-cgo0187_low.jpg

https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/d/designer_baby.asp

Now to look at some of the counter arguments for genetic modification. I guess the first argument that we have to look at is in the agricultural area. It has been said and sometimes thought of that genetically modified plants and meats are harmful to the human body. Unfortunately currently their isn’t any consistent evidence to suggest that they are harmful nor that they are non-harmful. The only way to actually find out more information would be to continue doing research into the consumption of genetically modified food and how humans react to it.

Another argument that comes up is the problem of limiting genetic variation. This is one problem that provides a reasonable argument against using genetic engineering frequently. This comes to the theory of evolution and the thought of survival of the fittest. If we go removing genes or modifying genes from the gene pool of species we could in fact harm them in the long run as they may encounter a situation where the modification may wipe out the species as they may be unable to react to a certain situation. Say for instance a certain disease that effects a certain gene and suddenly there are no individuals from the species invulnerable to the disease and they are suddenly wiped out.

'Ok...on the count of three, we evolve into piranha.'

‘Ok…on the count of three, we evolve into piranha.’

https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/e/evolution.asp

But in the end this series of posts was to look at how we could use this information to create a dragon. Although personally I’d love to see a giant fire-breathing lizard the potential dangers of creating an entirely new species is something that may not be a smart thing to do. What if we accidentally made dragons smarter then us. We could wipe ourselves out by accident.

Can we make a dragon? In theory, yes. Would it be advised, No probably not.

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2 comments on “Genetic engineering: How to make your dragon the finale

  1. chrisjhicks
    May 8, 2016

    I’m very disappointed. You did not tell me how to make a dragon. Or show me anyone making me a dragon.

    That said, thank you for bringing up the issue of genetic engineering resulting in gene pool monocultures. (See Irish Potato famine, etc.) People often forget about it.

    If you were to continue this, seriously thinking about designing a dragon. You’d have to talk about genetics of body plans (aka morphogenesis), particularly going for a western four legs + two wings style dragon. And maybe various venom/acid spitters. How close to breathing fire does the natural world get?

    But this is why we need people thinking about the ethics isn’t it? To stop people like me just going and making a dragon. (Or Jurassic Park)

    Like

    • chrisjhicks
      May 8, 2016

      I forgot to add, designer pets have started with micro-pigs made in China.

      Like

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This entry was posted on May 8, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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