2. When you hear the word GMOs,
what first comes to your mind?
A. Danger/Something bad
D. Good/Something helpful
E. Nothing/ I don’t really know what a GMO is….
3. What is a GMO?
A genetically modified organism (GMO)
is any organism whose genetic material
has been altered using genetic
» Genetic engineering alters the genetic
make-up of an organism using
techniques that remove heritable material
or that introduce DNA prepared outside
the organism either directly into the host
or into a cell that is then fused or
hybridized with the host. This involves
using recombinant nucleic acid (DNA
or RNA) techniques to form new
combinations of heritable genetic
material followed by the incorporation of
that material into the host organism.
4. DNA from
• Recombinant nucleic acids (rDNA or rRNA)
are the general name for result of taking a piece
of one DNA and combining it with another
strand of DNA. Recombinant DNA molecules
are sometimes called chimeric DNA, because
they are usually made of material from two
• If genetic material from another species
is added to the host, the resulting
organism is called transgenic.
• If genetic material from the same
species or a species that can naturally
breed with the host is used the resulting
organism is called cisgenic.
• Genetic engineering can also be used to
remove genetic material from the target
organism, creating a gene knockout
5. Controversy starting with… definitions?
• In the United States, genetic engineering does not
normally include traditional animal and plant
breeding, in vitro fertilization, induction of
polyploidy, mutagenesis, and cell fusion
techniques that do not use recombinant nucleic
acids or a genetically modified organism in the
process. The above listed techniques would be
considered means for genetic modification.
• However, the European Commission has defined
genetic engineering broadly as including selective
breeding and other means of artificial selection
such as those techniques listed above. Thus, in
Europe genetic modification is synonymous with
6. GMOs are everywhere
GMOs are the source of
genetically modified foods,
and are also widely used in
scientific research and to
produce goods other than
7. GMO Research
• Improvement of crop yields
• Herbicide resistance
• Insect resistance
• Drought, frost, and disease
• Increased tolerance to salinity,
floods, and low nutrients
• Increased nutrients produced
– Golden rice
• Vaccines transport/intake
• Human insulin injections
• Human growth hormone,
• Blood clotting factor VIII
• Hepatitis B vaccine
• Diagnosing HIV infection
8. • Bt bacterium produce Cry toxins that
have specific activities against insect
species of the orders Lepidoptera (moths
and butterflies), Diptera (flies and
mosquitoes), Coleoptera (beetles), and
Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, ants and
• Thus, Bt serves as an important source of
Cry toxins for production of biological
insecticides and insect-resistant
genetically modified crops.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) - 1996
9. Roundup Ready Crops - 1996
• Roundup Ready crops are crops
genetically modified to be resistant to the
herbicide Roundup. Roundup is the
brand-name of a herbicide produced by
Monsanto. Its active ingredient
glyphosate was patented in the 1970s.
• These crops were developed to help
farmers control weeds. Because the new
crops are resistant to Roundup, the
herbicide can be used in the fields to
eliminate unwanted sensitive plants.
Current Roundup Ready crops include
soy, corn, canola, alfalfa, and cotton.
10. Stacked traits are more common
11. Bt and HT Problems
Toxins affect non-
Genetic drift to
“Super Species” –
members of a
unable to be
26. If you could buy a glow in the dark pet, would
A. HELL YES! That would be the coolest thing ever!
B. No… way too freaky for me!
C. I would, but I’m allergic
D. Meh. I have better things to spend my money on.
These animals could cost anywhere between $6,000 and $28,000!
28. The Malaria Endemic
• Malaria kills more than 1 million
people a year
• 90% of malaria deaths occur among
young children in sub-Saharan Africa
• Because malaria causes so much
illness and death, the disease is a
great drain on many national
economies. Since many countries
with malaria are already among the
poorer nations, the disease maintains
a vicious cycle of disease and poverty.
29. Malaria Resistant Mosquitoes
• Researchers led by Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena at the Malaria Research Institute at
Johns Hopkins University in Maryland created genetically modified
mosquitoes by giving them a gene that made it impossible for them to
pass on the plasmodium parasite that causes malaria. Around 1,200 GM
mosquitoes were then released into a cage holding malaria-infected mice and
the same number of wild mosquitoes.
• Over time, the researchers found that the GM mosquitoes slowly became the
majority, reaching 70% in nine generations. The scientists believe that even
though malaria-resistance weakened the mosquitoes by making them immune
to the parasite, they fared better in the long term than insects infected with it
because they lived longer and laid more eggs.
• "This fitness advantage has important implications for devising malaria control
strategies," the team write in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy
30. Left: Mosquitoes become infected with the malaria parasite upon taking an infected human blood-meal.
This produces an oocyst in the mosquito's gut wall (orange). When the oocyst ruptures, it releases sporozoites
that pass through the gut (red) and into the hemocoel (white). The sporozoites are then amplified and migrate
through the mosquito's body to the salivary glands, ready to infect a new human.
Right: The laboratory of Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena at Johns Hopkins University has identified receptor sites
for proteins that are necessary for the malaria parasite to pass through the gut wall after the oocyst
ruptures. The same receptors are involved with the passage of sporozoites into the salivary glands. The
laboratory has produced small proteins that preferentially occupy these sites (blue), blocking transmission
of sporozoites through the gut wall and into the salivary glands.
31. Dengue Fever and Chikungunya
• High fever – up to 105°F
• Severe headaches
• Retro-orbital pain
• Joint and muscle pain
• Nausea, Vomiting, Rashes
• Bleeding from the nose,
gums, and under the skin
32. Above: Male mosquitoes created in the laboratories
of Oxford University and Oxitec, a biotechnology
company located in the south of England.
These male mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti species
will be on a mission to mate, but not to breed.
They are in fact designed to cause the wild females
with whom they mate to produce offspring that
die at the pupa stage with the aim of
significantly reducing the native population
below the numbers required to sustain dengue fever
33. Researchers at Oxitec Limited,
created sterile male mosquitoes by
manipulating the insects' DNA.
Scientists in the Cayman Islands
released 3 million mutant male
mosquitoes to mate with wild
female mosquitoes of the same
species. That meant they wouldn't
be able to produce any offspring,
which would lower the population.
Mosquito numbers in that region
dropped by 80 percent compared
with a neighboring area where no
sterile male mosquitoes were
What happens in the long run?
"Nature often does just fine controlling its
problems until we come along and blunder into
it," Pete Riley, an anti-GM campaign director
told the AP.
38. Florida needs an effective Mosquito control plan
Florida must have research to continue
the effectiveness and efficiency of
Florida mosquito control to ensure
Florida’s health and well-being.
Contact Florida Mosquito Control Association
39. • Critics worry that genetically
engineering mosquitoes and
releasing them into the
wild—one proposed method
for controlling the spread of
malaria and other diseases —
could cause those diseases to
become more virulent.
40. What could possibly go wrong?
• Once an organism is released into a new environment, it acts as an invasive or exotic species
which at times is detrimental to that environment. And it is recognized that invasive species
form the third most important factor for environmental destruction the world over after habitat
destruction and overkill of species. Twenty-four rabbits initially introduced to Australia have
reproduced so successfully that they are seriously eating and destroying an already fragile
• GM mosquitoes are an invasive/exotic species because they have new traits not
available in other mosquito species. Additionally, Aedes aegypti is an introduced species to
Malaysia, and is already considered an invasive species. And how the genetic modification
would affect these characteristics are currently unknown.
• Another form of unintended consequences could come from the genetic engineering process
itself. When a new gene construct from one species is engineered to a target species, in this case
the Aedes mosquito, the introduction can cause new behaviors apart from the intended
ones, for example more aggressive mating or feeding behaviors.
• The larvae of the mosquitoes will die if there is no tetracycline, an antibiotic, in the
water. But this antibiotic, which has been around since the 1950s, is widely used.
42. Why the big deal?
• The Screwworm fly is an insect parasite of warm blooded
animals such as livestock, pets, and even humans.
• Prefers hot, humid climates – prevalent in the Southern US
where large cattle ranches are found.
• Two species of Screwworm fly
– “Old world”
– “New world”
• Adult flies breed in the wounds or open orifices of
• They lay up to 250 eggs in the injury.
• Larvae enter the wound further and chew their way into the
• They cause extensive tissue damage and are hard to treat
once inside the animal.
• Infested animals can die from infection and loss of tissue
44. Screwworm fly control
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists demonstrated that both sexes of screwworm flies
could be made sexually sterile by irradiating them as pupae.
45. Sterile insect technique is a method of biological control,
whereby millions of sterile insects are released.
Screwworm flies mate once
in a lifetime, and if one of
the insect pair has been
sterilized with gamma rays,
neither will reproduce. The
use of radioactivity for insect
control was the first
successful peaceful use of
The last case of a
screwworm fly infestation
in the US was in 1966.