Genetic Modification II
Other innovations have suggested developing fungi that could eat discarded plastics and other garbage that litters our environment.But how could they tell which is discarded and which is not ?They could end up eating everything .
And there are other dangers .Already some malicious tecno -nerds take pleasure in producing computer viruses and digital -microbes with which to infect cyberspace.
Techno nerd is a person who takes interest in technology.
If the techniques for radical genetic modification became widespread ,how long would it be before some bio-nerd came up with a bug that could for example turn oil into crystalline granules that clog every machine in the world .
Even without malice ,there is always the chance of an accident .Two scientists at the Animal Control Co-operative Research center in Canberra were working on a way to control Australia's growing mouse population .In order to sterilise mice ,they inserted a contraceptive gene into the relatively benign mousepox virus ,which usually makes mice only mildly ill .
Using a virus is a standard way of transporting modified proteins into animals .It works by triggering antibodies to stimulate the production of antibodies the researchers added the protein interleukin -4.But this had an unexpected effect .It shut off a vital part of the immune system in mice .Within nine days ,all the mice in their laboratory were dead ,including those that had been vaccinated against mousepox .Imagine what would have happened if those two scientists had been working on smallpox .
Scientists routinely work on the agents that cause deadly diseases and sometimes they are even more sloppy(marked by a lack of care or precision ) than the mouse researchers in Canberra .In 2001 ,Imperial College London was fined lbs 65,000 for exposing the public to a deadly new hybrid of dengue fever virus and the gene sequence for hepatitis C.It has also been prosecuted for a 'seriously flawed 'approach to health and safety involving research on HIV under new regulations governing research on HIV.Edinburgh University has been prosecuted for its work on HIV under new regulations governing research involving genetically modified micro-organisms.
Kyoto University has developed hybrids between human and monkey AIDS viruses ,called SHIVs.These contain human interleukin genes which suppress the immune system .Mean -while ,GM crops engineered with interleukin genes are being grown in open field trails .One SHIV used in monkeys in the US mutated into a pathogen so powerful that it killed rhesus macaques within weeks ,and a live GM vaccinia -rabies vaccine designed to protect wildlife infected a women ,causing her serious illness .Meanwhile ,cancer researchers are splicing mutant cancer genes into viruses similar to those transmitting the common cold .There is still no cure for the common cold and these could carry an epidemic of cancer around the globe.
An internet petition signed by a number of top scientist calling for a strengthening of the ban on biological weapons also points out that prototype AIDS vaccines based on HIV glycoprotein 'not only undermine the immune system of individuals but are also likely to create deadly viruses and bacteria that can spread through entire populations'.We could end up sneezing each other to death .
DOOMSDAY 50 VISIONS OF THE END OF THE WORLD (NIGEL CAWTHORNE,EAGLE EDITIONS 2006 )ROGUE TECHNOLOGY -GENETIC MODIFICATION CHAPTER 33 P137-140.
Genetically -modified tomatoes :the solution to world hunger ,or a biochemical disaster waiting to happen ?
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