by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted November 5, 2007 in Genetic Engineering
Genetically engineered mice captured everyone’s imagination and paranoia last week. First, supermice were created that are able to:
Run longer and faster
Eat 60 percent more food but not gain weight
Have a longer breeding life
Then, news of mice genetically engineered to have brain neurons that can fluoresce in 90 different colors amazed everyone. These “brainbows” are the result of four color-producing genes and will make it easier to study neuronal circuits. In this Science Friday podcast, Ira Flatow interviewed Dr. Jeff Lichtman, one of the researchers who developed the Brainbow technique. (Click play to listen.)
Not everyone is thrilled with the idea of transgenic animals. In the US, animal rights activists vandalized UCLA scientist Edyth London’s home and caused extensive damage. She and her colleagues conducting research on animals have been harrassed and threatened with violence for years. In the UK, animal welfare groups want researchers to find other ways to conduct research even as the number of genetically engineered/modified (GM) animals used in British laboratories continues to increase.
UK GeneWatch director, Helen Wallace, predictably came out against genetically engineered supermice as well. She first warns us against the creation of superhumans, moves on to animal rights, then suggests that we’re wasting money on genetics research “in a world where many diseases are neglected and people cannot get the medicines they need.” Bryan Appleyard’s assessment of supermice is much more pragmatic (and snarky).
In what could be a direct response to Helen Wallace and other animal rights activists, Ian Wilmut and Roger Highfield write in After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning:
Every time I hear calls for blanket curbs on genetic technology, I think of the heart patient who died waiting for a transplant as animal rights protestors championed the rights of xenograft pigs, or the mother forced to watch her son suffer because fundamentalists took legal action to prevent her from having what they call a “designer baby” (a technique the relies on embryo selection, not genetic modification, as this pejorative label suggests). Abandoning a particularly “dangerous” technology wholesale can kill, maim and hurt future generations by preventing that technology from doing any good at all. Society has to weigh the opportunities to help and make sure that it does not miss important new opportunities because of fear of new knowledge. We should be prepared to change our views and judgements in the light of new discoveries.
How have your views and judgments changed lately?
Genetically Engineered HTC Touch Diamond Phone...
Eye on DNA Headlines for 8 November 2007...
Eye on DNA Headlines for 13 November 2007...
2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine Goes To Mice Geneticists...
Could Altering DNA In Bacteria Pose A Terrorist Threat?...
Genetically Modified Crops with Mini-Chromosomes...
DNA Quote: Stewart Brand on Genetically Modified Food...
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.
Search Eye on DNA
- Genetic Genealogy on Faces of America
- DNA Network Tweet Cloud
- Genetics = Real Science
- Larry David’s DNA Test
- Lopez Tonight First Late-Night Show to Offer DNA Testing
- American Genes Don’t Exist
- Knowledge about Genetic Risk is Power or is it Fear?
- Murderer Gets Reduced Sentence Because His Genes Made Him Do It
- Video: Knome’s Ari Kiirikki Speaks with Medgadget
- DNA Toys: Ben 10 and Digimon Digivice
- 100 Facts About DNA
- Salaries for Jobs in Genetics
- Fetal Gender DNA Tests Answer Common Pregnancy Question...Or Not
- How To Determine Paternity Without A DNA Test
- What does DNA mean to you?
- Eye on DNA Interview: Dr. Tzung-Fu Hsieh of RedTracer DNA Test for the Red Hair Gene, MC1R
- Books About DNA: The Crime of Reason by Robert B. Laughlin
- Genetically Modified Organisms Bring in the Cash
- Navigenics Introduces Physician Portal and Annual Insight Service
- People Who’ve Had Their Genomes Sequenced
09/29/2009 07:03 am
- Larry David’s DNA Test
11/17/2009 02:52 am
- 23andMe DNA Tests for $399, Down From $999
09/10/2008 04:33 am
- Crazy Genetic Marketing Ideas
07/05/2008 09:14 pm
- Parenting Children Using Genetic Tests
05/18/2009 02:09 am
- Business of DNA
- DNA @ Google Answers
- DNA and Disease
- DNA and Genealogy
- DNA and the Law
- DNA Around the World
- DNA Fun
- DNA in General
- DNA Inventions and Gadgets
- DNA Lab Talk
- DNA Podcasts and Videos
- DNA Quotes and Excerpts
- DNA Testing
- Gene Therapy
- Genetic Engineering
- Genetically Modified Foods and Organisms
- Jobs Involving DNA
- Personalities with DNA
- Polls About DNA
- January 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- Discovering Biology in a Digital World
- Genome Boy
- OMMBID Blog
- The Biotech Weblog