New gene-modifying technology creates white crickets
August 22, 2012 in Science
While the green Nazis are trying to get the world to worry about carbon dioxide (that plants breathe and expel oxygen for us), mad scientists are playing God destroying the natural biosphere. A REAL environmental disaster! – MC-ReXX
Japanese researchers said Aug. 22 they have created white crickets using a genetic technology that leaves no trace of DNA manipulation, a development expected to fuel concerns about possible damage to the environment.
Conventional gene recombination technologies have been used to “improve” food and creatures. These processes mainly involve introducing external DNA to animals or crops to enhance their resistance to specific diseases or drought. In these cases, genetic modifications can be identified through DNA analysis.
But the new technology, used by researchers at the University of Tokushima and Hiroshima University, can create plants and creatures that cannot be identified as genetically modified.
It is part of a new wave of advanced studies on genetic modifications.
The researchers also said the technology allows scientists to manipulate gene functions more easily than using existing gene recombination processes.
The researchers were led by Taro Mito, an assistant professor of developmental biology at the University of Tokushima, and Takashi Yamamoto, a professor of molecular genetics at Hiroshima University.
The new technology cut initial DNA sequences–instead of introducing DNA from the outside–to generate the white crickets.
Specifically, they injected “artificial restriction enzymes” into cricket eggs to break a specific DNA sequence, which induced errors in a spontaneous repair mechanism and knocked out the functions of a gene related to body color.
The researchers said the technology can also be used in studies to identify functions of a specific gene by nullifying them.
Their research results have been published in Nature Communications, a British scientific journal.
Even before the studies were published, questions were being raised about the possible negative consequences of untraceable genetic engineering technology.
The Science Council of Japan held a symposium in May to discuss the need for debate on how the latest genetic modifications could affect humans and ecosystems as well as the need for regulations.
“There could be confusion unless there are predetermined rules on applications to breed improvements,” one participant said.
Another participant said, “We should consult society on how to use new genetic technologies before they become common currency.”
The European Union drew up a report last year on what new genetic technologies are available. It also started discussions on rules to limit the environmental impact of such technologies.
Six government ministries in Japan, including the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, are discussing whether regulations should apply to the new genetic technologies.
One big concern is that if genetically modified creatures were released into the outside environment, they could devastate wild species or transfer artificial characteristics to them through crossbreeding.
Japanese law stipulates that the environmental impact should be assessed and diffusion prevention measures taken to prevent genetically modified creatures from disturbing ecosystems.
But it remains unclear whether the regulations apply to the new genetic technology, which was beyond the imagination when the regulatory law took effect eight years ago.
The latest technology poses a problem because it leaves no trace of gene manipulation, and the results are indistinguishable from natural mutations because they partly rely on naturally inherent mechanisms.
Creatures and plants created through the technology could end up in the outside environment or be mixed into food and become untraceable and unidentifiable.
However, new genetic technologies continue to attract the interest of botanical companies and food producers.
One university in the United States, for example, has generated a disease-resistant strain of rice.
Nobuyuki Yoshikawa, a professor of plant pathology at Iwate University, has developed early-blooming apple trees and gentian plants.
He introduced harmless viruses, where genes have been recombined to issue early-blooming orders, into apple seeds, which grew into trees that bloomed in less than two years instead of the normal average of nearly 10 years.
(This article was written by Shigeko Segawa and Akira Hatano.)