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Posts Tagged ‘GMO’


Scientists in Newcastle, England claim that they created mature, motile human sperm from scratch in a laboratory.  This would be the first time anyone has created human sperm.  Although the lab has officially announced their discovery, it will still take several years to perfect the process.  The research was conducted to help infertile men to have children. 

Sperm created by scientists

Sperm created by scientists

The scientists began the process by using stem cells derived from day-old human embryos.  The stem cells were placed in a chemical bath at body temperature to encourage rapid growth.  At a certain stage of growth, they were marked or “tagged” with a genetic marker to help the researchers identify germline stem cells.  Germline stem cells develop into eggs and sperm.  The male, XY stem cells underwent the meiosis, cell division producing haploid gametes.  Haploid gametes have half the number of chromosomes of a normal cell. 

The Cosmic Perspective

Scientifically, life is 

the condition which distinguishes active organisms from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, functional activity and the continual change preceding death.

I have no desire to alienate people by lecturing about what is right and what is wrong.  Your beliefs are your business, just as mine are my own ( I would gladly discuss my feelings in the comments).  That being said, we must begin asking ourselves deeper questions.  “What are my feelings about this?”  “Is it moral or ethical?”  It is important that we do not blindly follow religious leaders or scientists.  We must evaluate the facts for ourselves, and make an unbiased decision.  We also must be able to listen.  When you come to that final decision, we cannot be set in our ways.   Somebody could have a new, very insightful perspective about which you thought you knew everything.  New facts are constantly pouring in.  Knowledge is in a constant state of flux.  And remember, people are zealous for causes when they are not sure their ideas are true.

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The Chinese government declared that it will increase the development of genetically modified crops as it faces the monumental challenge of  feeding 1.3 billion people due to shrinking arable land and climate change.

How scientists create genetically modified organisms.

How scientists create genetically modified organisms.

Newly-approved plans aim to cultivate high-yielding and pest-resistant genetically modified species.  It gave no details on which crops should be developed, but it is likely that the plans call for focus on easily modified and high nutrition foods like corn and rice, the latter already being a staple food in Asia. 

Due to climate change and less land to grow large quantities of the foods, production has diminished while the population continues to rise.  Chinese leaders said that the plan was, “of strategic significance in the country’s drive to make its agricultural sector more efficient and competitive internationally.” 

The plan aims to keep annual grain output above 500 million tons by 2010 and increase production to more than 540 million tons each year by 2020.  China has become a major producer of genetically modified cotton and vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes, but it has yet to begin large-scale production of genetically modified rice, corn and soybeans.  If China wants to support its already overgrown population, I feel that this is the only way to do so.  Urbanization, global warming, and the exponentially increasing population have forced their hand, so to say (I am a proponent of using this technology).

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Before the post, I would just like to say that I broke another landmark for my blog: 300 views in one day.

The United States Agricultural Secretary Ed Schafer will be traveling to a UN global foot crisis summit in Rome.  There he will propose biotechnology as a strategy to boost agricultural production worldwide. 

At this point, the United States is contributing more than 50 percent of all the world’s food aid.  Schafer says, “the world’s other developed nations have an obligation to provide food efficiently without obstructing access to it or limiting safe technologies to produce it.”  To combat world hunger the US will propose a three-step plan.

Genetically Modified Wheat Can Fare Much Better in Certain Conditions than its Non-Altered Counterpart

The US will focus its humanitarian aid to countries that are unable to meet minimum nutrition standards.  It will also support research to find the underlying causes of food scarcities in the developing countries.  The third part is a US proposal “that all countries consider strategies that expand research, promote science-based regulations, and encourage innovative technology — including biotechnology.”

Naturally, many people don’t like this idea.  For me, I don’t see a problem with this.  Although it is a recently discovered science, it has huge potential to help people where crops are dying because of droughts, frosts, heat, disease, or insects.  People have been genetically manipulating plants for ages through methods like grafting.  Through biotechnology and bioengineering, scientists simply go straight for the source (the genes) and speed up the process.

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