The use of genetic engineering technology in animals has been associated with ethical issues, some of which relate to animal welfare. Discuss examples of genetically engineering animals and evaluate the ethical concerns of genetic engineering.
Genes and Tissue Culture Technology
The use of genetic engineering technology in animals has
been associated with ethical issues, some of which relate
to animal welfare. Discuss examples of genetically
engineering animals and evaluate the ethical concerns of
1) TAN MIN YAP (0321597)
2) KOKO WIJAYA (0320607)
3) NUR FATIN AMIRAH BINTI FAZILSAM (0321820)
4) MOHANA PRIYA A/P CHANDRA (0320978)
5) YOSHINI A/P VIJAYAGOPAL (0321375)
Genetic engineering is modification of genetic of an organism by artificial
Basic purpose: to alter the genes
It involves the transferring of the specific traits, or genes from one species to
The technique used is by cutting DNA of one organism and link them to the
DNA of other organism
The targeted organism then obtain new genetic information and
This process is known as transgenesis
Due to high similarity in genetic sequences, the targeted animal is able to
express the transfer genes
Basic principle of genetic
Examples of genetically modified animals
Figure 1: Featherless chicken Figure 2: Web-spinning goat
Prevent diseases by isolating
the specific genes which causes
Modified genes may have
Preventing various disease by
transferring genes which are
associated with the antigen
This process is potentially
dangerous and can be very
Integrate specific traits to other
Natural ecosystems can be
disturbed when genetically
engineered animals are used
Increase genetic diversity and
produce variety of alleles
A) Aquadvantage salmon
- Genetically modified Atlantic salmon developed by AquaBonty
- Purpose: to increase the speed of the fish growth; express higher levels of a
growth hormone than normal salmon
- Contains rDNA construct that is composed of the growth hormone
gene from Chinook salmon under the control of a promoter from
- All the fish are female and reproductively sterile to prevent the GM salmon
from inadvertently breeding with wild salmon
- First genetically engineered animal to be approved for human consumption in
the United States in November 2015
- After 1 month, President Obama issued a temporary ban on the import and
sale of the fish until the FDA can publish guidelines on how should it be labeled
- Currently, the product still awaits further processing and consultation before it
will be made available for purchase
Figure 3: Comparison between GM
salmon and normal salmon
Figure 4: Process of how the salmon is
1) Sterility and escape into the environment
• The data from AquaBonty indicate that 5% of the fish will not be sterile. Therefore, some
of the fish may reproduce in the wild.
• Human error and mechanical error may cause scenarios of intentional and unintentional
escape to occur
• Would impact the natural ecosystem
2) Human health
• Some research has shown some differences between wild salmon and GM salmon that can
cause health complications in the future
• Many chemicals are found in higher concentrations in the Aquadvantage salmon
• IGF-1 hormone is found in a greater amount in GM salmon- can increase the risk of cancer
3) Welfare of the salmon
• Data from AquaBonty showed increased malformation of bones and jaws of GM salmon
compared to wild salmon
• This is most likely due to the increase in growth hormones
The consumption of GM animals is a new addition to the food industry and
therefore the effects of consuming it has not been evaluated in depth enough
• Even though the FDA claims that the GM salmon is safe to eat, any health risks
related to it will only be discovered after it is consumed
• GM salmon has the potential to devastate marine ecosystems if it is ever released
accidentally into the wild.
• There is a chance of introduction of viable eggs which can infect the wild
population and changing the genetic of the species.
-Scientists create the chimeric embryos using a gene editing technique called CRISPR to delete
parts of the DNA in a fertilized pig embryo used to grow a pig’s pancreas
-Then, human induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells are injected into the embryo.
-The iPS cells were derived from adult cells and "dialled back" to become stem cells capable of
developing into any tissue in the body.
-They waits a few weeks to allow the embryos to develop to their 28th day, a time when
primitive structures such as organs start to form.
-They retrieves the chimeric embryos to dissect them so
that they can see what the human stem cells are doing inside.
-They examines whether the human stem cells have started
to form a pancreas, and whether they have begun making
any other types of tissues.
Figure 5: Gene editing to allow
human organ to grow in pigs
• Current methods of DNA genome editing CRISPR/Cas9 and ZNFs enable
quick and accurate way of modifying organism to suit one needs
• Ethics Guide use the 3Rs(Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) in Animal
• In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order expected to set in motion
increased research that supporters believe could uncover cures for serious
ailments from diabetes to paralysis.
• Use chimera embryos to create better animal models to study how human
diseases happen and how they progress
• The goal of the research is not to create a pig-people, but rather to help solve
the problem of a narrowing supply of transplant organs worldwide
• This can help to save the lives of people with a wide range of disease
1) Animal rights
• Crossing species boundaries is unnatural, because it involve in manipulating the animals
for human needs themselves.
• Despite the potential for cleaner, more readily available organs, animal rights activists
worry about using animals as incubators.
2) Animal welfare
• Genetically modified animals have a lot of variety of good traits, but certain side effect for
the animals such as genetically modified pigs grow too fast for their hearts or broiler
chickens may have faster growth rate for their legs
• Large number of animals required
• Invasiveness of procedures
• This would open up a new source of animal suffering
3) Regulation genetic engineering
• Research for genetic engineering must follow ethical principle that follows animal welfare
• Some scientists and bioethicists worry the creation of these interspecies embryos crosses
the line because it damaging our sense of humanity
• There are other cells types that are going to be present in the pancreas and they
would be rejected by a human.
• The scientists conducting human-pig embryos experiments can't know exactly
where the human stem cells will go.
• The animals could give birth to some kind of part-human, part-pig creature.
• There are real medical concerns for humans as well, for those who might receive
one of these transplants.
• The federal government’s National Institutes of Health said it would not fund
chimera research while the agency considered a policy revision around such work.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that genetic technology will do
well in the future. Even though, there are many controversial
issues going on regarding it. The human health benefits will
now be realized based on the science-based regulatory
framework for governing how these animals will provide
biomedical, food and agricultural benefits. The 3R ethics guide
also has been able to address animal welfare in a meaningful
way for animals. The success of the 3Rs is demonstrated by its
acceptance and recognition by the scientific community,
humane organizations, policy makers, and the general public.
Lastly, While the 3R ethics guide may not fit all situations
perfectly, other ethics of animal use could be developed and
applied in a similar manner to the 3R with the goal of
improving animal welfare.
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• BBC 2014, Genetic engineering, viewed 5 June 2016, <
• Duncker, D.J. et al., 2015, ‘Animal and in silico models for the study of sarcomeric cardiomyopathies’, Cardiovascular Research, vol. 105, no 4,
pp.439–448, viewed 7 June 2016, < http://cardiovascres.oxfordjournals.org/content/105/4/439.abstract>
• Glenn, LM 2013, Ethical issues in genetic engineering and transgenics, viewed 5 June 2016,
• Grace Communication Foundations, n.d., Genetic engineering, viewed 5 June 2016,
• Hafner, J 2016, Part-human, part-pig embryos created by scientists to grow human organs in pigs, USA Today, viewed 7 June 2016, <
• Nelson, B 2016, Pig-human hybrid embryo developed by U.S. researches, viewed 8 June 2016,
• Nemudryi, S. 2014, ‘TALEN and CRISPR/Cas Genome Editing Systems: Tools of Discovery’, Acta Naturae, vol 6, no 3, pp 19, viewed 7 June 2016,
• Nicole Fenwick, C. 2009, ‘The welfare of animals used in science: How the “Three Rs” ethic guides improvements’, The Canadian Veterinary
Journal, vol. 50, no 5, pp. 523, viewed 7 June 2016, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2671878/>
• Solis, M 2016, Scientists just created hybrid human- pig embryos and it may be the future of stem cells, viewed 8 June 2016, <
• Stein, R 2016, In search for cures, scientists create embryos that are both animal and human, viewed 8 June 2016, < http://www.npr.org/sections/health-
• Walsh, F 2016, US bid to grow human organs for transplant inside pigs, BBC News, viewed 7 June 2016, < http://www.bbc.com/news/health-36437428>