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Main Page. . .Humans. . .Plants



 Genetic Engineering of Animals


"Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

– George Orwell, Animal Farm 



Several ethical issues are correlated with genetic engineering.  Some say and believe that, as shown above, animals suffer severe and persistent injury when being genetically engineered.




Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of genes for practical purposes.

    • For genetic engineering of animals to be useful and "practical," as the aforementioned definition requires, humans must come to terms with the fact that they will soon be coming into contact with animals that contain human genes and vice versa.
    • There may be humans with pig hearts in the near future, and there already are mice with human ears.



The "mouse-ear" project began in 1989, when Charles Vacanti grew a small piece of human cartilage on a scaffold.  Eight years later, Charles's team was able to mold such into the shape of an ear.  Shown above, they implanted the ear under the skin layer of a mouse.


    • If society can agree on a basic level of risk to be taken, then it will open many locked doors.
      • In terms of challenging competition, one cannot win a race without taking the lead at some point.  Similarly, with great gain must come great risk. 
    • There are already huge sums of money invested.
    • Religious beliefs will be tested and, while the genetic engineering of animals may not be in the future, some form of genetic engineering is inevitably going to impact things to come.


Positives v. Negatives


In the sports arena of genetic engineering of animals, one will find two opposing teams:  In the left corner stands all those who support such and see it in a positive light, and in the right corner stands all those who abhor such and see it in a negative light.  However, at the end of the challenging competition of debate, the opposing teams find themselves at a standoff, a tie; each side is equally represented.


Just as a winner did not emerge in Syracuse between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the debate between those for and against genetic engineering remains a stalemate.


In a positive light:

    • Disease could be prevented by detecting animals that are genetically prone to certain hereditary diseases, and preparing for the inevitable.
    • Infectious diseases can be treated by implanting genes that code for antiviral proteins specific to each antigen.
    • Animals can be "tailor made" to show desirable characteristics.
    • Genetic engineering could increase genetic diversity, and produce more variant alleles which could also be crossed over and implanted into other species.

In a negative light:

    • Nature is an extremely complex inter-related chain consisting of many species linked in the food chain. Some scientists believe that introducing genetically modified genes may have an irreversible effect with consequences yet unknown.
    • Genetic engineering borderlines on many moral issues, particularly involving religion, which questions whether man has the right to manipulate the laws and course of nature.


MTV True Life: I Have Been Genetically Engineered



For more information about the pictures above, see the information below.


In Farming:

    • Farm animals have been genetically modified in attempts to increase aspects of their "productivity," such as growth rate or wool production.
    • Chickens.
      • Better understanding of disease processes and mechanisms of resistance.
      • Featherless chickens (shown above) are genetically engineered because they are "greedy" chickens.
        • With a heart rate of up to 300 beats per minute and an increased metabolism, it proves quite the task to keep these chickens from overheating.
        • Kept in a cool environment and without feathers, the "greedy" chickens are able to thrive. 
    • Sheep.
      • Production of pharmaceuticals in milk.
    • Cows.
      • Might allow production of milk with enhanced nutritional quality more suitable for premature infants.
      • Belgian Blue cattle (shown above) are utilized with genetic engineering because, with myostatin, they produce extraordinary amounts of meat.
        • Myostatin, a protein that counteracts muscle growth, is taken from the Belgian blue and injected into other cattle so as to increase their productivity of lean meat. 
    • Pigs.
    • Rabbits.
      • Transgenic rabbits (shown above and altered so as to improve contrast) are genetically engineered to glow in the dark.
        • Injected with the green fluorescent proteins (GFP) of a jellyfish, the rabbits show their green hue when illuminated with the correct light.
    • Calling it "natural selection," farmers are using selective breeding, as well as artificial insemination, to obtain bigger and better meat.


"Oink!" It's what pigs say!




Since the birth of Dolly the sheep (July 5, 1996 - February 14, 2003) 11 years ago, cloning technologies for animals have been getting better and better. But are we ready to clone our pets or eat meat or other products from cloned livestock or their offspring?  The question is one of rhetorical nature, one of which each individual must answer alone.  The question is, "Are YOU ready to clone YOUR pets or eat meat or other products from cloned livestock or their offspring?"

    •  FACT:  Animals are already being cloned.
      • OPINION:  Are YOU ready to clone?
    • FACT:  Texas A and M University created the first cloned domestic cat, Copy Cat or 


      • OPINION:  Are YOU ready to clone YOUR pets?
    • FACT:  Charles Long, creator of CC from Texas A & M University, says: "There is 

                      nothing different about clones than there is any animal which is out there in

                      the regular population."

      • OPINION:  Are YOU ready to eat meat or other products from cloned livestock

                                  or their offspring?

The future of the genetic engineering of animals is up to YOU!



Just as Time magazine proved the public at large to be the "Person of the Year" due to the impact of the individual, YOU must decide YOUR position on genetic engineering.


The video below outlines some of the major questions regarding genetic engineering.  Is such a practice by man ethical?  Is it crossing the line of religion?  Is it money driven?  Not necessarily providing answers, the video is more of a rhetorical nature.


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For more information about the genetic engineering of animals and breaking news that is updated every twenty minutes, please visit the home of the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News!


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Genetic Engineering Citations

Comments (1)

gtobara@... said

at 10:43 pm on Feb 21, 2008

I did not know about the "greedy chickens" and the Belgian Blue cattle. The chickens were ugly! The cattle were huge!

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