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Application Concerns of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

An Assessment of Biotechnology, Bioethics & Biosafety

22 November 2011

Chenoa De Freece Universit di Camerino, Ph.D. Candidate

Bioethical Scenario #1
A GM strawberry has been developed with antifreezing properties. The new strain created

involves inserting genes from the peanut plant

into the strawberrys DNA. What are all the advances of this biotechnology?

Bioethical Scenario #1 cont.

Consumers Reacting Against Peanut Allergies (CRAPA) is a group who educates the public about the hazards of eating peanuts. Peanut allergies can be severe (hives, swollen air passages, death, etc.)

with consumption or contact to susceptible individuals.

What are the rights of peanut allergic people?

Bioethical Scenario #2
BioKill Inc. has altered a bacterial strain, which is

immune to every antibiotic or chemical treatment

known. If this biological weapon is released, it can kill a population in a limited area quickly without spreading from particular introduced dimensions. Is biological warfare ethical?

Bioethical Scenario #2 cont.

When the Peace Brotherhood, a group for world peace and fair government, heard about this biological weapon with no cure, they protested. They argue an accidental or intentional

breakout of the disease would be catastrophic.

What about the sovereignty of a nation?

Biotechnology, Bioethics & Biosafety

Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives, to make or modify products or processes for specific use- CPB

Values of a society with biotechnology

Prevention of large-scale loss of biological integrity affecting biodiversity and human health

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Express precise genes/ traits (natural/ unnatural) through introduction

Artificial selection to exhibit desired traits Genetic Engineering:

Crops Animals Pharmaceutical Fuel

Unknown long-term affects to altered organism & end-users Gene transfer Life Patents Religion

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB)

Convention on Biological Diversity

International treaty CBD (1992)

Conservation of biological diversity & natural resources

CPB (2000)
Protect human health & the environment from the possible adverse effects of the products of modern biotechnology, specifically transboundary movement

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB)

Some articles of interest:
Risk Assessment Risk Management

Competent National Authorities & National Focal Points

Info sharing & Biosafety Clearing House Capacity Building Public Awareness & Participation Socio- Economic considerations

Case Study: Burkina Faso Bt Cotton

Case Study: Burkina Faso Bt Cotton

The Problem
Agriculture occupation in BF 70% 50.3% GDP income

56% export capital

Insect resistance 1991-1992 & 1996 Mass Crop Destruction Civil unrest/ Livelihood difficulties

Case Study: Burkina Faso Bt Cotton

Bt Introduction
Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) Cotton Bollguard II
2003- 2005: Confined trials 2007: Local variety trials

2008: National Commercialization

Global Competition

Protection from most cotton pests

Financial & Health Benefits Food Security & Poverty Reduction (Millennium Goal, USAID/WA)

Case Study: Burkina Faso Bt Cotton

National Policy
Government Involvement
National Assembly

Ministry of the Environment Agence Nationale de Bioscurit (ANB) in 1999

Ministry of Agriculture Institute National Environment et Agricole (INERA)

Case Study: Burkina Faso Bt Cotton

National Policy
CPB African Unions Model Law on Biosafety of 2001

National Law
Burkina Faso Comit National de Bioscurit (2005) National Biosafety Framework- BF (United Nations)

Genetic science threatens to dislocate the boundary between chance and choice, which is the

spine of our moralityRonald Dworkin


Genetically Modified Mosquitoes (GMMs)

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes (GMMs)

Tropical Disease Research (TDR) organization (1991)
biotechnological advances with transgenesis, 20- year scientific outline Mosquitoes host and/ nor transmit pathogens
Anopheles vectors- Malaria Plasmodium parasites Aedes aegypti- Dengue hemorrhagic fever Aedes albopictus- Chikungunya

Germline transformation through introducing exogenous (foreign) genes at the embryonic stage into the genome of another organism

Mosquito Revolution?
GMMs & Controversy
Cayman Islands

Mosquito Revolution?
GMMs & Controversy
National Biosafety Board approves release of GMMs Ae. aegypti 10 October 2010 Governments opinion:
One of the most efficient and fast[est] ways of getting rid of the Aedes mosquito from our local environment - Liow Tiong Lai, Health Minister of Malaysia

Publics opinion: Opposition, Petitions

the technology is not proven and it represents an uncertain biohazard, The process of isolating the male GM mosquitoes is not perfect, potential long term, recurring cost
- Dr Lee Boon Chye, Member of Parliament

Paratransgenic Expression Approach

Other arthropod paratransgenic approaches:
Triatomine (Kissing) bug- American Trypanosomiasis

Tsetse flies- African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness)

Phlebotomus sp.- Visceral Leishmaniasis

Isolate symbiotic bacteria/ yeast Incorporate an effector molecule (anti- malaria)

Re-introduce modified bacteria into mosquito

1 million deaths ~6.6 million at risk Protection:
Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) Indoor residual spraying of insecticide (IRS) Antimalarial drugs (artemisinin-based
combination therapies, prophylaxis)

Insecticide resistance Drug ineffectiveness against Plasmodium spp. parasites

Global Organization Guidance

National Programs Private organizations Non-for-profit (NGOs)

Cartagena Protocol

Environmental Risk Assessment

Disease Control Practices & Control Integration
Evaluate necessity of paratransgenic mosquitoes

Establish Paratransgenic Mosquito Characterization

Describe normal paratransgenic relationship- Fitness
Investigate genotypic effects of the vector & malaria parasite
Mathematical models to evaluate densely concentrations

Distribution& Assimilation Practices

Production & Release Distribution Methodology

Environmental Risk Assessment

Paratrangenesis with Present IVM
Integration Heterogeneity


Paratransgenic Mosquito Resistance Management

Develop monitoring/ response system


Gene Flow
Gene mobility within mosquito population Effects on biodiversity (non-target insects& plants, environment)

Ethical/ Social/ Cultural Prospective

General Concerns
Standardized approaches Bio-safety process International/ National regulation Ownership- Intellectual Proper Rights Values, Risks & Trade-offs Plan for success

Bridging Global to Local Gaps

Education/ Outreach Integration of end-user concerns

Public Opinion
Polls, Questionnaires

Ethical/ Social/ Cultural Prospective

Environmental safe, non-

hazardous to humans No cost to community Community approval Scientists, government & community dialogue

remedy will cause no harm

Science to Informed Policies
Insufficient Resources Study Replicability Health Care System Research

Decision Making Challenges

Universal Framework

Trade-offs Complex dynamic, interdependencies & uncertainties

Priorities of Policy Makers
Reducing malaria prevalence/incidence

Minimizing costs

Organizations/ Governments address Paratransgenesis Paratransgenic with present current IVM

Thank You for your Attention!