Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Food of the Future

Food of the Future
Gina Minatel

Food it’s one of the essential ingredients every living organism needs in order to survive, and with the world’s rapidly increasing population scientists are trying to determine when this population will eventually reach its carrying capacity. (Wilson, 2012)

A feasible proposal that most meats eaters wouldn’t be happy hearing would be the possibility of becoming permanent vegetarians. Relying on fruit and vegetables instead of meat is more energy efficient in relation to environmental processes and more energy is consumed from the sources lower on the energy food chain according to the energetic hypothesis. (Wilson, 2012)

Scientists from the Food and Drug Administration however have devised a way to keep the meat eaters happy and may be even solve the world’s future food shortage problem. Their answer is through meat cloning, and it was the successful cloning of a sheep called Dolly in 1997 that triggered meat cloning to be possible. (Rudenko, Matherson 2007)Dolly the sheep was genetically cloned by the nuclear transfer of cells. In other words the cell nucleus from an adult sheep was enucleated from the mammary gland into an unfertilised egg that has its nucleus removed, under controlled lab conditions. In order for the cell to divide the new cell is stimulated with an electric shock, and when it reaches the blastocyst (early process of embryotic development) stage the hybrid cell was injected into a different sheep. (McWhir, J, Ritchie, W A,  Wilmut, I, Campbell K 1996)

As previously mentioned this experiment was the starting point for meat cloning and maybe the future for the worlds food supply. The Food and Drug Administration propose that cows would be used for cloning for breeding purposes, and when they become infertile, a finical burden or becoming severely wounded the cows would then be used for their meat. Milk from genetically cloned dairy cows may also become involved in the cloning process as a bi product. (Rudenko, Matherson 2007)

In order for this proposal to pass a number of health and safety regulations had to be undertaken, as quoted by the Food and Drug Administration, its purpose was to focus on the risks that cloning poses to animal and humans when consuming food derived from clones. (Food and Drug Administration, 2008)

Mutation may occur when the cloned unfertilized cell is going through different stages of embryotic development. During embryotic development epigenetic programming occurs (coordination of genes without affecting the DNA) within the cell of the adult nucleus this is then placed into a newly fertilized egg. As the fertile egg has molecular frame work different from the adult molecular structure complications may occur. (Rudenko, Matherson 2007) Thus posing a risk to animals and food production from animal cloning.

In order to test whether these complications posing a risk the Critical Biological Systems Approach reviews the health of the animal clone at different developmental check points and concludes that if the animal is healthy than it’s likely to produce safe products, it also suggests that if the clone resembles the makeup of a non cloned animal than the cloned animal poses no risk. (Food and Drug Administration, 2008)

Furthermore through extensive research and testing it can be concluded that at point in time meat cloning poses no threats to animal and humans when consuming food derived from clones. (Rudenko, Matherson 2007)

Reference List
Bren, L 2007 ‘Animal Cloning and Food Safety’, ProQuest Research Library, Vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 32.

Caroline, D 1998, ‘Not Many Happy Returns, Dolly’, New Stateman, Vol.11, no. 491, pp.28-30.

McWhir, J, Ritchie, W A,  Wilmut, I, Campbell K 1996, ‘Sheep Cloned by Nuclear Transfer From a Cultured Cell Line, Nature, Vol. 380, no. 6569, pp. 64-66.

Rudenko L, Matherson J 2007, ‘The US FDA and Animal Cloning: Risk and Regulatory Approach’, Theriogenology, Vol. 67, no.1, pp. 198-206.

Wilson, R 2012, Ecology Module Food Chain Theories, Power Point slides, The University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Wilson, R 2012, Ecology Module Human Population Growth, Power Point slides, The University of Queensland, Brisbane.
U. S. Food and Drug Administration Department of Health and Human Services 2008, ‘Animal Cloning: a Risk Assessment’, US Department of Health and Human

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