A transgenic animal is one that has been infused with a foreign gene/exogene derived from another animal cell. This is done by inserting the cell of the donor to the genome of the host. This will enable the reconstruction of its properties in which it can pass to its offspring. An exogene is created as an artificial DNA through a recombinant DNA technique.
This type of animal differs from a cloned one because a cloned animal looks exactly identical to the one it has been derived from but not transgenic animals. One of the successful transgenesis involved a mouse in which it can be processed by ballistic DNA injection, plasmid vectors, pronuclear injection, and protoplast fusion. Continuing studies involved cattle, rabbit, sheep and swine.
Despite the number of successful experiments and groups who believe in the benefits of transgenes, there are still sectors that believe otherwise. Therefore, it is only fair to take a peek into some of the pros and cons of transgenic animals.
List of Pros of Transgenic Animals
1. Subject for Clinical Trials.
Proponents of transgenic animals claimed that these are being used in pharmaceutical trials. This is because scientists require a model for certain types of diseases and this can help them create new types of medicines. Thus, such animals are utilized to conduct clinical trial research. Hence, they are able to create new cure for specific diseases.
2. Future Organ Donors.
Scientists also claim that these animals can be used in xenotransplantation. Such process will transplant cells or tissues from other species for medical purposes. Due to the similarity in size of some organs of swine to humans, studies are being developed to provide availability. However, these organs will age a lot faster.
3. Used for Patients with Various Diseases.
Proponents of transgenic animals claim that this is important for people who require insulin treatment and those who require gene therapy treatment. Because of the possibility of genetically modifying DNA, scientists will be able to allow such animals to produce blood clotting factors, insulin, and vaccines, among others.
List of Cons of Transgenic Animals
1. Unethical Use of Animals.
According to opponents of transgenic animals, it is against moral ethics. They acclaim that animals have rights but altering their DNA composition will violate the said rights. Using hundreds of such animals for purpose of clinical tests are also against ethical treatment of these creatures.
2. Unsafe for Human Intake.
Due to the failure of some experiments, critics claim that products that come from transgenic animals are unsafe for human consumption. Likewise, they are doubtful of the long-term effects of the use of such drugs and vaccines from genetically-modified animals.
3. Costly for the Government.
The use of transgenic animals is not a cheap process. It will require an expensive procedure just like experiments on cloning. Despite the fact that these are expenses of the pharmaceutical companies themselves, the government will likely spend a fortune if ever the products will cause harmful effects to humanity.
The use of transgenic animals for human treatment and well-being has become a debatable issue. The decision whether to trust the advocates or believe in the negative impact as claimed by critics will remain by weighing the pros and cons first to avoid regrets.