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Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:50 pm UTC
by Shepherdess
Well, to Duckens, anyway.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/science-t ... ck-to-life

Everyone was freaking out on the Facebook page that first told me this story, but I'm quite satisfied with how science has progressed. I don't see why people are freaking out that this is unnatural and tampering with forces we don't know about. Human beings have six people in orbit as we speak, a person can talk to someone on the opposite side of the Earth in seconds, we may have actually transported a particle ala Star Trek, and we entire websites devoted to cats. Why is THIS particular achievement unnatural for human development.

As for ethical concerns, it doesn't appear that duck or chicken was harmed in any way. The only concern I have is that in an another article, they talked about hatching eagles from chickens. Wouldn't an eagle see a chicken as prey? Also, if we're going to bring back dodos, we need to make sure we have the resources to sustain dodos, along with every other species on this planet. That is a big concern.

Anyway, I was going to share this last night but I fell asleep before I could.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:03 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
Not to be nitpicky, but the title is kind of misleading; it seems like the accomplishment here is using a duck as a germ cell surrogate for chicken genetic material, and having it (a male) impregnate a female chicken, yielding a critter that is genetically and actually, a chicken.
EDIT FOR CLARITY: Rooster gametes implanted into male duck, male duck impregnates hen; resulting chick is product of rooster sperm and hen ova. Duck is just a support system for the rooster gametes.

As I see it, this is comparable to artificially implanting a zygote in a female who carries it to term. The impressive feat here is somehow getting rooster gametes to be generated in a male duck.

Don't get me wrong, it's rad! And potentially a great way to restock endangered species. There are some epigenetic modifications imparted on sperm that I would worry may not translate in disparate enough species, but who knows.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:47 pm UTC
by PolakoVoador
Are people really complaining about this? That there are things us humble humans shouldn't know? I'm reminded of an Asimov quote:

Asimov wrote:“Even as a youngster, though, I could not bring myself to believe that if knowledge presented danger, the solution was ignorance. To me, it always seemed that the solution had to be wisdom. You did not refuse to look at danger, rather you learned how to handle it safely.”


EDIT: quote now more complete.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:52 pm UTC
by screen317
Wouldn't an eagle see a chicken as prey?
Why? Don't you think this is learned?


I'm tired of all I keep reading about "GMOs will be the death of mankind" nonsense.. People eat broccoli all the frikkin time.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:40 pm UTC
by Shepherdess
screen317 wrote:
Wouldn't an eagle see a chicken as prey?
Why? Don't you think this is learned?


I'm tired of all I keep reading about "GMOs will be the death of mankind" nonsense.. People eat broccoli all the frikkin time.



I don't know enough about birds-of-prey to know whether their hunting behavior is learned or instinctual.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:27 pm UTC
by Moose Anus
screen317 wrote:
Wouldn't an eagle see a chicken as prey?
Why? Don't you think this is learned?


I'm tired of all I keep reading about "GMOs will be the death of mankind" nonsense.. People eat broccoli all the frikkin time.
Yeah, but people die all the frikkin time too. Coincidence?

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:00 pm UTC
by screen317
Moose Anus wrote:
screen317 wrote:
Wouldn't an eagle see a chicken as prey?
Why? Don't you think this is learned?


I'm tired of all I keep reading about "GMOs will be the death of mankind" nonsense.. People eat broccoli all the frikkin time.
Yeah, but people die all the frikkin time too. Coincidence?
Oh my God you've done it! How dare you prove the conspiracy theorists right.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:05 pm UTC
by Angua
Shepherdess wrote:
screen317 wrote:
Wouldn't an eagle see a chicken as prey?
Why? Don't you think this is learned?


I'm tired of all I keep reading about "GMOs will be the death of mankind" nonsense.. People eat broccoli all the frikkin time.



I don't know enough about birds-of-prey to know whether their hunting behavior is learned or instinctual.

Their hunting behaviour will be instinctual, but so will their rearing behaviour. The main problem will probably be the eagle kicking the chicken out of the nest trying to teach it how to fly.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:36 am UTC
by scarecrovv
In defense of the anti-GMO people (though I am not one of them), I too thought their position was absurd until I learned that they (or at least the one I talked to) don't object to the concept of genetic modification of food, but to the specific modifications made. In particular, the guy I talked to didn't like that crops were being grown with pesticides impregnating the entire plant, and not just sprayed on the surface where it could be washed off prior to consumption. I think the risk is probably overstated, but the position is not entirely absurd.

However it is absurd to complain that chicken gametes in a duck are bad because it isn't natural. Bananas, telephones, and vaccines aren't natural either, and we're all quite happy with them. This research is interesting today, and may lead to something important in the future. It's certainly not harming anyone (except perhaps the duck, but I doubt the duck cares all that much, and the duck is certainly better off than if it were raised for slaughter and eating).

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:11 am UTC
by screen317
Do you have an example of such a modification? I didn't realize pesticides were protein-based. Maybe I'm biased because I only know the structure of DDT..

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:24 am UTC
by Izawwlgood
This isn't exactly an answer to your question, but Roundup (glycosophate? glycophate? I can't remember) works by blocking protein synthesis in plants, and Roundup resistant crops are a thing.

But Bt is a protein that has been introduced to some GM plants for it's pesticide functionality, and I doubt it's been expressed in a 'all tissues but the tissues people eat' kind of way. There have been some controversial findings about how toxic it is to humans and how much remains in GM plants.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:23 pm UTC
by Alexius
Izawwlgood wrote:But Bt is a protein that has been introduced to some GM plants for it's pesticide functionality, and I doubt it's been expressed in a 'all tissues but the tissues people eat' kind of way. There have been some controversial findings about how toxic it is to humans and how much remains in GM plants.

Nope. Bt delta endotoxin is non-toxic to humans to a sufficient extent that it's perfectly safe to eat a spoonful of it. Its mechanism of action relies on an alkaline digestive tract.

Not to mention that B. thuringiensis is a soil bacterium, so some of it probably remains on the plants that people eat even if they're not genetically engineered- plus directly applying the bacterium is an acknowledged method of pest control in organic farming.

So people are already consuming a significant amount of this protein, for reasons unrelated to genetic engineering, with no ill effects.

I have not seen anything about Bt food crops which are supposed to only express the gene in parts that people don't eat.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:22 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
Ah, right, most of the controversial findings are being reported in 'Journal of EcoMinded Holism and Wellness' or such.

Alexius wrote:I have not seen anything about Bt food crops which are supposed to only express the gene in parts that people don't eat.

But yes, that was rather my point; Bt is being expressed plant wide.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:53 pm UTC
by ahammel
Alexius wrote:Bt delta endotoxin is non-toxic to humans to a sufficient extent that it's perfectly safe to eat a spoonful of it.
My understanding is that it's non-toxic to everything except butterflies and moths (except for the one that also gets beetles).

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:24 pm UTC
by PossibleSloth
This is a pretty cool proof of concept. Now we just need some preserved velociraptor DNA to put in a male ostritch :P

The title made me think this was something more like the Chicken/Quail chimeras that are used by developmental biologists.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:12 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
PossibleSloth wrote:This is a pretty cool proof of concept. Now we just need some preserved velociraptor DNA to put in a male ostritch :P

The title made me think this was something more like the Chicken/Quail chimeras that are used by developmental biologists.

It wasn't done via injecting DNA into a duck. It was done by implanting rooster gametogenic cells into a duck.

It also wasn't a chimera. The offspring was not in any way shape or form a duck, although, like I mentioned, there may be epigenetic modifications that may be mucked up as a result of being in a duck. Buuuuut; what chimeras are you talking about?

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:55 pm UTC
by Alexius
Izawwlgood wrote:Ah, right, most of the controversial findings are being reported in 'Journal of EcoMinded Holism and Wellness' or such.

Alexius wrote:I have not seen anything about Bt food crops which are supposed to only express the gene in parts that people don't eat.

But yes, that was rather my point; Bt is being expressed plant wide.


Sorry, I misread your first post- I though you meant it was supposed to be expressed in only certain parts of the plant but there was doubt over whether that had worked.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:54 am UTC
by Izawwlgood
I'd never heard of it, but it turns out tissue-specific gene expression is a thing in botany. That is neat; as a non-botanist, I can only name like... six plant tissues...
(EDIT: xylem and phloem, bam, eight)

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:34 pm UTC
by ahammel
Izawwlgood wrote:I'd never heard of it, but it turns out tissue-specific gene expression is a thing in botany.
I'm not sure it has any uses in agronomy yet, though. So far as I know, all GM crops use insertions driven by the CaMV promoter, which expresses its target everywhere.

Re: Genetic Engineering Leads To Turduckens

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:03 pm UTC
by PossibleSloth
Izawwlgood wrote:It wasn't done via injecting DNA into a duck. It was done by implanting rooster gametogenic cells into a duck.

It also wasn't a chimera. The offspring was not in any way shape or form a duck, although, like I mentioned, there may be epigenetic modifications that may be mucked up as a result of being in a duck. Buuuuut; what chimeras are you talking about?


I know they weren't making a duck/chicken chimera. The title just reminded me of a technique developmental biologists sometimes use to determine cell lineage. Basically, you take part of a quail embryo and part of a chicken embryo and swap them, then let the animal develop. It will actually produce live offspring and you can then see what parts are from chicken cells and which are from quail cells. Here is one study that uses them (there are a lot more that are behind paywalls). They're actually kind of cute.