October 9, 2002
6:47 PM   Subscribe

Since Genetically Modified Organisms are a big no-no in Europe, some scientists are now focusing their efforts on TILLING (Targeting Induced Local Lesions in Genomes), a novel technology for rapid selection of a mutation in any gene from mutant plant, through the use of a mutagen, Ethyl Methanesulfonate (EMS). Will this method be seen as less dangerous than Genetic Engineering à la Monsanto? During my search on this topic, I stumbled on this entertaining story about DIY genegeneering.
posted by titboy (6 comments total)

 
"...we tried that, and the subject was dead before he left the table."
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:49 PM on October 9, 2002


The difference between the 'original' GMO plants and plants made by the EMS technique are that the former contain small stretches of foreign DNA, and the latter just have one or two single point mutations in normal plant genes. They're both 'genetically modified,' though.

Not that I have any problem with GMOs. Strictly speaking, every last thing on this planet is a GMO. It's just that the source of the genetic modification was different, ie, the evil, conspiratorial Nature, Inc.
posted by shoos at 8:25 PM on October 9, 2002


I'm not guilty
posted by mutagen at 12:00 AM on October 10, 2002


I actually think I have more of a problem with this method than introducing foreign DNA; at least introductions of foreign DNA are planned, thought out and tested - there is an aim involed, and hopefully, some ability to predict the consequences. Randomly mutating an organism to "see what happens" seems a bit haphazard to me, although I guess when you're only getting point mutations you probably won't come out with anything TOO extreme.
posted by Jimbob at 12:03 AM on October 10, 2002


in my uninformed opinion, it seems like TILLING doesn't really alter the debate -- whether or not a modified food affects biodiversity (which seems to be the scientific approach to the public argument) isn't necessarily dependent on the method of modification. A small change in plant X may have a greater impact than a radical change in plant Y; it seems hard to prove without an environmental study.

mutagen: I'm not guilty
Then how do you explain THIS?!
posted by eddydamascene at 12:06 AM on October 10, 2002


Heh. This reminds me of some of the arguments that pro-choices use.

"In a world without legalized genetic engineering, multinational biotech companies are forced to do 'back ally' procedures involving forced mutation along with hybridization"

Of course, if you try to argue that this type of thing is 'wrong', you just out yourself as a moron, since it really isn't any diffrent then what farmers have been doing for centuries.
posted by delmoi at 5:15 AM on October 10, 2002


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