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Thread: horizontal tranfer breeding antibiotic resistance in guts?

  1. #1 horizontal tranfer breeding antibiotic resistance in guts? 
    Forum Freshman Nikolas_Miller's Avatar
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    During the process of inserting a gene of one organism successfully into the genome of another, as most of you probably know, an Antibiotic Resistant Marker (ARM) is attached to the gene that is to be transfered, this is done so that when the entire process is complete it is possible to tell which cells actually got the new gene (because they wont die of the antibiotic when exposed to it) and those that failed to get the gene will die.

    anyway...

    my concern is this, studies have shown that the genetic material of our food can last up to four days after digestion, so is it possible that the antibiotic resistant cells in our genetically engineered food could exchange their resistant genes with the bacteria along our digestive tract? If so, leaving us with new strains of virus/bacteria?

    ALSO, I wonder, since the "one gene-one protein" has long been proven false, what are the odds of one of these genes (say antifreeze from a fish put into a vegetable) producing a different protein -a bad one?

    I dont know if this gets much talk in the U.K and elsewhere...but it sure doesnt in the States.


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  3. #2  
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    Firstly, I don't think all genes that are horizontally transfered have an ARM attached. Secondly, although it's possible for bacteria to take up loose DNA from their environment, I do believe that horizontal gene transfer is most efficient when 2 or more different bacteria are envolved, each with the necessary genetransfer-genes (mob and tra genes) on the plasmids. Therefore I reckon bacteria taking up loose DNA isn't all that common in the digestive tract.
    Also, I was wondering why people would genetically engineer food to be resistant to antibiotics? Are antibiotics that harmfull towards plants?

    Anyway, I'm not an expert on the subject, so please feel free to comment and help me expand my horizon


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    Forum Freshman Nikolas_Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas999
    Also, I was wondering why people would genetically engineer food to be resistant to antibiotics? Are antibiotics that harmfull towards plants?
    they insert the antibiotic with the other gene of choice ( two new genes are going in total) so that when all the genetic engineering is done they can make sure that the genes were successfully transplanted by exposing them to an antibiotic. Subsequently, Those that got the genes will live, those that didn't will die.
    thats the basic function of an ARM.


    I just founf this in a Sciencenews.org article "Pass The Genes Please"
    "Horizontal gene transfer is by no means a newfound phenomenon—the spread of antibiotic-resistance genes drew attention to it decades ago."

    so i guess I'm a decade behind...
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    the use of an ARM is usually restricted to the research stage, when you're working with isolated bacteria in order to clone the desired gene, or with cell/tissue culture to study the effects. Once you actually have the gene you want and desire to put it to commercial use, the ARM is probably removed from the equation.
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    Forum Freshman Nikolas_Miller's Avatar
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    i would hope so, but is it possible to remove the ARM?
    Is gene deletion possible?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    If nothing else you clone a new plasmid with only the gene and don't add the ARM.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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