Bio 3

Bio 3.7

Transgenesis vs Selective breeding

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A genome is an organisms genetic material it is made from DNA. So what exactly is DNA? DNA is short for deoxyribosenuclic acid which is the code for all life (living organisms) on earth. DNA is made of 4 different bases called adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine. The bases pair together in certain pairs A-T and G-C. When enough base pairs are formed a gene is created. A gene codes for a protein which is anything and everything e.g hair, fingernails, eyes. The physical expression of the gene such as eye colour is known as a phenotype and this can be modified by altering a gene in such a way that only the trait that you want e.g. eye colour is shown. A gene is the most basic stripped down physical unit of heredity which means the characteristics and traits that are given from the previous generations. A humans genes can be made of a few hundred thousand base pairs all the way through to over a million base pairs. Scientists believe that humans have between 21000-23000 genes in there bodies. Humans have two of every gene one from the dad and the other from the mom. Nearly every gene in humans are the same except for around 2% this variation is what keeps up unique e.g. eye colour, growth hormone or hair colour. If all humans were the same this could be potentially bad because if a disease could kill one person it could kill everybody because nobody would of adapted to this disease. The fact that everybody has 2% approx. difference is good because it means more adaptions which equals less disease. Just about every natural being on earth has DNA. To have DNA you don’t even have to be living an example of this is a virus. There is a short acronym to understand what is living ‘MRSGREN’ which stands for `movement, respiration, sensitivity, growth, reproduction, excretion and nutrition` to be classed as living an organism must be able to perform all those seven things.

What is selective breeding

Selective breeding is when a human chooses an organism with the best traits and breeds it to produce offspring with this particular trait. Selective breeding techniques include animal breeding and development of new crops. Selective animal breeding is used nearly always in the New Zealand farming and horticulture industry. Farmers use selective breeding to get the best animals and crops that is possible for example one a beef farm a stair that has been growing at double the typical rate as all the other calves so the farmer only uses that particular calves genetic information in the next years breeding usually through the technique know as artificial insemination or AI for short.

Artificial insemination

AI is the most important technology of the 20th century in the selective breeding tech. AI advancements have lead to 2000% yield of dairy cows milk production in NZ within the 20th to 21st century. AI is when you use the semen of a stud bull to inseminate thousands of females from one ejaculation by choosing individual sperm to each individual egg and then inserting the egg into a surrogate mother. This gives the calf the best chance on it genetic material being good.

What is transgensis?

Transgensis is a type of genetic modification more commonly known as genetic engineering. Genetic modification is the changing of a genome for a specific trait.

Transgenesis GM is usually changes are usually small but have a large overall difference on an organisms phenotype, physical attributes. The changes usually consist of a changing a few letters/bases in the DNA. These changes are done by the deletion and insertion of the base pairs this changes the organisms genome in such a way that the particular trait that is wanted by the human/scientists of an organism is blown out and highly defined. Genetic modification and cloning are in-fact not the same thing and are actually very different. Cloning copies an organisms genetic material perfectly and makes an exact copy of it whilst genetic modification changes an organisms genetic material so a particular trait is expressed better or deleted. Scientists make GM animals and crops to create the highest yielding produce that is physically possible. When a single gene has been altered this can tell us a lot about it and how it works. A Genetically modified organism or GMO for short is any living organism that has been altered in the lab to produced more of a desirable trait or less of a non-desirable trait. This is done through a process known as genetic modification or commonly known as genetic engineering. Genetic engineering creates crossbreds between plants, animals, humans and bacteria to get certain traits to occur that would take longer through more traditional methods such as selective breeding.

How transgensis works?

To genetically modify a mammal the best way is to inject modifying technology directly which includes expensive tech such as genome editors. Genome editors are like theoretical pairs of scissors as they cut and modify DNA at a specific position.


What is an ecosystem

An ecosystem is somewhere where abiotic (non-living) and biotic (living) factors live in a given area these factors will interact with each other. Ecosystems take place in the biosphere this is where organisms are able to survive on earth. The biosphere can range from 8km under the ocean all the way to 10km above the ocean. Typically most ecosystems reside within the 500m under sea level to 500m above sea level. The biosphere in terms of the entire earth is relatively thin and is often compared to the skin of an apple.

What effect does transgenesis have on the ecosystem

Transgensis/GMO’s whilst seem scary to some are highly regulated and are only made for positive traits. This means the impact on an ecosystem is usually an improvement to what it was before. Phosphorus in NZ waterways is one of the hot topics on the green peace and the NZ green party agendas, pigs typically produce large amounts of phosphorus in there manure and this goes into the waterways but one smart scientist from the UK has genetically modified pig’s so they digest phosphorus in plant matter. The genetically modified pig, the ‘Enviropig’ as it is commonly known uses an enzyme called phytase in is its saliva to break down the phosphorus before it can be excreted as manure leaving a much smaller carbon footprint.

The main fear of the general public is that a GMO animals will escape and take over the naturally occurring population in the wild, this is an unlikely occurrence. If a GM animal did escape its enclosure there could be some potential damage to the ecosystem, this depends on the type of animal and breed. Many farm animals are so domesticated that they would not survive in the wild anyway e.g. the enviropig are purposely breed for their meat this means that they have large hinds and are extremely heavy, they also have small legs, this leads to them being extremely slow and would have trouble getting away from predators genetically made to kill such animals e.g. a wolf lighter, strong and fast, large canine teeth specifically made to kill. If some pigs did get out into the bush they may be able to breed with wild boars though. Other animals may breed with their wild counterparts also. A male GM rabbit may possibly be able to survive long enough in the wild to reproduce and move heredity. Animals the live in rivers or sea such as fish life and jelly have the greatest chance at cross breeding with there natural counterpart.

Most GM crops are modified to be resistant to herbicide because of this herbicide use increased dramatically in farming in the last decade.

What effects does selective breeding have on the ecosystem

Selective breeding is usually a positive on the ecosystem e.g. grass selectively bred to have a higher yield will make the animal feeding on the grass weight higher yield quicker. Selective breeding also improves the ecosystem for livestock as selective breeding can make crops insect resilient and less susceptible to pests. The negatives of selective breeding is the fact that the adaptions of the plants and the animals in the ecosystem could be venerable


Transgenesis and selective breeding both have positives and negatives in there respective ecosystems. Both transgenesis crops and animals/ GM crops and animals both have the ability to bring out the best traits to produce the highest yield in their respective ecosystem but GM crops and animals are able to get the wanted/required trait incredibly fast usually under a year compared to the selectively breed crops and animals.

Genetic biodiversity
What is biodiversity

Biodiversity is what makes organisms unique giving each organism its own traits and variability within those traits. Biodiversity occurs in all ecosystems within the biosphere on earth including the seas/ all marine life, aquatic life such as rivers and streams, terrestrial which is the land organisms such as mammals. Biodiversity also includes all the different ecosystems in the biosphere, every ecosystem is slightly different so organisms have to adapt this this in certain ways. Biodiversity is important as it creates a unique environment and crates adaptations needed to make life possible. The foundation of organisms on the planet earth is biodiversity as each feature on earth is complex, varied and dynamic because of the living organisms in its biosphere.

What effects does transgenesis have on the biodiversity

If organisms are genetically modified they can have a extreme effect on the biodiversity as the organisms become more biodiverse as they are modified. A cow that has been modified to glow in the dark may would be a change in the normal biodiversity and would be unique.

What effect does selective breeding have on the biodiversity

Selective breeding decreases the biodiversity of an organism as its gene pool is very small since the genetic material for a whole farm comes from one or two stud bulls with particular traits that are needed.


Transgenesis and selective breeding biodiversity have no similarities. Transgensis changes an organisms gene pool where as selective breeding keeps the gene pool very similar to the previous generation except for one particular trait.

What is evolution

The very basis of evolution is not only an organism change but also the mutation of DNA

What effect does transgenesis have on evolution of populations

What effect does natural selection have on evolution of populations


What is the difference between transgenesis and selective breeding

By Jack Campbell



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