Summative Practice 13 – Question 2 (Form 5 Biology Textbook Exercise and Answer)

Question 2:
(a) Discuss the advantages of genetically modified food towards human lives.

(b) A bacterial strain can synthesise a protein with a known benefit to humans. Explain briefly how a geneticist can acquire the bacterial gene and mass produce it immediately.

(c) Explain why a plant variety which is modified by genetic engineering to tolerate herbicide can be a threat to the environment.

Advantages of GMF to human lives are as follows:

• Increase the shelf life and quality of food

• Increase nutritional quality and health

• Increase quantity of agricultural products

• Produce crops resistant to herbicides / heavy metals

Steps in acquiring and mass producing a bacterial gene:

• Targeted DNA is isolated from bacterial cell

• The DNA is cut and inserted into a cloning vector such as plasmid

• Recombinant plasmid is produced

• Recombinant plasmid is inserted into a host bacterial cell

• Bacteria containing the recombinant plasmid is cultured in agar plate

• Bacterial colony with the recombinant plasmid is identified

• The bacteria in the selected colony contains plasmid which carry the targeted gene

Threat of genetically modified plant towards herbicide to the environment:

• It is difficult to curb the growth of a plant variety which tolerates herbicide

• Stronger herbicide will be needed to kill it

• The plant can mutate to produce stronger variety

• The gene resistant to herbicide may be transferred from this plant to weed by pollinating agents.

• This situation can create super weed

• New herbicide has to be used to kill the super weed

• Therefore, farmers will have to always use herbicides

• Wide usage of herbicides will threaten the environment

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