Genetic Engineering of Species
Country: United States
Date: May 2006
Is there such thing as mixing to different animals
DNA together(not counting humans)to creat a new animal? For example
if you mixed Kangaroo's DNA with a wolfs DNA could you get a wolf
with strong legs made for jumping? Or would you get something
complety unpridictable or would it just not work and the animal
would die. If this is possible has anything like this been done
before? WOuld it be possible to mix plant DNA with the DNA of an
animal? And my last question is what are someother forms of genetic
mutation(i alrready know about cloning)?
It can be done...as with almost anything in science, anything that can be
done will be done...some time ago, "scientists" produced a "geep" which was
a mosaic of a sheep and a goat. They did this by fusing ealy embryonic
stages of the two. But remember goats and sheep are pretty closely related.
There are numerous more modest "transgenic" orgamisms such as a tomato with
the the gene set from fire flies to make it glow. We regularly insert human
genes into bacteria. Which make one wonder...what is life and how much of an
individual is completely controlled by genes. There is lots of evidence to
indicate small amounts of DNA are being moved by viruses among all sorts of
As far as mixing DNA from different genera of mammals, to my knowledge
nothing like this has been done successfully to large sets of genes and gene
regulators...but I have no doubt it will be done.
First of all, genes are found on chromosomes and chromosomes travel
together. So all of the genes on one chromosome would be found together.
Also, different animals have their genes on different chromosomes. For a
very simple example, an eye color gene may be found on one chromosome in the
dog and on another in the kangaroo. Also, different organisms have
different numbers of chromosomes. During meiosis, the set from one parent
lines up across from the same chromosome as the other. If the genes on
chromosome 1 from the dog are different from the genes on chromosome 1 of
the kangaroo that would be a problem. Also, they have different numbers of
chromosomes so the pairs would not be even. Scientists could take a single
gene and genetically engineer it into one or the other, but most traits are
controlled by more than one gene, so this probably wouldn't work either.
What probably would happen if you tried your experiment is that the embryo
would fail to develop and you wouldn't get any offspring.
DNA from different species cannot be mixed to create hybrid species just
like the gametes of very different species can't be fused to produce hybrid
species. A single gene from one species can be gentically engineered into
another species, though. A recent example is the insertion of a coral or
jellyfish gene into zebra fish to produce fish that glow under UV light.
Another example is inserting a silk-like spider gene into goats that produce
milk containg silk. There are hundreds of other examples of single genes
being transferred between species via genetic engineering.
Ron Baker, Ph.D.
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Update: June 2012