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Name: Caleb
Status: Student
Grade:  6-8
Location: CA
Country: United States
Date: May 2006


Question:
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)?



Replies:
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 animals.

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.

Pf


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.

vanhoeck


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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