GM Vegetables To Act As Edible Vaccines
Human beings are prone to infections and combating them via edible vaccines is an exciting new prospect. The medical world is particularly thrilled about the idea as are the growers of genetically modified crops.
Large parts of the European Union have been up in arms against the very idea of altering the genes of our well known vegetables. However, the idea of tweaking the genes which will help us to withstand several severe infectious diseases is not a concept to be scoffed at. Sweden had been targeted for producing the ‘hot potato’ that has been altered to resist antibiotics. The debate rages on with questions of ethics and health being raised by the anti GM lobby. Let us, in the meantime, take a look at the entire process and decide for ourselves instead of being swayed by political propaganda.
Method of Genetic Modification In Vegetables
- Isolation of the selected genes that are present in the pathogens.
- Selection of the host vegetable which will be used as a vaccine based on compatibility.
- Testing of the vegetable plant using the ELIZA method.
- Growing the plant using the tissue culture procedure.
Advantages of Edible Vaccine Vegetables
- Inexpensive way of getting inoculated.
- Long-term immunization is possible as the microbe can colonize within the body.
- Studies have proved that the vegetables modified to act as vaccines can successfully inhibit digestive tract and respiratory system infections.
- Storage procedures become redundant as the vegetables can be preserved at room temperatures.
- The vegetables can be easily grown which can lower the production cost further.
Diseases That Can Be Prevented
- Hepatitis B
- E-Coli Infections
- Viral gastroenteritis
Successful Edible Vaccines
- Tobacco plant has been genetically modified to Hepatitis B.
- The vaccine for cholera can be successfully grown in potatoes although studies show that the protein is destroyed by cooking.
- Hepatitis B vaccines can also be developed in the banana.
None of the vegetables are used as edible vaccines to inoculate the public as yet. Further studies are being carried out by the scientists in this area and hopefully the outcome will soon prove to be a boon for mankind.
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