Back to  If you mess around with someone's genes, how bad can it get?

Thanks for being so patient waiting for your answer. We asked our resident biologist, Marisa, for an explanation.

It can be as bad as nature allows you. Every genetic mutation (that's what you call messing around with...) affects a particular characteristic in a living organism. For example, a mutation could affect the production of an enzyme that helps digestion.

Every change in a living organism is followed by a series of other secondary changes. To continue the example, if a particular enzyme is no longer produced then the organism affected cannot digest certain foods. If the food that can no longer be digested is one that is essential for growth then the organism may die. Also, if there are no other foods available except the one that can no longer be digested then the organism will also die.

These secondary changes may be too severe to be compatible with life.

Thanks for your question and have a good summer.

Answer #% % filename Document2 page% % page 1 of% % numpages 1 % % date \@ "MMMM d, yyyy"June 25, 1995

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