• Categories

  • Most Popular Questions

  • Recently Viewed Questions

  • Recent Answers

    How To Make a Digita… on What does a frequency of 100 H…
    Daigrepont on Can an earthquake cause air tu…
    Benedict on How did God come into exi…
    joshua on How does the human body g…
    Ian on How did God come into exi…
  • Recent Questions

  • Blog Stats

    • 2,227,323 hits
  • Visitors since 11-3-08

    counter create hit
  • Terms and Conditions

  • Warning

    We are doing maintenance on this site, so some posts may disappear for a short time. Sorry. Normal service will soon be resumed...
  • Pages

  • March 2008
    M T W T F S S
    « Feb   Apr »
  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Advertisements

Can you genetically modify animal cells to make them photosynthesise?

Can you genetically modify animal cells to make them photosynthesise?
Chloe Kelsey from Devon (Aged 15-25)


One Response

  1. Dear Chloe,

    In theory yes but in practise it would require so much research effort and cost so much money as not to be worth any perceived benefits. Plants encode organelles, called chloroplasts, which are present inside their leaf cells that carry out the reactions of photosynthesis. In addition, chloroplasts carry genes which encode a few of the functions of the chloroplast. So if you wanted to make an animal photosynthetic you would have to introduce chloroplasts into them and all the hundreds of genes from the plant cell nucleus that encode synthesis and regulation of chloroplast formation. In addition, you would also have to introduce all of the hundreds of genes that encode the formation and regulation of the chemical reactions of photosynthesis. While we know a great deal about these processes I think it is true to say we do not know all of them so it would take a lot of research effort to find it all out all the genes we need to add and to modify them so they are expressed appropriately in the animal.

    There are some animals, e.g. sea slugs and pond hydras that can steal chloroplasts from their algal food and obtain the products of photosynthesis at least for a short time. However, as the organisms do not contain the genes to replace the enzymes and structures of the chloroplast as they age, the chloroplasts will soon cease to function and need to be replaced.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: