Question Chloie Science

What are the social issues with GM insulin (from bacteria)?

what are the social issues with GM insulin (from bacteria)?

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Answer Internal Staff

Diabetics require a consistent source of insulin in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. ‘Animal’ or ‘Natural’ insulin is insulin which has been harvested from the pancreas of an animal, such as a pig or cow whereas GMO Insulin is sourced via the genetic modification of the E.Coli bacterium utilising the human insulin gene to form the insulin protein. This synthetic creation of insulin can pose and combat a range of social issues.

Since its development and approval by a range of the world’s leading health organisations, GMO insulin has become the most popular form prescribed and utilised by diabetics. Its high availability is due to the ease in which it can be produced in large quantities, and the fact that it does not require a mammalian source (pork or beef), making it a suitable and viable alternative, with less ethical implications. GMO insulin can be used by those with specific religious or ethical beliefs that would prevent them from utilising insulin from animals such as cows or pigs.

Whilst GMO insulin has been deemed safe, and is less likely to cause adverse reactions from the user, there are a number of reported cases in which GMO insulin has had adverse reactions in those utilising this form of insulin. GMO insulin is now universally selected and prescribed over animal based insulin, however this can pose a significant social issue for those who cannot utilise GMO insulin, who instead have to acquire animal derived insulin which can be harder to source and be more expensive.