This video is an introduction to the Enviropig website. It provides background information and the main issues that lead to the Enviropig project.
For more information visit the Enviropig website: https://ge.unl.edu/enviropig/
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[00:00:03.110]This video will give you an introduction
[00:00:05.010]to the story of Enviropig: Solving Environmental Contaminant
[00:00:08.950]Issues Using Genetically Modified Organisms.
[00:00:13.310]Let's start with the problem.
[00:00:15.010]Animal agriculture is a major contributor
[00:00:17.370]to the increased amount of phosphorus in the environment.
[00:00:20.370]And that is because it is found in animal manure.
[00:00:23.310]If you've ever worked in agriculture,
[00:00:24.910]even been around agriculture,
[00:00:26.610]you probably understand that animals produce
[00:00:29.230]a large amount of this manure.
[00:00:31.190]So, this is a large environmental concern
[00:00:33.870]when it comes to disposing all this phosphorus
[00:00:35.850]that comes from the manure,
[00:00:37.210]as this phosphorus can be led into other areas
[00:00:39.830]of the environment through run-off.
[00:00:42.630]So, what is the impact of increased
[00:00:46.550]Well, one process that occurs is called eutrophication,
[00:00:50.250]and this can lead to major issues.
[00:00:52.310]Eutrophication is an excess of nutrients,
[00:00:54.690]typically nitrogen or phosphorus,
[00:00:56.710]which are common agricultural elements.
[00:00:59.690]And what happens is, these elements are found
[00:01:01.910]in a body of water, and they increase
[00:01:03.950]the amount of nutrients in this body of water,
[00:01:06.210]which then increases plant growth.
[00:01:08.811]Once all these plants grow at an excessive rate,
[00:01:11.110]they die out and then decomposers must come
[00:01:14.270]and do their job by breaking down this plant tissue.
[00:01:17.130]Well, the decomposers need to use a lot of oxygen
[00:01:19.510]to do this, so the biological oxygen demand increases,
[00:01:23.450]which then leads to a decrease
[00:01:25.050]in the available dissolved oxygen.
[00:01:27.610]So, there's less oxygen available for the other
[00:01:29.910]aquatic organisms living in that body of water.
[00:01:32.770]And this can lead to a stagnant body of water,
[00:01:35.050]as many aquatic organisms die out.
[00:01:38.670]Here is an example of a small scale look
[00:01:42.830]As you can see, where the ducks are swimming
[00:01:44.510]there is very murky water.
[00:01:46.210]This is the dead plant tissue that has floated to the top.
[00:01:49.510]You can also see in this circle
[00:01:51.030]that there is a dead fish.
[00:01:52.790]And this is just a very small example
[00:01:54.750]of what can occur.
[00:01:55.990]This fish probably died due to lack of oxygen,
[00:01:59.070]and when this occurs at a large scale,
[00:02:00.530]it can lead to major problems.
[00:02:03.150]So, how it gets to this large scale is
[00:02:05.250]the eutrophication occurs in waterways
[00:02:08.930]like this stream here.
[00:02:10.430]Let's say, for example, this stream is somewhere
[00:02:12.550]in the Midwest, and it eventually makes its way
[00:02:14.490]to the Mississippi River.
[00:02:16.230]Well, that's a very large body of water
[00:02:18.090]that can make a big impact.
[00:02:19.530]And when the Mississippi River meets
[00:02:21.630]with the Gulf of Mexico, it can lead to examples like this.
[00:02:25.370]This is the tip of the Florida peninsula,
[00:02:27.350]and you can see that a lot of this water's very murky,
[00:02:30.310]and kind of has a fog through it.
[00:02:32.250]This is actually dead plant tissue,
[00:02:34.370]and this is an example of large-scale eutrophication.
[00:02:37.410]So, the problems that can arise from this
[00:02:39.291]are the economy is affected, because the fishing industry
[00:02:41.750]is really hurt.
[00:02:42.930]A lot of the fish they're going after are dying out.
[00:02:45.731]Biodiversity is also affected because a lot of organisms
[00:02:48.790]that rely on this oxygen now cannot find it.
[00:02:52.450]And another big issue is the smell that occurs
[00:02:54.990]once these animals die.
[00:02:56.711]And this can be very noticeable if you're on the coast.
[00:03:00.630]And if you've ever lived on the coast
[00:03:02.010]where this is a problem,
[00:03:03.390]you may have noticed the smell before,
[00:03:05.250]and it can just be very unpleasant for the environment.
[00:03:09.270]So let's take a step back and see why this occurs.
[00:03:12.110]What is happening in animal physiology
[00:03:13.830]that makes this large amount of phosphorus?
[00:03:16.910]Well, animals produce a lot of this phosphorus
[00:03:18.970]because they lack the ability to break down phytate.
[00:03:21.730]They cannot utilize the phosphorus in their feed.
[00:03:24.611]And pigs and poultry are large contributors to this.
[00:03:28.131]So, how do we solve this problem?
[00:03:30.070]We introduce a gene that reduces phosphorus in pig waste,
[00:03:36.150]This gene creates phytase that helps breaks down
[00:03:38.870]the phytate in animals' feed.
[00:03:41.870]The phytase occurs in the saliva, better breaks down
[00:03:44.830]this phytate, and then there's less phosphorus in the waste.
[00:03:49.290]So, how do we get to the solution?
[00:03:51.470]The first step is to develop a gene that decreases
[00:03:53.890]phosphorus in manure, and that is the Enviropig gene.
[00:03:57.370]Then, using transformation processes, we alter the pig DNA,
[00:04:02.050]then we breed the transgenic pigs that have been transformed
[00:04:06.170]and we test for successful transformation.
[00:04:09.590]You can learn about all these steps
[00:04:11.570]by checking out the rest of the Enviropig website.
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