Genes, genome and Gestalt

Cesar Koppe Grisoli
Published March 21, 2005
Genet. Mol. Res. 4 (1): 100-104 (2005)

About the Authors
Cesar Koppe Grisoli

Corresponding author
C.K. Grisolia


According to Gestalt thinking, biological systems cannot be viewed as the sum of their elements, but as processes of the whole. To understand organisms we must start from the whole, observing how the various parts are related. In genetics, we must observe the genome over and above the sum of its genes. Either loss or addition of one gene in a genome can change the function of the organism. Genomes are organized in networks of genes, which need to be well integrated. In the case of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), for example, soybeans, rats, Anopheles mosquitoes, and pigs, the insertion of an exogenous gene into a receptive organism generally causes disturbance in the networks, resulting in the breakdown of gene interactions. In these cases, genetic modification increased the genetic load of the GMO and consequently decreased its adaptability (fitness). Therefore, it is hard to claim that the production of such organisms with an increased genetic load does not have ethical implications.

Key words: Gene network, Genetically modified organism, Gestalt, Genetic load, Bioethics.

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