Hey, do you guys know “What is Genetic Engineering?” If no then let us explain to you this! Genetic Engineering is the method of utilizing recombinant Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology to modify the genetic making of an organism. It involves the direct manipulation of one or more genes to give it the desired composition. Genetic Engineering may mean changing a set of base pairs, extracting DNA from another organism’s gene, combining it with DNA of different individuals, adding or introducing a copy of a gene, or deleting a whole region of DNA. It can be applied to any living organism, from a virus, bacteria to a sheep.
Types of Genetic Engineering
There are different types of Genetic Engineering, e.g., Embryo Rescue, Cell Selection, Somatic Hybridization, Simple Selection, to name a few. Through Genetic Engineering, scientists could move one desirable gene of a plant or animal to another or vice versa and improve its traits for maximum benefits. GE is a technology wherein a specific gene can be selected and implanted into the recipient subject. And the cell that received such an implant can begin producing substances with the desired functions. Genetic engineering uses recombinant DNA, molecular cloning, and transformation methods.
One successful example of Genetic Engineering is that scientists in New Zealand have made onions that do not make our eyes water. They have more beneficial for healthy sulfur-containing substances than normal onions. Scientists all over the globe have been researching Genetic Engineering for many years, with a major focus on the importance ranging from diagnosing disease conditions, increasing animal and plant food production, improvement in the fields of medical treatment, and production of useful drugs or vaccines. It could increase genetic diversity among plants and animals and help produce more variants that could be crossed with other species and implanted onto others.
Importance of Genetic Engineering
What is genetic engineering used for? Genetics helps us understand why people are tall, short, look, why some people are prone to some diseases than others, etc. It can also be beneficial to health care professionals as they can identify certain conditions or abnormalities in babies even before they are born by running some tests on the parents. By the use of Genetic Engineering, organisms can be custom-made to show some desirable traits and suppress recessive traits. For example, genes can be manipulated in trees to absorb more carbon dioxide from nature. It reduces the threat of global warming, and functional genes in genetic disorders can replace faulty genes.
Disease-carrying insects such as mosquitos can be genetically engineered into becoming infertile insects. This will help in reducing the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Since there are two sides to every coin, Genetic Engineering also in certain conditions be deemed as disadvantageous or uncomfortable. There are some concerns over its ill-natured effects, such as creating food that can cause allergic reactions to someone or Genetically Engineered Organisms (GMO) that can cause harmful genetic effects. GE borderlines on many incorruptible issues in our society. One of the main questions raised is “Do humans have the right to adapt the laws and course of nature itself.”
Genetic Engineering Process
Genetic Engineering can be accomplished by following these three basic steps. These are 1. Isolate the DNA fragments from the donor organism; 2. Introduction of isolated donor DNA fragment onto a vector genome and 3. Growth of the recombinant vector in a satisfactory host. The first recombinant DNA was built in a lab by Paul Berg in the year 1972.
Genetic Modification (GM) is a technology that includes putting DNA onto the genome of a life form. To grow a GM plant, new DNA is needed to transfer into the plant cells of an existing plant. And then, the cells are grown in tissue culture, where they develop into a new plant. The seeds produced by these plants will then inherit the DNA of the new modified plant. The attributes of all living organisms are decided by their genetic makeup and their interaction with nature.
The genetic makeup of an organism is its genome, which is made of DNA in all animals and plants. The genome contains genes, regions of DNA that usually carry the directions for making proteins. It is these proteins that give the plant its desirable traits. For example, the color of the flowers is definite by genes. It carries the instructions for assembling the proteins involved in creating the pigments that color petals have.
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GM of plants includes adding a particular extend of DNA into its genome, giving it a separate trait. This could include changing the way the plant grows, making it resistant to diseases, and improving its life. The new DNA then becomes part of the GM plant’s genome which the seeds produced by the plants will henceforth contain. The first stage in making a GM plant requires the transfer of DNA onto the desired plant cell. One of the methods used to transfer DNA is to coat the outside of small metal particles with the applicable DNA fragment and batter the particles into the plant cells. Another method is to use a bacteria or a virus. Many bacteria and viruses transfer their DNA into a host cell as a typical part of their life cycle.
Examples of GE
Enviro-Pig (enhanced Yorkshire pigs from Canada) is a good Genetic Engineering example. Enviro-Pig emits 30 to 60 percent less phosphorus than conventional pigs fed the same regular diet through genetic engineering. This minimizes livestock’s effect on the surroundings. In some cases, pigs have also been genetically engineered to express the Δ12 fatty acid gene for higher levels of omega-3. Some goats have been genetically engineering to show human lysozyme in their milk. In the year 2002, scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) created phosphorescent mice. They injected a single-celled mouse fetus with a specific virus with a jellyfish gene for green fluorescence. Scientists have since then created glow-in-the-dark cats, fish, and other animals.
The previously mentioned applications of Genetic Engineering have their own benefits to humans despite their equally perceptible risks. Nevertheless, one of the most dangerous risks of new advances is their indisputable potential for biological warfare. This possibility for trackless resistant infections or diseases is what scares all countries.
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