Saturday, December 6, 2008

Genetic Engineering


Genetic engineering, genetic modification (GM) and gene splicing are terms for the process of manipulating genes, usually outside the organism's natural reproductive process.

It involves the isolation, manipulation and reintroduction of DNA into cells or model organisms, usually to express a protein. The aim is to introduce new characteristics or attributes physiologically or physically, such as making a crop resistant to a herbicide, introducing a novel trait, or producing a new protein or enzyme, along with altering the organism to produce more of certain traits.

Examples can include the production of human insulin through the use of modified bacteria, the production of erythropoietin in Chinese Hamster Ovary cells, and the production of new types of experimental mice such as the OncoMouse (cancer mouse) for research, through genetic redesign.

Since a protein is specified by a segment of DNA called a gene, future versions of that protein can be modified by changing the gene's underlying DNA. One way to do this is to isolate the piece of DNA containing the gene, precisely cut the gene out, and then reintroduce (splice) the gene into a different DNA segment.

Since a protein is specified by a segment of DNA called a gene, future versions of that protein can be modified by changing the gene's underlying DNA. One way to do this is to isolate the piece of DNA containing the gene, precisely cut the gene out, and then reintroduce (splice) the gene into a different DNA segment. Daniel Nathans and Hamilton Smith received the 1978 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their isolation of restriction endonucleases, which are able to cut DNA at specific sites. Together with ligase, which can join fragments of DNA together, restriction enzymes formed the initial basis of recombinant DNA technology.

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1 comments:

tjaeger3 on November 29, 2011 at 9:01 PM said...

Genetic Engineering is a very interesting science and has a long way to go. Once this science is mastered does anyone see other countires begin to create super soldiers? I've thought about this a lot and it seems scary. No way that the United States would modify humans to create ridiculous soldiers but what happens when other countries do? Will Cloning occur once the desired soldier is created? How will the United States be able to counter this? Is it even realistic? This science can become very dangerous very quick. Will it be used to create super athletes also? The possibilities are endless. Where does it stop and what should this science be used for specifically? There is a lot of gray area and it will be interesting to see how it pans out in the future...