What is Genetic Engineering?
Genetic Engineering, also known as genetic modification, is the process of altering DNA in an organism’s genome. This includes altering a pair of bases, deleting a region of DNA, or adding an additional copy of a gene. It can also refer to extracting DNA from another organism and combining it with the DNA of the organism that extracted it. It is used to enhance or modify the DNA of an individual. Genetic engineering can be used to modify anything, being a human, or even a virus. For example, you can genetically modify a plant to have higher nutritional values and be more tolerant to herbicides.
How does Genetic Engineering work?
Genetic Engineering works by physically removing a gene from an organism and giving it to another. This gives it the ability to show the trait coded in the gene. Genetic engineering uses a step-by-step process to give the genes to the organisms. First, a small piece of DNA is extracted from the organism and copies it. The desired gene must be located and is then copied thousands of times. This is gene cloning. The gene can be modified slightly once in the organism. The new copied gene, called the transgene, gets delivered into the cells of the receiver organism. This is called transformation. From here, a few different techniques can be used by the cells and transgene. A few techniques consist of the gene gun and when a bacterium naturally genetically engineers’ plants with its own DNA. After either technique, it takes the cells and transgene hundreds of times to do this just to produce a few transgenic organisms. Once a transgenic organism has been made, traditional breeding is used to improve the characteristics of the final product. This also means that genetic engineering does not get rid of the use of traditional breeding. It is just way to add new traits.
The Genetic Engineering Process.
First a small piece of DNA called a plasmid is extracted from a bacteria or yeast cell. A small section of the plasmid is then cut off with molecular scissors. The gene for human insulin is inserted into the plasmid, and the plasmid is now genetically modified, the modified plasmid is then put into a new bacteria or yeast cell. The cell begins to divide rapidly creating insulin. The genetically modified bacteria or yeast is then grown in large fermentation vessels, that contain nutrients they need, the cells begin to divide. When fermentation is complete, the mixture is released, which releases the insulin. The insulin is then purified and placed into bottles and insulin pens to be given to patients with diabetes
What else is Genetic Engineering used for?
Genetic engineering has been applied the resilience, nutritional value and growth rate on plants and crops. In animals, genetic engineering has used to develop a sheep that produces a therapeutic protein in their milk that can be used to treat cystic fibrosis, a disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system. This milk also can make worms glow in the dark, both can allow scientists to study and learn more about Alzheimer’s.
How is Genetic Engineering best used?
Genetic Engineering is used for medicine, and research and can be used on a wide range of plants and animals. In Medicine it is used to create a large amount of insulin, growth hormones, vaccines, and more. When being used for research, it can be used to alter different genes to discover the purpose of these genes.
How is Genetic Engineering changing the future?
Genetic engineering was developed to help stop diseases spreading. With the coming of genetic engineering, scientists can change the way genomes are made to destroy certain diseases that happen as a result of genetic mutation. This can impact the growing spread of diseases in the future.
Greatest Advancements using Genetic Engineering
Bananas: Bananas are a very important source of calories in many countries around the world. Bananas are genetically modified with a certain gene from a pepper so that they don’t pick up different types of diseases.
Onions that don’t make you cry: in 2008 it was discovered that If you insert a certain gene it down regulates the enzyme in an onion that causes your eyes to tear up.
Purple Tomatoes: In 2008 it was discovered that if you put a gene from a purple decorative plant into a tomato then the tomato will turn a purple colour, it was later discovered that it can prevent mice from getting cancer.