Genetic Engineering: Definition, Characteristic, and Examples

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Genetic Engineering Definition

Genetic engineering is a technique for selecting and implanting a specific gene into a recipient organism. As a result, the cell that got such an implant can begin generating molecules that perform the required activities. Recombinant DNA, molecular cloning, and transformation are all used in genetic engineering.

What is Genetic Engineering?

Scientists can shift desired genes from one plant or animal to another, or from a plant to an animal, or vice versa, using genetic engineering. desirable, we imply that it can generate a result that is usually considered “helpful” or “useful.” A “genetically modified organism,” or GMO, is an organism that has undergone such genetic alteration.

Because of the numerous benefits, genetic engineering has become a commonplace aspect of our lives.

Genetic Engineering Examples

• Crop types that are considered to be “more beneficial” have been created thanks to genetic engineering. Modern genetic engineering, unlike selective breeding, is more gene-specific. One disadvantage of selective breeding is the risk of creating undesirable characteristics. Modern genetic engineering, which adds particular genes, prevents this. Because the method is very simple, it is faster than selective breeding in terms of producing crops with the desired characteristics. Drought-resistant plants, disease-resistant crops, plants that develop quicker, and plants fortified with more nutrients (e.g. legumes) are all examples of genetically modified plants with more desirable characteristics. The latter can be accomplished by adding genes that code for (1) trace-element-binding proteins, (2) overexpression of already-existing storage proteins, and/or (3) enhanced expression of proteins involved in trace element absorption in plants.

• Organisms can be ‘tailor-made’ to exhibit desired traits. Trees, for example, may have their genes altered to absorb more CO2 and lessen the threat of global warming. Genetic diseases can also be treated through genetic engineering by replacing the defective gene with a functioning one. Disease-carrying insects, such as mosquitoes, might be genetically modified to become infertile. This will aid in the prevention of illnesses such as malaria and dengue fever.

• Genetic engineering has the potential to expand genetic diversity and create more variant alleles that can be crossed across and implanted in other species. It is conceivable, for example, to change the genetics of wheat plants to make them produce insulin. Every coin, however, has two sides to it. While genetic engineering is helpful in the manner stated above, it is also linked to several “unpleasant” or “disadvantageous” outcomes.

• Inadvertent consequences, such as the development of food that might induce an allergic reaction, GMOs that can cause severe genetic effects, and genes transferred from one species to another that is not genetically modified, are all causes for concern. GMO agricultural plants have been demonstrated to transfer beneficial genes to wild populations. Sunflowers that have been genetically modified to repel specific insects are an example. It was discovered that they had passed the gene on to their weedy relatives. Nature is a complicated web of interconnections. Some experts fear that adding genetically modified genes might have irreversible repercussions that are yet to be determined.

• Many moral and ethical concerns are teetering on the edge of genetic engineering. One of the most important concerns posed is whether people have the authority to influence natural laws and processes.

Importance of Genetic Engineering

Along with the discovery of the atom and space flight, genetic engineering may be one of the most significant discoveries in modern history. There are, however, possible dangers. As a result, countries have enacted legislation to regulate the kinds of genetic engineering studies that are conducted. Genetic engineering has developed despite the tight regulations.

Over the years, it has resulted in several experimental achievements.

• In July 1996, scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland succeeded in cloning an identical replica of a sheep dubbed “Dolly.” This was the first successful mammalian artificial cloning.

• A rat’s genetic code was successfully altered to develop a human ear on its back by scientists.

These methods are basically “therapeutic cloning” in nature. Cloning of embryonic cells is now possible. They’re cultivated for medical reasons, such as obtaining biological organs for transplantation. In the laboratory, cells are also cloned for scientific objectives. Cloning a human being is not possible at the moment. The genotype, but not the phenotype, may be cloned.

The revelation of the intricate and microscopic nature of DNA and its component nucleotides paved the way for genetic engineering. It is possible to map chromosomes and DNA for future reference in order to better comprehend them. Because of their simplicity, species like the fruit fly (Drosophila) have had their chromosomes mapped. They will be able to function with fewer genes.

Splicing a region of a chromosome, a gene, that regulates a certain bodily feature is the process of genetic engineering. Endonuclease is an enzyme that splits DNA sequences and separates genes from the rest of the chromosome. This gene, for example, may be designed to generate an antiviral protein. This gene has been deleted and may now be transplanted into a different creature. It can, for example, be put in a bacterial cell and sealed into the DNA chain by ligase.

The bacterial cell is successfully re-programmed to replicate this new antiviral protein once the chromosome is sealed once more. While human intervention has changed the bacterium’s genetic code to make the protein, it can continue to live a healthy life.

Genetic Engineering Citations


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