Genetic engineering is simply the application of biology to the natural genetic material. This technology can be utilised to introduce desired traits into plants which are more resistant to drought, pests, weeds, or many other diseases.
In some sense, humans have been genetically modifying the genetic material of plants for thousands of years via selective breeding, but the rate at which the technology is being utilised has increased dramatically over the past decade. What this means for the grower is increased yield from their crops. It also means increased profits and a safer environment. Genetic engineering can be applied to virtually any living organism.
One example of a popular use of genetic engineering is the introduction of insulin into the human body. Some years ago, scientists discovered that they could grow insulin in a lab from a different species of bacteria.
They called this bacterium insulin-like growth factor (IGF). Originally this was a substance that only birds had. Later it was discovered that the lab mice and pigs also produced some level of IGF, which led to the invention of insulin. This is a valuable product, as diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the world today.
Genetic engineering through genetic modification is also widely employed in the agricultural industry. A good example of this is the planting of beneficial insects into a crop designed to combat harmful insects. The beneficial insects do not only help in controlling harmful pests, but in fact, help in controlling the population of the pest altogether. This method of pest control is commonly employed by farmers across the world.
Other uses of genetic engineering are in biotechnological development. Here, techniques such as genetic alteration are used to produce stronger or more useful organisms. In this sense, it can be said that genetic engineering is also utilized for the development of new pharmaceutical drugs. There are many pharmaceutical companies researching on this front, and the results of their work so far have been promising.
Recently, genetic engineering has made use of genetic engineering technologies that allow the creation of different kinds of fungi. Fungi are known for being able to create various drugs suitable for human use. These research techniques allow for the creation of new strains of bacteria that are capable of fighting serious disease such as HIV.
Gene expression involves the system of creating new genes or DNA from scratch. One such technique involves creating a clone of an organism using genetic engineering technologies such as bacterial artificial expression. Such clones are then injected into the body of the patient who will carry the disease-causing virus. However, this process has been deemed risky by some quarters due to the possibility of transmitting the disease to other individuals.
What is DNA?
Deoxyribonucleic acid, better known as DNA, is a complex molecule that contains all the information needed to build and maintain an organism. All living things have DNA in their cells. In fact, almost every cell in a multicellular organism has a complete set of DNA required for that organism.
However, DNA does not simply determine the structure and function of living things – it also serves as the primary unit of heredity in all types of organisms. In other words, whenever organisms reproduce, some of their DNA is passed on to their offspring.
This transfer of all or part of the body’s DNA helps to ensure a certain level of continuity from one generation to the next, while allowing small changes that contribute to the diversity of life.
In the case of genetic engineering through DNA, an organism is fined-tuned through a process called editing. The DNA is inserted into the genome of another organism where it is changed. Editing involves swapping the letters or DNA between the genes of the target organism.
After such alterations, the altered gene will behave in a manner similar to the target gene in an effort to make the target organism behave in a way desired by scientists. Editing can occur between different species of animals, between unrelated organisms and even within species.
The most recent example of genetic engineering through DNA is the creation of insulin. Scientists in the laboratory created insulin from pancreatic cells of goats. The pancreatic cells were injected into diabetic mice without killing them. Soon after, the mice began to secrete a natural form of insulin to help in their diabetic condition.
Genetic engineering has the potential to cure many disease conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, breast cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, blindness, infertility, sickle cell anemia, and many more. It has the potential to dramatically change human evolution and the future of the human species if successful. However, it also has the potential to cause all kinds of collateral damage if the project goes wrong. This is why scientists must conduct extensive research before using any kind of genetic engineering technique.
While the potential uses for genetic engineering are indeed very great, we should not forget that it is still experimental science, and is thus unpredictable. This means that unpredictable results might occur; therefore, caplan genetic engineering should be considered very carefully before being launched into actual use.
We cannot afford to lose control of the unpredictable, and we certainly cannot afford to disrupt the natural balance of nature. For this reason, the process of regulatory science and patenting needs to be established prior to any genetically modified organisms are made available to the public.
There are two basic types of genetic engineering. One is through genetic editing, where cells are manipulated in order to alter their genetic makeup. The other is through genetic engineering through homologous mismatch, where homologous pairs of chromosomes are inserted into the target organism.
These organisms have exactly the same genetic makeup as the target organism. However, when these are introduced into the target organism, there is a chance that the insertion will lead to unexpected mutations that will be harmful to the target organism. When this happens, then farmers would have to deal with the potentially fatal consequences.
However, even though we are already dealing with genetic diseases, we can still avoid further problems by using genetic engineering for the creation of beneficial crops or organisms. With improved tools and knowledge, scientists can still introduce corrective genes into crops to avoid their resistance to pest or disease.
For instance, the scientists introduced a gene that increases the tolerance level of a certain crop to drought. Then they tested this by trying to eat the same food with the crops that had this increased tolerance level. The scientists found out that the crop that had this increased tolerance level was able to withstand droughts that previously caused severe damage to a number of crops.
Another example involves the introduction of bacterial viruses into human embryos for the purpose of gene editing. Scientists tested this method where they transferred two copies of the malicious virus into the stomach of donor mothers. Once these viral particles were inserted into the embryos, they found out that the viruses caused massive immune system reaction that destroyed most of the embryos. However, the modified sperm were successful in fertilizing the remaining embryos.