What is genetic engineering?
Genetic engineering or called recombinant DNA technology involves molecular genetic technique use for the direct manipulation, alteration or modification of genes or genome of an organism in order to manipulate.
Genetic engineering is used by scientist to modify the characteristic of an individual organism.
For example, genetic engineering used to produce plants with higher nutrition.
History of genetic engineering
Genetic engineering based on genetic reshuffling pioneered in 1973 by American biochemist Herbert W. Boyer and Stanley N. Cohen who were first to cut DNA into fragments, rejoin different fragments and insert the new genes. In 1976 this technology was commercialized, in which advent of genetically modified bacteria that produced somatostatin, followed by insulin in 1978. In 1994 the first genetically modified food Flavr Savr tomato was marketed.
Types of genetic engineering techniques
Recombinant DNA- In recombination DNA technology the artificial DNA molecule is constructed using some of the physical methods. For that, the gene is inserted into the plasmid and used to gene transfer experiments.
Gene delivering– Gene delivering technique is used for the insertion of a gene of interest into the host.
Solicitation, electrophoration, and liposome-meditated gene transfer, transposon-mediated gene transfer, vector-mediated gene transfer is some of the methods used for gene delivering.
Gene editing- gene-editing technique is used to editing the genome in which unwanted DNA is removed or a new gene can be inserted into the host gene.
TALEN, ZFN AND CRISPR-CAS9 are some gene editing tools used in gene therapy experiment.
The Genetic Engineering processes
The genetic engineering process is not a simple process, it requires machinery and innovative minds.
There are several steps in genetic engineering. The scientist follows a step by step in the process to alter the DNA of an organism.
Let us take the example of insulin, a protein that helps to maintain the sugar levels in our blood.
- A small piece of DNA called plasmid is extracted from the bacteria.
- Then cut a small section out of the circular plasmid by restriction, ‘molecular scissors’.
- The gene of human insulin is inserted into the gap of a plasmid. Now, this plasmid is genetically modified.
- The genetically modified plasmid is placed into new bacteria.
- Then this cell divides rapidly and starts making insulin.
- To create a large number of cells, the genetically modified bacteria are growing in large fermentation vessels which contain all the nutrients needed by bacteria to grow.
- When the fermentation process is complete, the mixture is getting filtered to release the insulin.
- Then the insulin is purified and packaged into the bottles and insulin pens for distribution to diabetes patients.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of genetic engineering
There are many advantages that genetic engineering brings in world today. There are also several disadvantages that must be observed. Here are some key points to consider
Advantages of Genetic Engineering
- Human is manipulating plant and animal since the starting of our history. That why we have different types of breeds of some animal, for example, or different types of crops. Selected crossbreeding, based on specific characteristics that work in similar characteristics on another species. DNA insertion takes this concept at a new level.
- Genetic engineering could open a new field of medicine. We have genetic testing in place to test for certain cancers. We could use DNA manipulation to help for those people who born with genetic disorders. Some cancers are considered hereditary and could treated from genetic engineering technologies. In future this could bring a better quality of life, longer lifespan and faster disease treatment.
- We already use genetic engineering in medicine in order to create variety of treatment. Because of genetic engineering insulin, vaccine and hormone treatment are available. Since progress we can create more treatment that allows allow us to more proactive often again pathogens.
Disadvantages of genetic engineering
1.Many changes were guaranteed by genetic engineering. Many of those changes are positive but somehow it also brings negative changes which are unexpected. Making plants become more tolerant to drought may also make the plant less tolerant in direct sunlight. Animals may be modified to produce milk but it can cause a shortage of lifespan at the same time farmers suffer greater livestock.
2. At some point, genetically engineered animals and plants interact with domestic species. Genetic engineered organisms often dominate, as a result, modified species over several generations, reducing the diversity which is available.
3. When animals grow, the nutritional value of that product cane be reduced. We can see this in poultry products like meat product. Striping is a fat deposit which was often used in breast meat, because of rapid growth of birds.