Genetic Engineering Definitions And Uses Biology Essay


What do I think of genetic engineering? I think it is a way forward in our lives it is helping us to create medicines such as synthetic human insulin, also to change parts in organisms such as their personalities etc. We also used genetic engineering to help with cloning. It is important part of our future.

Definition of genetic engineering

Is the science of changing and cloning genes to produce a new personality in an organism or to make a biological substance into protein or hormones. Genetic engineering is the creation of recombinant DNA, which is then added into the genetic material of a cell or virus.

The uses of genetic engineering

Medicine - Genetic engineering is able to treat many sicknesses and problems within the human body which use to be much more harmful. Many medicines and treatments are available only because of this technology. Today, there are drugs and vaccines which have the ability to treat cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, and arthritis. Genetic engineering is in such items like home pregnancy tests too. This industry has the potential to do things many other drugs can't.

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Agriculture - Much of the foods we eat are in some way connected to genetic engineering. About 60% of our food has some sort of biotechnology in it. By taking traits from one organism and putting it into a food, the food can be changed in many ways, like having it last longer, taste better, and grow faster and larger. It can also be designed to be more immune to certain diseases.

Industry - The ability of bacteria to produce chemicals can be used in other areas as well as in the cheese industry.

Terrorism - The Soviet Union used traits in many organisms to make biological weapons and viruses never heard of. That by using recombinant DNA methods, they might have taken the lethality of Ebola, combined it with the worst part of anthrax, and to top it off, made it extremely contagious by including parts of the smallpox virus.

Genetic engineering controversy

One immoral and greatly feared part of this area of science is the prospect of cloning. While this method provides amazing medical uses, recreation of humans is worth debating. It could lead to the creation of the "perfect race", a repeat of the Nazi dream of a world of people carrying the same characteristics. It could lead to the destruction of a human society that lives for individuality.

Some critics say that cloning people may result in a copy of the body and the loss of the soul. Cloning isn't just about body or soul, it's about regulating a part of life that isn’t in our hands, some call it 'Playing God'. What if the new person didn't appreciate the fact that they were a remake, not an original product?

Myths and facts on genetic engineering

Myth: Genetic engineering is accelerated selective reproductive of humans.

Fact: Genetic engineering and selective breeding is actually very different. Selective breeding deals with the process of crossing the parents of organisms, such as plants and animals, in order to make the desirable characteristics. Takes genes from one body and artificially inserts that gene into a totally different Body. This procedure takes place in order to receive two traits that would unusually occur together.

Myth: Genetic engineered foods have enhanced nutritional value.

Fact: No genetic engineering food has more nutritional value than normal food. GE technology is generally used to make the crops less vulnerable to herbicides. This way, farmers will be able to avoid the problem with weeds and other pests, without harming the crops.

The discoverers of genetic engineering

When studying the facts about genetic engineering, the names of Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen will always be mentioned. In 1973, the two scientists invented a DNA cloning technique.

Cohen and Boyer utilized enzymes to slice a bacteria plasmid. Then they placed this in another DNA strand. These strands were obtained from the same bacteria. Next, the two inserted frog DNA into the bacteria.

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Their work proved that mixing and manipulating genes was possible. Today several enzymes are used to slice the DNA in different ways. The mapping of DNA has made it possible to manipulate genes more easily.


Definition of biotechnology

Is the use of micro-organisms, such as bacteria or yeasts or biological matter, like enzymes, to perform specific industrial or manufacturing processes. Examples include the making of specific drugs, man -made hormones, and bulk foodstuffs as well as the conversion of organic waste and the use of genetically altered bacteria in the cleanup of oil spills.

Uses of Biotechnology

Use of biotechnology in pharmaceutical manufacturing,

Human Insulin

Human Growth Hormone

Human Blood Clotting Factors

Uses of Biotechnology in Agriculture,

Engineered Crops

Herbicide Tolerance

Insect Tolerance

Virus Tolerance

Uses of Biotechnology

Biotechnology can be used for hundreds of things. It's already made an impact on medicine, the environment, edibles, clothing, and agriculture...practically everything!

The manufacture of beer, cheese, cottage cheese, wine and bread all utilize biotechnology,

High Yielding Variety seeds have been developed due to biotechnology. Also, with newer discoveries in this field, better and more eco-friendly fertilizers, manures, pesticides, weedicides and insecticides are being developed. Biotech could only be showing us the way to a new, renewable source of energy.

Genetically modified organisms can be used to control or cure certain diseases.

Reduced vulnerability of crops to environmental stresses

Biotechnologists are studying plants that can cope with extreme conditions in the hope of finding the genes that enable them to do so and eventually transferring these genes to the more desirable crops. For example, drought and excessively salty soil are two important limiting factors in crop productivity.

The Ethical Issues

1. Some feel that 'respect for life' implies that there should be no interference with it. Heart transplants are as radically unnatural as gene transplants, but most people consider them to be ethically acceptable.

2. Discovery is often fast and with little consideration of the repercussions. Also making it more available and if inadequate restrictions are put on it, it can lead to abuse Environmentally, this may also be a problem as the long term effects of this technology are not always known when it is put in place.

3. Advanced technology involves methods that are only properly understood by the scientists who develop and use them. This leaves considerable power in the hands of the companies that employ these experts, leading to public suspicion of these products and the so called experts. Even though some of these suspicions are due to ignorance and the complexity of the technology. It is also made worse by memories of unfortunate incidents, such as the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis in the UK. There is also much suspicion of Major Companies, who are thought to want to profit of these products by making users dependant on them and then controlling their availability. The ethical use of biotechnology clearly includes it being provided on a fair and just basis, it won’t be inexpensive to those who have undertaken the considerable expenses and risks of R&D nor putting small-scale users at the mercy of large-scale suppliers.

Cloning is also a big part of this topic

Cloning involves the removal of the nucleus from one cell and its placement in an unfertilized egg cell whose nucleus has either been deactivated or removed.

There are two types of cloning:

Reproductive cloning: After a few divisions, the egg cell is placed into a uterus where it is allowed to develop into a fetus that is genetically identical to the donor of the original nucleus.

Therapeutic cloning: The egg is placed into a Petri dish where it develops into embryonic stem cells, which have shown potentials for treating several ailments.

In February 1997, cloning became the focus of media attention when Ian Wilmut and his colleagues at the Roslin Institute announced the successful cloning of a sheep, named Dolly, from the mammary glands of an adult female. The cloning of Dolly made it apparent to many that the techniques used to produce her could someday be used to clone human beings. This stirred a lot of arguments because of its ethical implications.

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