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Genetic engineering is the process of altering an organism's genetic makeup using recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology. Traditionally, humans have controlled breeding and selected offspring with desired qualities to influence genomes indirectly. The alteration of one or more genes is referred to as genetic engineering. To give an organism a desirable phenotype, a gene from another species is usually inserted to its genome. Genetic engineering techniques have resulted in the development of medically essential goods such as human insulin, human growth hormone, and the hepatitis B vaccination, as well as genetically modified species such as disease-resistant plants.
In the 1970s, the phrase "genetic engineering" was coined to describe the growing field of recombinant DNA technology and some of the developments that were taking place. As most people who read textbooks and other materials are aware, recombinant DNA technology began with relatively simple tasks—cloning very small pieces of DNA and growing them in bacteria—and has since grown into a vast field in which entire genomes can be cloned and moved from cell to cell using a variety of techniques that all fall under the broad definition of genetic engineering.
What’s the Process like?
The majority of recombinant DNA technology entails inserting foreign genes into the plasmids of typical laboratory bacteria strains. Plasmids are tiny DNA rings that are not part of a bacterium's chromosome (the organism's major reservoir of genetic information). They are, nevertheless, capable of guiding protein synthesis and, like chromosomal DNA, are replicated and passed on to the bacterium's descendants. Researchers can generate an essentially infinite number of copies of the inserted gene by introducing foreign DNA (for example, a mammalian gene) into a bacterium. Furthermore, if the inserted gene is functional (that is, if it drives protein synthesis), the transformed bacterium will create the protein that the foreign DNA specifies.
So, how is it done?
The ability of gene editing to fix genetic mistakes linked to disease in animals suggests that it could be used in human gene therapy. Gene therapy involves inserting a healthy gene into a person's genome to correct a mutation that causes a hereditary disease. When a normal gene is put into a mutant nucleus, it will most likely integrate into a chromosomal position other than the defective allele; while this may correct the mutation, if the normal gene integrates into another functional gene, a new mutation may arise. There's a chance that if the normal gene replaces the mutant allele, the transformed cells will multiply and create enough normal gene product for the entire body to be restored to its pre-diseased state.
Many theoretical and practical aspects of gene function and organisation have been improved thanks to genetic engineering. Bacteria capable of manufacturing human insulin, human growth hormone, alpha interferon, a hepatitis B vaccine, and other therapeutically important compounds have been developed using recombinant DNA technology. Plants can be genetically modified to fix nitrogen, and genetic illnesses can be treated by replacing faulty genes with ones that work normally.
Toxin-producing genes have been inserted into various plant species, including corn and cotton. Crop plants have also been inoculated with bacterial genes that give herbicide resistance. Other attempts at plant genetic engineering have tried to improve the plant's nutritional value.
The use of genome editing in humans has created a lot of ethical questions, especially about how it could be used to change personality qualities like brilliance and beauty. More practically, some researchers attempted to use gene editing to change genes in human sperm, allowing the edited genes to be passed down to future generations, while others attempted to change genes that increase the risk of certain types of cancer in offspring, with the goal of lowering cancer risk in offspring. However, the effects of gene editing on human genetics were unknown, and there were few rules to guide its usage.