Introduction to genetic engineering
Today’s society is experiencing revolutionary changes because of various emerging technologies; genetic engineering is among them.
Genetic engineering is an artificial method for alteration, modification and recombination of DNA (or other nucleic acids), changing the genetic composition of organisms and plants. In other words, it gets defined as the method of recombinant DNA technology. Genetic engineering techniques emerged from the research conducted in microbial genetics, leading to the production of multiple vital medical products, such as human insulin, hepatitis B vaccine and human growth hormone.
A brief back-story about genetic engineering
Earlier, genetic engineering or modification used to focus on gene editing (CRISPR-Cas9). Researchers used to modify the genetic sequence in a living organism, making specific changes to the DNA. Genetic editing has widespread applications, which includes gene editing in crop plants, livestock and other organisms.
Gene therapy is repairing a dysfunctional gene with a normal one to prevent the cause of genetic diseases. Once the normal gene gets inserted into the mutant nucleus, it integrates a chromosomal site, different from the defective allele. Hence, generating a new mutation. When the mutant allele gets replaced by the normal gene, the transformed cells might multiply and produce a normal gene for the entire body. As a result, the functional phenotype gets restored in any organism.
Procedure and Application
In most cases, DNA manipulation technology includes three basic steps- firstly, the DNA fragment is isolated from the donor organism; secondly, the isolated fragment gets inserted into the vector genome; and lastly, the manipulated vector is grown in the appropriate host. Genetic engineering gets used in plants for the development of genetically manipulated organisms. Such as disease-resistant plants, which are rich in nutrition value. Similarly, it gets used to develop dairy animals producing therapeutic protein contained milk to treat cystic fibrosis and other diseases.
Genetic engineering is the study of advanced understanding of theoretical and practical outlook on gene functioning. By using the DNA modification techniques, bacteria got created. They can synthesise essential medical products- hepatitis B vaccine, alpha interferon, human growth hormone and human insulin. On the other hand, plants are genetically modified, enabling them to fix nitrogen and prevent various genetic diseases by replacing the dysfunctional genes with the functioning ones; also, genes that kill insects gets introduced in plants species.
Genetic engineering raised different concerns regarding its application to human beings. However, the newly developed gene-editing tools brought the solution to these social implications.