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Genetic Engineering: Its Definition, Introduction and Applications

BY: Muniba Safdar | Category: Genetics | Submitted: 2011-03-12 19:26:07
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Article Summary: "What is genetic engineering? Genetic engineering or genetic modification is defined as the human's direct manipulation in an organism's genetic material. It is basically an alteration of genetic makeup of an organism by using techniques in order to produce heritable material and then directly introduce into a cell or host that i.."


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Definition:

"Genetic engineering or genetic modification is defined as the human's direct manipulation in an organism's genetic material. It is basically an alteration of genetic makeup of an organism by using techniques in order to produce heritable material and then directly introduce into a cell or host that is then amalgamated or hybridized with the host.

In other words, genetic engineering is the technology used to prepare Recombinant DNA (genetically engineered DNA made by recombining fragments of DNA from different organisms) in vitro by pruning up DNA molecules and splicing (is a junction where two things (as paper, film or magnetic tape) have been joined together) together break ups from more than one organism.

Introduction:


These manipulations do not occur in natural conditions. And they can be done by the use of recombinant DNA techniques (is a technology which allows DNA to be produced via artificial means). Genetic engineering does not include traditionalistic techniques such as;

• Animal and plant breeding
• In-vitro fertilization
• Induction of polyploidy
• Mutagenesis (is an event capable of causing a mutation)
• Cell fusion

These above mentioned techniques do not comprise of recombinant nucleic acid or genetically engineered organism in the process. Engineered organisms are generated by using recombinant DNA techniques and this phenomenon is considered to be a Genetically Modified Organism ((of an animal or plant, esp. as food) having genetic material that has been changed using genetic engineering).

In 1973, bacteria were genetically engineered for the first time and it was the first organism that was modified. The second organisms genetically engineered were mice and it was modified in 1974. Commercialization of insulin producing bacteria were took place in 1982.

The incorporation of genetic material can be done directly or indirectly into the host or into a cell. Indirectly fusion of genetic material can be done via;

• Vector system
(is defined as (genetics) a virus or other agent that is used to deliver DNA to a cell or (microorganism) any agent (person, animal or microorganism) that carries and transfers a disease for example, "mosquitos are vectors of malaria and yellow fever").

Directly incorporation of heritable material can be done using three different techniques;

• Micro-injection (denotes to the method of using a glass micropipette to introduce substances at a microscopic or borderline macroscopic level into a single living cell)

• Macro-injection
(may be defined as 'injection of plasmid DNA (or uncloned native DNA) right into the lumen of developing inflorescence using a hypodermic syringe)

• Micro-encapsulation
(is a process in which minute particles or droplets are surrounded by a coating to give small capsules many beneficial properties. In a relatively simplistic form, a microcapsule is a minor sphere with a uniform wall around it)

Applications:

Genetic engineering has numerous applications in medicine, biotechnology, industry, research and agriculture. These applications can be used on a range of animals, plants and many other micro-organisms.

Medicine:

In the field of medicine, genetic engineering has been applied to;

• Human growth hormone
• Mass-produce insulin
• Human albumin (is the most abundant protein in human blood plasma)
• Vaccines
• Monoclonal antibodies (are monospecific antibodies that are the same because they are made by identical immune cells that are all clones of a unique parent cell)
• Antihemophilic factors (or Factor VIII (FVIII) is vital blood clotting factor also identified as anti-hemophilic factor (AHF)
• Follistim (is a preparation of gonadotropins from the urine of postmenopausal women, encompassing follicle-stimulating hormone and used in conjunction with human chorionic gonadotropin to induce ovulation)
• Many other drugs

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