Humanity must learn how to change effectively the hereditary nature of living organisms to provide safe food, raw materials, and not cause the planet an ecological catastrophe. The main objective of breeders in our time has become the problem of creating new forms of plants, animals, and microorganisms which are well suited to industrial methods of production; thereby steadily carrying the adverse conditions, effectively using solar energy and, most importantly, possible to obtain organic products without excessive environmental pollution. Fundamentally, new approaches to solving this fundamental problem are to use a selection of gene and cell engineering.
Gene (genetic) engineering - The section of molecular genetics associated with the purposeful creation of new molecules of DNA that can replicate in the host cell and to monitor the synthesis of essential metabolites of the cell. Originating at the turn of nucleic acid chemistry and genetics of microorganisms, genetic engineering evolved into deciphering the structure of genes, their synthesis and cloning, an insert isolated from cells of living organisms, or newly synthesized genes in the cells of plants and animals to directional changes in their hereditary properties.
To implement the transfer of genes (or transgenic) organisms from one species to another, often very distant in origin, it is necessary to perform several complex operations.
Selection of genes (individual fragments of DNA) from cells of bacteria, plants or animals. In some cases, this operation replaces the artificial synthesis of the desired genes.
Compound (crosslinking) of individual DNA fragments from any source into a single molecule in the plasmid.
Introduction of hybrid plasmid DNA containing the desired gene into the host cells;
Copying (cloning) of this gene in the new host to ensure its work.
Cloned genes by micro-injection are injected into the ovum of mammals or plant protoplasts (isolated cells devoid of cell wall) and from them grow whole animals or plants, which are incorporated into the genome (integrated) of the cloned genes. Plants and animals, the genome has been altered through genetic engineering operations, are called transgenic plants or transgenic animals.
Already, transgenic mice, rabbits, pigs, and sheep genome exist that employ foreign genes of various origins, (including the genes of bacteria, yeast, mammalian, human, and transgenic plants) with genes of other, unrelated species. Transgenic organisms show the great possibilities of genetic engineering as an applied branch of molecular genetics. For example, recent years have received a new generation of transgenic plants, which are characterized by such valuable traits like herbicide tolerance, insect, etc. Transgenic plants in 1999, occupied in the world an area of 48.2 million hectares.
There is every reason to believe that the near future will solve the problem of directional change in the heredity of higher plants, which will lead to a revolution in agriculture. Primarily it is about creating a symbiotic relationship between grasses and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia, and it will solve the problem of nitrogen fertilizers. There is already evidence that free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria are able to associate with the grass roots, allowing the host plant to obtain a certain amount of nitrogen because of bacterial nitrogen fixation. Now it is needed to ensure that the nitrogen-fixing bacteria more effectively joined to the roots of grasses, which would help them more useful and successful association (symbiosis).
Developing a method of transport in certain plants which are more efficient enzyme system pathway in the fixation of atmospheric carbon (dark phase of photosynthesis), which will increase the rate of fixation of carbon dioxide and, consequently, the photosynthetic productivity of crops.
The most important step to winning over not only genetic diseases but also on aging will be to develop methods of genotype therapy safe for cells. The doctors will then be able to replace damaged cells in the bodies of older persons, because mutations in the genes will be normal.
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