The animal whose genetic material is taken from another organism is called as transgenic animal. The artificial genes are inserted in the germline cells of the organisms so they pass from one generation to the other. First transgenic animal was mouse which is the most important animal for doing experiments in the laboratory. But after that many other animals were also genetically modified through genetic engineering techniques for example rabbit, pig, sheep and other cattle. There are two reasons due to which the animals are produced through transgenic techniques:
1) There is one reason of producing transgenic animals that they can be beneficial economically. For example genetically modified cows give more milk then other cows and their milk contains human proteins which can be used to treat the disease of emphysema in humans.
2) Some transgenic animals are used as models for detecting, diagnosing and treating different diseases. For example most common laboratory animals are mice and rabbits. Scientists of Harvard produced a mouse carrying the genes which help in development of cancer. They named the mouse oncomouse or Harvard mouse.
Applications of Transgenic Animals in Biotechnology:-
Transgenic animals have given great benefit to the field of biotechnology especially the fields of agriculture; industry and medicine have taken advantage of these animals a lot.
We can say that medicine is one field which has took benefit of transgenic animals most. Every year people die of kidney failure, heart failure and due to other organs failure. But now scientists have succeeded in producing transgenic animals like pigs which carry the organs needed for humans. Pig is responsible for providing the organs to the humans and these organs can be inserted into the human body through transplantation. There are chances that pig protein might hinder organ transplantation but scientists are working on this issue and are thinking of replacing this protein with the human protein. United Kingdom is in the need of organs for its patients and according to the survey, almost 5000 organs are needed to be transplanted in patients with different diseases.
Transgenic animals have already helped in developing certain growth hormones. For this purpose, special genes are inserted in the milk of the cow, which increase the production of the milk. Similarly various genetic and hereditary diseases like cystic fibrosis and phenylketonuria can be treated by manufacturing milk which is developed with transgenesis.
Human gene therapy has provided opportunities for medicine that in a certain genetic or acquired disease, damaged genes can be replaced with the healthy genes and their function is secured.
Agriculture is another field which has taken advantage of transgenic animals. In livestock, when transgenic animals are bred with the normal animals, the generation produced contains healthy organs, meat and milk. Transgenic techniques have made quick production of animals while traditional methods of animals breeding are time taking. Quality of the animals also increases and they are the source of providing good quality food to humans in the form of milk and meat.
Two scientists of Canada succeeded in inserting spider genes in the goats who gave milk. The goats produced silk with the milk in large amounts. It was a good source of economy for the industrialists. Polymer strands of the silk were extracted from the milk and light threads were made. This thread could be used in the making uniforms of soldiers and also the tennis rockets.
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