B7- genetic modification

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  • B7 Genetic modification
    • Genes can be transferred between organisms
      • Genetic modification is where a gene from one organism is transferred to another
      • The organism with the transferred gene will then produce a protein using instructions in that gene
      • Protein can be made even though the gene came from another organism because all organisms use the same genetic code
    • Genetic modification involves important stages
      • 1.) the gene that is responsible for the desirable protein is isolated
      • 2.)The useful gene is replicated to create lots of copies
      • 3.)Each gene is joined to a vector- a carrier for the gene which makes it easier to insert into a  new cell
        • Plasmids and viruses are often used as vectors
      • 4.) Vectors containing the useful genes are transferred into new cells e.g. bacterial cells
      • 5.) Not all of the new cells will be modified e.g. the vector might not have been transferred properly
      • 6.) So, the last stage is to select the individuals that have been successfully modified
    • Genetic modification has useful applications for humans
      • Making medicines
        • Genetically modified bacteria make medicines cheaply, quickly and in large quantities
        • Insulin is used to treat type 1 diabetes
        • The gene for human insulin production can be transferred into bacteria
        • The bacteria are grown in a fermenter, and the human insulin is simply extracted when it's produced
        • This means that the insulin made by the bacteria is exactly the same as human insulin
      • Making crops herbicide resistant
        • Some plants have natural resistance to herbicides
        • Can cut out the gene responsible and stick it to any other plant we want to
        • Herbicide resistant crops are useful to farmers because they can use a really effective weed killer without damaiging their produce
        • Herbicide resistant crops can be more expensive than normal crops
          • Some people are worried that the gene might be transferred into wild plants, making them hard to kill
        • Herbicide resistant crops could encourage the use of weedkillers. This could reduce biodiversity, and it's possible the weed killers could pollute water systems or get into foodchains

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