Genetic modification

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  • Genetic modifiction
    • Transfer of genes
      • The organism with the transferred gene will then produce a protein using instructions in that gene
      • The protein can be made even though the gene came from another organism because all organisms use the same genetic code
    • Genetic modification is where a gene from one organism is transferred to another
    • Stages
      • 1.) first the gene that's responsible for producing the desirable protein is isolated- its position on the source DNA is identified
      • 2.) The useful gene is then replicated to create lots of copes
      • 3.) Each gene is joined to a vector- a carrier for the gene which makes it easier to insert into a new cells- plasmids and viruses are often used as vectors
      • 4.) Vectors containing the useful gene 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.) The last stage is to select (identify) the individuals that have been successfully modified
    • Applications
      • Making medicines
        • Genetically modified bacteria have been used to make medicines cheaply, quickly and in large quantities.
        • 1.) insulin is a hormone that's used to treat Type 1 diabetes
        • 2.) The gene for human insulin production can be transferred into bacteria
        • 3.) The bacteria are grown in a fermenter, and the human insulin is simply extracted as it's produced
        • 4.)This means that the insulin made by the bacteria is exactly the same as human insulin, so there's less chance of patients having an allergic reaction to it.
      • Making crops Herbicide resistant
        • 1.) some plants have natural resistance to things like herbicides (weed killers)
        • 2.) Cut out the gene responsible and stick it into any plants we want to protect
        • 3.) Herbicide- resistant crops are useful to farmers because they can use a really effective weedkiller without damaging their produce
        • 4.) However, herbicide- resistant  crops can be more expensive than normal  crops. Some people are worried that the gene might be transferred into wild plants (e.g. weeds) making them hard to kill
        • 5.) 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 food chains


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