Genetic Engineering

  • Created by: India.02
  • Created on: 31-05-19 17:52

Transfer of Genes Between Organisms

- The basic idea is that you transfer a gene responsible for a desirable characteristic from one organism's genome into another organism

- A useful gene is isolated from one organism's genome using enzymes and is inserted into a vector

- The vector is usually a virus or a bacterial plasmid, depending on the type of organism that the gene is being transferred to

- When the vector is introduced to the target organism, the useful gene is inserted into cells

- In some cases, the transfer of the gene is carried out when the organism receiving the gene is at an early stage of development - the organism then develops with the characteristic coded for by the gene

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Examples of Genetic Engineering

- Bacteris have been genetically modified to produce human insulin that can be used to treat diabetes

- GM crops have had their genes modified to improve the size and quality of their fruit, or make them resistant to disease, insects and herbicides

- Sheep have been genetically engineered to produce substances, like drugs, in their milk that can be used to treat human diseases

- Scientists are researching GM treatments for inherited diseases caused by faulty genes - this could be done by inserting working genes into people with the disease - this is called gene therapy

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Pros and Cons

- Pros - characteristics chosen for GM crops can increase yield, which can make more food - people in developing nations lack nutrients in their diets, so crops can be engineered to contain the nutrients that is missing (golden rice is a GM rice-crop that contains beta-carotene, can a lack of this substance causes blindness) - GM crops are already beign grown in some places without problems - it is an idea that presents potential for treating disease

- Cons - some say that growing GM crops will affect the number of wild flowers (and the population of insects) that live in and around the crops, which reduces farmland biodiversity - soem people are concerned about what eating GM crops could do to human health (developing allergies, though this is unlikely) - there is a lack of public understanding - transplanted genes may get out into the natural environment (herbicide resistance gene may be picked up by weeds, which would create a 'superweed' variety) - changing an organisms genes may result in unplanned problems, which could then be passed down into generations

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