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Biology: Genetic Engineering - Essay Example

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Name: Genetic Engineering 1997 will be remembered as a memorable year in the field of genetic engineering. In the month of February researchers in Edinburgh, Scotland achieved a milestone that shocked the whole world. They announced that a young female ewe, Dolly, was born the previous July…
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Biology: Genetic Engineering
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"Biology: Genetic Engineering"

Download file to see previous pages Genetic engineering has made many great strides since the successful cloning of Dolly and since that experiment people’s interest in this technology has increased. This paper aims to define what genetic engineering is? why it can be good? and why it can be bad? The above example is just one of the various aspects of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is the technique of manipulating an organism’s genetic makeup by transferring genes of one organism into another organism to produce an organism that is either transgenic or cisgenic. A transgenic organism will be produced if a foreign gene (from different specie) is introduced into the host organism’s genetic structure. A transgenic organism will, as a result, have a new trait which would not be common to other organisms that haven’t undergone the transgenesis process. A cisgenic organism on the other hand is produced when genome of the same or related specie is passed onto the host organism. Cisgenesis or intragenesis is common among organisms that can be bred naturally. Nowadays genetic engineering is common in a diverse range of fields such as medicine, agriculture, research and various industries. Genetic engineering should not be confused with mating. During mating, the chromosomes that contain the mother’s genes are combined with chromosomes that contain the father’s genes. The DNA blueprint in the chromosomes remains unchanged. The chromosomes are stable and the mating process that is evolving from millions of years produces reliable and stable results. However in the genetic engineering process foreign genes from a completely different organism are transferred in a haphazard manner in the genome of another organism. Unlike the mating process however, this transfer disrupts the DNA blueprint of the host organism. The disruption if not controlled, may lead to unpredictable and at times disastrous results. There are a myriad of pros of genetic engineering. Due to the diverse range of fields that use the genetic engineering techniques, numerous advancements have been made in these fields, with the help of this technology that benefit the society at large. For example in the agricultural sector genetic engineering is done on crops such as potatoes, rice and maize. The genetic engineering of these crops helps in producing: 1. More crop yield 2. Healthy food 3. Crops that grow in and withstand the harsh weather 4. Crops that are highly resistive to pest attacks (thus eliminating or reducing the use of pesticides to a bare minimal level) 5. Crops with all the unwanted characteristics removed 6. Crops that have a longer life As genetic engineering is all about manipulating or modifying the genes, hence it is used to cure many fatal illnesses by either altering or replacing the faulty gene with a working one. There have been some breakthroughs in gene treatment with successful application of genetic engineering in X-SCID and impairment of vision among others (Arnold). Some other examples of genetic engineering that are beneficial to the society include: 1. Inserting a gene from the tail of scorpion (that makes the poison) into a cabbage’s gene. This genetic mutation allows cabbages to combat and resist attack from caterpillars as they can produce the same poison (a form of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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