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How Genetic Engineering Is Used For The Production Of Useful Products.

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Introduction

How Genetic Engineering Is Used For The Production Of Useful Products Genetic Engineering describes the process, whereby DNA can purposefully be altered by manipulating genes in an animal or plant, outside of the organism's normal reproductive process. It mostly involves the isolation, manipulation and reintroduction of DNA into model organisms, usually to express a protein, in order to produce new species, increase the yield of an existing species, or to design new organisms. A protein is specified by a DNA segment or gene, thus future copes of that protein can be modified by altering the gene's underlying DNA. The main purpose of Genetic Engineering is the alteration of an organism's genetic or hereditary material to eliminate undesirable characteristics or to produce desirable new ones. Today, it is mainly used to increase plant and animal food production, to help the dispose of industrial wastes, diagnose diseases, improve medical treatment, and to produce vaccines and other useful drugs. The best known applications of Genetic Engineering are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The natural production of oral vaccines in fruit at very low cost for example, involves potential momentous biotechnology applications of GM, which represents a spread of genetic modification to medical purposes. The techniques included in Genetic Engineering are the selective breeding, of plants and animals, hybridization meaning the reproduction between different strains or species, and recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). ...read more.

Middle

Since it is not possible to transfer DNA directly from the donor organism to the host organism, the donor DNA must be cut and pasted, or recombined, into a compatible fragment of DNA from a vector, which is an organism that can carry the donor DNA into the host. The host organism rapidly multiplies micro-organisms, such as a harmless bacterium, where the recombined DNA can be duplicated in large quantities. This is for the purpose that the donor DNA can then be removed from the host and used as a genetically engineered product in humans, other animals, plants, bacteria or viruses, by direct introduction via injection through the cell walls of plants or into the fertilized egg of an animal. Plants and animals developing from a cell into which new DNA has been introduced are called transgenic organisms. Cloning Such an animal is genetically unrelated to the surrogate mother. Cloning is still in its early years, but it may pave the way for improved farm animals and medical products. Use in Food Production The destruction of crops by plant viruses or insect pests is one of the greatest problems in plant food production, which can be combated using recombinant DNA. Scientists have created transgenic squash plants which immunity to certain viruses, which include transgenic potato and strawberry plants that are frost-resistant. ...read more.

Conclusion

Genetically engineered bacterium and fungi have been used in the food industry for almost two decades. Enzymes extracted from these organisms are routinely applied to the production of cheese, milk, beer, breads, sweets and many vitamins and nutritional supplements, as well as soap and detergents. Moreover, many pharmaceutical drugs are made using genetically engineered bacteria and fungi, including insulin, human growth hormones and vaccines. Risk factors Although genetic engineering allows the solution for many problems, it also has some remarkable risk factors. The dangers identified so far include: - Unexpected production of new toxins and allergens in food - Increased use of chemicals on crops, resulting in increased contamination of our water supply and food - The creation of herbicide-resistant weeds - The spread of diseases across species barriers - Loss of bio-diversity in crops - Increased sickness and suffering for genetically engineered animals - The disturbance of ecological balance Current Position Genetically modified food available in the shops at present are tomatoes, yeast, maize, soya, and many processed foods such as bread, pasta, margarine, biscuits, meat products and so on. But as this is just the beginning, it is expected that in a few years, all the foods will probably be genetic engineered , and it will be almost impossible to find natural food. ...read more.

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