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Recombinant DNA is a DNA molecule artificially made from different sources. The different portions are combined into a single molecule. Genetic engineering with recombinant DNA is the re-designing of organisms at the gene level

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Recombinant DNA is a DNA molecule artificially made from different sources. The different portions are combined into a single molecule. Genetic engineering with recombinant DNA is the re-designing of organisms at the gene level with the purpose of achieving specific goals. The first step in genetic engineering usually involves inserting a short piece of 'foreign' DNA into the DNA of a host organism. In a procedure known as gene splicing, a piece of human DNA for example may be inserted into a bacterium. The DNA ring of the bacterial plasmid is broken open to insert the human DNA. The bacterium then acquires the ability to synthesise the protein for which the foreign DNA codes. Gene splicing relies on a group of enzymes called restriction endonucleases. One of these would cut a bacterial plasmid open at a specific site that is determined by the sequence of bases in that region. These bases are a DNA code, made up of adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). The four bases are paired on the DNA molecule in a very specific manner, A always with T and G always with C. Connecting the base pairs are alternating sugar and phosphate units, forming a structure that resembles a ladder. ...read more.


(Advanced Biology- M Roberts, M Reiss, G Monger published 2000) Gene therapy means using genetic engineering to change genetic make-up for medical benefit. Germ-line therapy from germ-line cells in the ovaries of a female and the testes of a male is not permitted in any country. However somatic gene therapy from somatic cells is permitted under certain tightly regulated circumstances. In the late 1990's trials to investigate the possibility of treating cystic fibrosis by means of somatic gene therapy began in the UK and USA. Cystic fibrosis results from an individual being homozygous recessive for the faulty form of the cystic fibrosis gene. It is caused by inborn errors in single genes. The gene therapy for this will hopefully open the possibility of giving those affected by the condition, nasal sprays which would contain the healthy form of the cystic fibrosis gene packaged in a harmless virus, a hollow sphere of lipid molecules or some other vector. The idea is that healthy genes enter the lung epithelial cells, splice with their nucleic DNA and therefore make the CTFR protein, which the faulty cystic fibrosis gene cannot, thus allowing the mucus secreted by these cells to have its normal runny consistency. ...read more.


Recommendation 3 Individuals whose eggs or sperm are used to create the embryos to be used in research should give specific consent indicating whether the resulting embryos could be used in a research project to derive stem cells. Recommendation 4 Research to increase understanding of, and develop treatments for, mitochondrial diseases using the cell nuclear replacement technique in human eggs, which are subsequently fertilised by human sperm, should be permitted subjected to the controls in the HFE Act 1990. Recommendation 5 The progress of research involving stem cells, which have been derived from embryonic sources, should be monitored by an appropriate body to establish whether the research is delivering the anticipated benefits and to identify any concerns, which may arise. Recommendation 6 The mixing of human adult somatic cells with the live eggs of any animal species should not be permitted. Recommendation 7 The transfer of an embryo created by cell nuclear replacement into the uterus of a woman (reproductive cloning) should remain a criminal offence. Recommendation 8 The need for legislation to permit the use of embryo derived cells in treatments developed from this new research should be kept under review. Recommendation 9 The Research Councils should be encouraged to establish a programme for stem cell research and to consider the feasibility of establishing collections of stem cells for research use. ...read more.

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