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What is genetic engeneering and its advantages and disadvantages

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Introduction

James Bevan What is recombinant DNA and its advantages and disadvantages? In recent years science has been using recombinant DNA to genetically modify animals, plants and now technology has advanced to the point where there is constant speculation on manipulating human DNA. Recombinant DNA, or more commonly known as 'genetic engineering' involves "the combination of DNA from one organism with DNA from another organism". There are substances needed in bacterial cells. Firstly you will need the small spherical pieces of DNA named 'plasmids'. These are used as vectors, which simply means of transporting DNA into a cell. (1) "In molecular biology and genetic engineering a vector is a vehicle for transferring genetic material into a cell". Lastly you then need the required gene. There are numerous ways of extracting the gene, using DNA probes, or using mRNA. Restriction enzymes are then need to cut the DNA from its chain at specific areas. Finally the desired gene is joined into the vector; the vector which is used to carry the gene is used to get inside the desired organism. In order to ensure the plasmids and gene have the same 'sticky ends' they're both cut with the same restriction enzyme. Then the two ends are joined using an enzyme named 'DNA ligase'. The vectors are then able to multiply and produce new daughter cells which also are able to make the required protein.(2) ...read more.

Middle

If the technology was in the hands of someone dangerous it could kill off the human race. Darwinian's theory of 'survival of the fittest suggest that if such humans were to be created that could withstand greater threats than humans now eventually there would be a new race born. 'Chung Lee' a researcher in Illinois has currently had success in curing cancer in animals and plans to produce (5) "We postulate that, if we can remove TGF-b from the cancer cells, our body's immune system may be able to reject these cancer cells. This is the basis of our research project aimed to cure cancer and we aim to develop state-of-the-art technology using gene therapy for the cure of cancer in humans". This shows that we have already been able to cure animals from cancer. This could eventually be used for our pets. Instead of injections and implanting embryos we can inject the new DNA into the animal's bloodstream. It is a widespread worry that the fact we don't know everything about this technology that it could be dangerous. If the DNA is injected and doesn't go in the correct areas, there is chance for mutation and these vital genes can become cancerous. Recombinant DNA technology can be used to make insulin for diabetics. It can be made by transferring human insulin gene into E-coli bacteria. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Humans practice genetic engineering in form of selective breeding of animals and plants for thousands and thousands of years. No religion says that selective breeding is bad or even unnatural. In the same way genetic engineering based on tweaking of genetic code should not be seen as bad thing, as a sin". (6) To conclude I believe that this technology is too powerful to ignore, it could save millions of lives and do a lot more benefit to humans so the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. We have to do the best we possibly can to keep people alive with the resources we have. However the Human Genome project predicts that it could be another 12 years until the project is complete and therefore we don't know all the possible dangers of the concept yet. If we have been given free will it seems stupid to pass up such possibilities. The advancement genetic engineering has shown from the first commercial use in 1982 - human insulin from bacteria , shows us the remarkable results achievable from this technology. It will take a lot of convincing, but primarily as long as we can keep it under control and safe I believe people should definitely allow it to be put into practise. 1) http://www.answers.com/topic/vector-biology?cat=health 2) 'A new introduction to Biology', Bill Indge 2000 page161 3) AS Biology 'The Revision Guide AQA A exam board 2003, pg 47 4) Tuesday January 22 2008 'The Guardian' newspaper pg 24 5) http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/igp/facindex/LeeC.html 6) http://www.geneticengineering.org/isgood/default.htm#heal ...read more.

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