Genetic Engineering

What is Genetic Engineering?

Genetic engineering, which is also known as genetic modification and genetic manipulation, is considered to be a process in which organism genes get manipulated or modified using biotechnology. Biotechnology and genetic engineering are interrelated; both depend on each other in order to complete their respective tasks. This method is considered to be a set of technologies that are used for changing the genetic makeup of various cells and executes the transfer of genes within and across the boundary of the species in order to produce improved, novel and genetically modified organisms.

Overview

Genetic engineering is considered to be a process that is responsible for altering the genetic structure of a particular organism by either introducing or removing a specific DNA from the organism's body. In the case of traditional animal and plant breeding, the organisms get involved in multiple crosses and then make the selection of a particular organism that has a phenotype, whereas, in genetic engineering, only the gene gets transferred from one organism to another. This process is considered to be one of the fastest processes for inserting genes in any organism. Genetic engineering has the ability to cure different genetic disorders in humans by replacing the defective gene with a new and functioning one.

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Genetic Modified Food

Genetically modified foods are also known as genetically engineered foods or bioengineered foods. These foods are generally extracted from organisms that have had some changes in their DNA with the help of genetic engineering. Genetic manipulation gives the opportunity to introduce new traits or to control the existing traits, this type of opportunity lacks in old methods such as selective breeding and mutation breeding.

In 1994, people started the process of genetic mutation and tried applying it to foods in order to study the results. Genetically modified foods are there in the market for almost 20 years. Calgene was first to use this for selling its unsuccessful Flavr Savr delayed ripening tomato.

The food modification mostly gets used in crops by the farmers. Farmers of soybean, corn, canola and cotton are the ones who boost the demand for genetic mutation. Genetically modified crops came into demand for the purpose of developing resistance to pathogens and herbicides. The genetic mutation also helps in getting a good nutrient profile for the crops it got applied on. According to recent theories, it is believed that genetically modified foods are not harmful to the human body; they are as safe as normal conventional food, but before introducing a genetically modified food in the market, check it through various processes.

Genetic Engineering in Humans

Genetic engineering got used in humans for the purpose of curing genetic disorders. The process of curing genetic disorders through genetic mutation is known as gene therapy. Genetic mutation is also used for creating hormones, vaccines and different drugs. 

Human genetic mutation is considered as direct manipulation of the genome using various molecular engineering techniques. Techniques that are recently developed for modifying genes are known as gene editing. There are two ways for applying genetic modification in today's world, which is somatic genetic modification and germline genetic modification.

Somatic Genetic Modification

Somatic genetic modification has the ability to add, cut or change genes of a particular cell in an existing person; this is done usually to alleviate some medical condition. This type of technique is known as gene therapy techniques. These techniques are recently approaching clinical practice but only for some selected conditions and at a very high cost; thus, such modifications in the body can cost you a fortune.

Germline Genetic Modification

Germline genetic modification is responsible for changing the genes in eggs, sperms or early embryos. This type of modification is often referred to as inheritable genetic modification or gene editing for reproduction. Such modifications are visible in every cell of the person who developed from the same gamete or embryo. This modification can be witnessed in coming generations also.

It is agreed between many scientists and policymakers that germline modification is the limit of the red line that should not be crossed. This was done for safety, ethical and social reasons. Using germline modification is also banned in almost 40 countries. This is the reason it is difficult to find genetically modified humans in this world because we can use genetic mutation up to a certain limit and are not allowed to cross it.  Crossing the line and breaking the law will get considered a crime.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What do You Understand about DNA Engineering?

DNA engineering is somewhat similar to genetic engineering. It is considered to be a process in which recombinant DNA technology is used in order to alter the genetic makeup of a particular organism. Traditionally, humans were manipulating genomes in an indirect way by controlling the breeding procedure and selecting offspring as per the desired traits. In DNA engineering, one or more genes get manipulated or modified. Usually, a gene from a different organism gets added to the genome of a particular organism in order to give it the desired phenotype. It all started with recombinant DNA technology; it was the key to achieving genetic mutation.

2. Discuss different Types of Genetic Engineering Techniques.

There are different Types of Genetic Engineering Techniques Which are as follows:-


Microbial Vectors: 

Agrobacterium tumefaciens is considered a naturally occurring soil microbe that is famous for causing crown gall disease on various plant species. This pathogen is unique and unusual because when it attacks a plant cell, it transfers some of its DNA into it. The plant considers the transferred gene as its own. These genes direct the production of several substances, thus causing crown gall.


Microprojectile Bombardment: 

In 1897, Klien and colleagues discovered a technique of delivering naked DNA to plant cells by shooting the DNA with the help of a microscopic pellet. The DNA has to have adhered with the pellet.  This is considered a crude but effective technique to deliver DNA, this type of technique suits species such as corn, rice and other cereals.