Genetic Technology RWE

Kai Pierre

What To Know...

I will be talking about what Genetic Engineering is, how it works, and the benefits and disadvantages that come with Genetic Engineering. I will also give an in explanation of what recombinant DNA and how it could change our futures for the better or for the worst.

Definitions

DNA: A long molecule that contains unique genetic code for the organism it makes up


Recombinant DNA(a.k.a. rDNA):
This is a process of taking one strand of DNA and combining it with another piece of DNA. The most common recombinant process is combining strands of DNA from two different organisms. In simpler terms DNA formed in a laboratory.


Genetic Engineering: The modification of an organism's genetic composition by artificial means, often involving the transfer of specific traits, or genes, from one organism into a plant or animal of an entirely different species.

Genetic Engineering

What is Genetic Engineering:

Genetic Engineering is when the genetic material(the genome) of a living thing is is purposefully modified to magnify or extract a particular trait, allowing the organism to perform new tasks.(revise)


How Genetic Engineering Works:

For this example I will be referring to the process of how plants are genetically engineered.


In order to improve the crops that are grown plant breeders used what they knew about a plants genes to select certain traits that were considered "desirable". In order for this breeding to happen the two plants that are being bred have to be mated with each other (limiting the amount of new traits to the ones that already exist in the species). Once the plants are mated many different traits including the trait of interest transfer over, including those that are undesirable.


Steps:

DNA Extraction- This is first step of the genetic engineering process. During this process all of the organism's DNA is extracted, all at once.

Gene Cloning- Scientist then separate the gene of interest from all of the their genes extracted and make thousands of copies (of the gene of interest).

Gene Design- For this step scientists have to find a way to make the new gene capable of working once inside of a different organism

Gene Insertion- The new gene is inserted into a plant, so that it can insert itself into the plant's cells.

Backcross Breeding- Scientists breed the elite parents(original plant) with the transgenic plants(genetically modified plants).

Pros and Cons(Genetic Engineering)

Pros


  • Being able to isolate genes that cause diseases and viruses
  • Improved nutritional quality
  • Reduced post harvest losses(kinda gross because if you think about it any other normal fruit/vegetable would've expired but there you are eating corn on the cob in early summer, exported from DeKalb's local farms.)

Cons:


  • There are risks to the method/something during the creation process could go wrong
  • Can have irreversible effects


The "Pros" show a positive change that could help the world, but when you look at the "Cons" list you will see that the risks or disadvantages of the situation could be and/or are life threatening.

Recombinant DNA

Recombinant DNA is commonly used to combine two strands of DNA from different organisms. rDNA works when the host cell expresses protein from the recombinant genes. According to the article "An Introduction to Recombinant DNA", "Recombinant DNA has been gaining in importance over the last few years, and recombinant DNA will only become more important in the 21st century as genetic diseases become more prevalent and agricultural area is reduced." rDNA will really help benefit the world in the future, but it could also ruin it. People could use it for their own personal wants instead of needs (e.g. parents could have someone modify their or a donor's genes so that their child looks a certain way; including hair color, eye color, etc).

Pros and Cons(rDNA)

Pros:
  • Improved Medicine
  • Improved Crops
  • Improved Livestock
  • Prevention of Genetic Diseases


Cons:

  • Safety Concerns (viruses developing antibiotic resistance)
  • Potential for Experimental abuse
  • Germ line Treatment ranging from treating diseases to picking traits for their offspring.

Final Thoughts

Throughout this article I covered what and how works Genetic Engineering, and how rDNA could be a great benefit for our future (also how it could not). I provided explanations for the people who are just learning about Genetic Engineering and rDNA. The knowledge I have acquired from researching about Genetic Engineering and rDNA has caused me to want a more in depth understanding of how these two things could be linked and wonder who was the first person to successfully combine two strands of DNA that were from different organisms. I still have plenty to learn about these two so hopefully later on this year I will be able to understand this with the mind of a scientist.