Genetic Technology RWE

by Sarah Barber

Introduction

Genetic technology. It's kind of a scary term to think about. Right now, scientists are working on two main ways to technologically advance genetics; genetic engineering, Recombinant DNA.

GENETIC ENGINEERING

From the University of Nebraska, Lincoln: "Genetic engineering is the process of manually adding new DNA to an organism." Basically, we're taking away our originality and individuality as humans. If Person A wants their child to have Person B's hair, then through genetic engineering they could use that genetic code to achieve that. This technology would be used to improve humans that wanted to edit things about themselves genetically.

A Human Example

An example of this would be if you edit the genetic strand that causes diabetes, and changed it to one that would have a normally functioning pancreas. DNA is the same for all organisms around the world, so it wouldn't need to be translated into a different code, which could be a good aspect of genetic engineering.

An Agricultural Example

An example of plants being affected by genetic engineering comes from Arizona State University; "Also antibodies are being produced in plants. Initially, the antibody's light and heavy chains were produced in different plants. But a subsequent cross of these two varieties resulted in progeny carrying assembled and functional antibodies. These 'plantibodies' are now used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes..."
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RECOMBINANT DNA

From Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute, "Recombinant DNA is the general name for taking a piece of one DNA, and and combining it with another strand of DNA." So, rDNA is not quite as strange as genetic engineering, but it's still semi-unnatural. Recombinant DNA is almost a small version of genetic engineering.

A Human Example

And example of this comes from iptv.org. Somewhat abbreviated, they said; "First, the gene for producing human insulin is isolated. Then, a circular piece of DNA called a plasmid is removed from a bacterial cell. Next, with the plasmid ring open, the gene for insulin is inserted into the plasmid ring and the ring is closed. The human insulin gene is now recombined with the bacterial DNA plasmid. After that, the bacterial DNA now contains the human insulin gene and is inserted into a bacteria. Then, many plasmids with the insulin gene are inserted into many bacterial cells. The cells need nutrients in order to grow, divide, and live. While they live, the bacterial cell processes turn on the gene for human insulin and the insulin is produced in the cell. When the bacterial cells reproduce by dividing, the human insulin gene is also reproduced in the newly created cells. Finally, Human insulin protein molecules produced by bacteria are gathered and purified." The results, according to the same source are, "Millions of people with diabetes now take human insulin produced by bacteria or yeast (biosynthetic insulin) that is genetically compatible with their bodies, just like the perfect insulin produced naturally in your body."

An Agricultural Example

If one plant has an aroma that makes it vulnerable to other organisms that are attracted to it for sustenance purposes, then you would put in a displeasing unattractive aroma into the plant's genetic code to save said plant so it can keep doing it’s job.

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Conclusion

Overall, I believe that genetic technology is a good and a bad thing. It can be good to save people from disease and disability, but at the same we're taking away our individuality as humans, which I have a really big problem with. Your life may be difficult, but at least you get to live it, and I see no reason to genetically modify yourself or your child when you're okay the way you are.