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Genetic Engineering 3 Essay

2362 words - 10 pages

Genetic Engineering is a major issue in today’s society. Because of it, things like the Human Genome Project have become a reality. Genetic Engineering is can be defined as the manipulation or alteration of the genetic structure of a single cell or organism. This means that scientists can target a particular gene and make it whatever they want. This technique is becoming so advance that soon people will be able to make their children exactly how they would like them to be. The science behind genetic engineering is simple to explain yet complicated to perform. Simply state, scientists may alter any gene they would like to make it better then it was before. Genetic Engineering holds many ...view middle of the document...

The extraction of the gene is done by physical and chemical methods. The process of moving a gene from one molecule to another molecule is called cloning. In the cloning process a fragment of DNA, containing a gene is cloned into a vector where it is grown in large quantities and manipulated in a variety of ways.
The scientific event that probably got the most attention and media coverage this year was the cloning of an adult sheep, Dolly. The fact that this event got so much attention is indicative of the change and broadening of the ethical debates surrounding genetic engineering. Not only is the bioethical controversy surrounding genetic engineering becoming a more popular subject, it is, thanks in large part to Dolly, becoming a more real and pressing matter. Cloning has gone from being the subject of sci-fi novels to reality, and all the problems it brings are now ours. Laws are already being passed to control cloning. These responses to advances in genetics are the signs of a more science wary, less progress blinded populace, who see that science is going and has already gone to areas where its worth is disputable. Science today is moving at an incredible pace.
Genetic engineering (GE) is used to take genes and segments of DNA from one species, e.g. fish, and put them into another species, e.g. tomato. To do so, GE provides a set of techniques to cut DNA either randomly or at a number of specific sites. Once isolated one can study the different segments of DNA, multiply them up and splice them (stick them) next to any other DNA of another cell or organism. GE makes it possible to break through the species barrier and to shuffle information between completely unrelated species; for example, to splice the anti-freeze gene from flounder into tomatoes or strawberries, an insect-killing toxin gene from bacteria into maize, cotton or rape seed, or genes from humans into pig.

Yet there is a problem - a fish gene will not work in tomato unless I give it a promoter with a \"flag\" the tomato cells will recognise. Such a control sequence should either be a tomato sequence or something similar. Most companies and scientists do a shortcut here and dont even bother to look for an appropriate tomato promoter as it would take years to understand how the cells internal communication and regulation works. In order to avoid long testing and adjusting, most genetic engineering of plants is done with viral promoters. Viruses - as you will be aware - are very active. Nothing, or almost nothing, will stop them once they have found a new victim or rather host. They integrate their genetic information into the DNA of a host cell (such as one of your own), multiply, infect the next cells and multiply. This is possible because viruses have evolved very powerful promoters which command the host cell to constantly read the viral genes and produce viral proteins. Simply by taking a control element (promoter) from a plant virus and sticking it in front...

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