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What Is Genetic Engineering And Its Applications ?

Updated on August 8, 2016


Genetic technology or gene technology is a modern form of biotechnology, in which the DNA of an organism is immediately adjusted or modified. This is in contrast to the classical biotechnology where the DNA of an organism is adjusted indirectly, for example by crossing. In derogatory sense, this technique is also referred to as genetic engineering or genetic manipulation.

Genetic Manipulation is the change of the genetic information of an organism. For example, a property of a firefly on a soybean plant can be added. To understand how to do this you need to know in his work how a cell works. In the nucleus of each cell, there are chromosomes. In humans, that there are 46 (23 in seed and egg cells).

In each chromosome is one long DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecule. The DNA consists of four types of nucleotides. There are four (nitrogen) bases: Thymine, cytosine, adenine and guanine. Adenine (A) always binds to thymine (T) and cytosine (C) always binds with Guanine (G).

The phosphate group and the deoxyribose ensure that two pairs are connected to each other. Thus, for example, AT is connected to CG. By the pairs of arranging in a certain way, for a special genetic code. As each organism has its own unique genetic code. That A always binds with T and C always binds with G has a couple of causes. In real life there are of course no hooks and eyes, which is slightly more complicated. But the two and three bonding possibilities knock it. That's because A and T have two covalenties (free electrons) and G & C three covalenties.

In 1953, Watson and Crick managed to uncover how the DNA looks. It is an elongated double spiral, the double helix. Genetic manipulation is ensured so that an organism produces a substance that he normally cannot create. That is the gene that says the matter should be created to "cut" from one organism and to 'paste' in a bacterium. To make cheese, there is, for example, requires a special enzyme (chymosin), which only occurs in cows. By genetic engineering, the gene that causes chymosin is created pasted from a cow, and digested into DNA of fungi. So you get molds that produce chymosin. Cutting and pasting DNA is done with special enzymes. With restriction enzymes, the DNA piece cut out from the cow. Then, a piece from a plasmid is digested and added to the DNA in which the piece is cut out. For example, the DNA molecule is complete again. The piece of DNA is then added in the plasmid.

After it is removed from the plasmid, it then becomes a different enzyme (ligases), the piece of DNA was added to the DNA of the fungus. So you get a fungus that produces chymosin.

Applications of Genetic Engineering

What are the applications of genetic engineering?

Genetic manipulation is used today almost everywhere in the society. In Food, Medicine, Industry and Agriculture for example. In this article I will discuss the applications of genetic engineering in those four sectors.


Genetic engineering is now almost everywhere employed in health. Diabetes is a good example of an application of genetic engineering in health. Many people in the world suffer from diabetes. When you have diabetes, you are missing genes in the pancreas that produce insulin. If you are very ill too with little insulin you can even die. This can be solved by injecting insulin into your body. Previously, insulin was extracted from the gall bladder of pigs. This technique yielded only too little insulin and took too much time. Nowadays with the aid of genetic engineering you can implant a human piece of DNA into a bacterium that produces insulin. The bacterium makes enough insulin and does not cost much time and money as extracting insulin from the gall bladder of pigs.

Moreso, one can alter gene with the genetic code of people who have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol. So that people have less risk of heart disease.


Genetic engineering is now also used in the industry. For example, in the making of cheese. For making cheese, you need a special enzyme, chymosin. In the past, chymosin was extracted from the stomach of cows. Today, scientists using genetic engineering to managed the gene from the cow which ensures that chymosin is made to stop the bacteria. For example, bacteria make chymosin. Which is much cheaper and does not cost much time? Scientists are also working to develop bacteria that make the waste and toxins harmless or even change in minerals and salts.


In agriculture, there are now thousands of genetically engineered plants. Most part is used to make plants resistant to poisons and pesticides. Tobacco is also genetically manipulated. By adding a gene, tobacco plants will be less likely to old and thus the productivity is increased

The History of Genetic Engineering

What is the history of genetic engineering? Approximately in 1860, Gregor Mendel made a discovery after years of research. He found that the properties of people come from the parents. He does not know exactly how it is put together (with the chromosomes, etc.), but he knows all about dominant, recessive etc. His work is not appreciated, unfortunately. Between 1860 and 1890, Miescher and Van Beneden discovered chromosomes and nucleic acid. In 1920 it was discovered that the nucleic acids were not in the same proportions. And that A just opposite T and G opposite C alone could stand.

The major discovery took place in 1953. Then Watson and Crick, discovered the structure of the DNA molecule. They did this by X-ray crystallography. The rays were deflected by the structure and landed on photographic paper. This was a big discovery and the beginning of the modern genetic engineering. Between 1960-1970 they developed the first bacteria that were subjected to produce insulin

Benefits of Genetic Engineering

What are the benefits of genetic engineering?

In health there are new medicines developed through genetic engineering. Or develop new methods to produce drugs that are cheaper or to produce faster results. Examples of this include among other things, the bacterium that produces insulin. With gene therapy, you can now heal people with genetic defects faster. And it investigates the causes of Alzheimer's disease. By genetic engineering, one can modify plants so that they produce more or improve the quality of plants.

For example, one can make a tomato that produces an agent against headache and contains vitamin C. It contains so much vitamin C that you only have a tomato a day. They had developed a toxin to destroy weeds.

By genetic engineering, there are plants that are made to be resistant to some toxins. Genetic engineering can also be good for the economy. If one, for example, manipulates cows so that the cows contain more meat and less fat. This will decrease the price of meat and will increase sales. The farmer because they make more profits, the producer because they have to pay less and the government because it receives more tax within: So everyone is in favor.

The DNA can also check whether a person is really guilty of anything. Therefore it can be proven that a person is innocent or even guilty all with the help of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering can also be good for the environment. Scientists can clone bacteria that prevent pollution and unleashing example is in the contaminated hunting areas. One can clone endangered species; therefore the animal will not die. There are now bacteria that make biodegradable plastic.

Disadvantages of Genetic Engineering

What are the disadvantages of genetic engineering?

You never know what will affect genetic engineering in the society. First, the DNA can be the data of a person who has undergone a genetic test that has been used for bad things. You can never be sure that the data is safely stored.

Genetic engineering can also be bad for the environment. Due to the genetic improvement of animal species, the other extinct. The consequences will be if this unsurveyable poison gets into other fields.

One can use genetic engineering for bad purposes. Impaired people can make bacteria that produce toxins that kill anyone. Nobody knows what will happen in the future. What impact will it have on society as genetic engineering is widely used everywhere?

© 2016 Sylvester Mekky


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