Genetic Engineering

Genetic Engineering

Genetic Engineering Definition

Genetic engineering is a method of altering an organism’s genetic makeup using recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology. Traditionally, living beings have controlled breeding and selected offspring with desirable characteristics to manipulate genomes indirectly. Genetic engineering is the process of manipulating one or even more genes. To give an organism a prefer phenotype, a gene from another species is usually added to its genome.

Genetic engineering, also known as recombinant DNA technology, refers to a set of techniques for cutting up and joining together genetic material, particularly DNA from distinct biochemical species, and then introducing the eventually results hybrid DNA into an organism to create new genetic variations.

A gene of interest is a DNA sequence that we would like to insert into our target cells.

The gene of interest is implanted into the host genome using plasmid DNA-like vectors. Vectors are vehicles that transport genetic material.

The community of cells whose genome we want to manipulate or change is refer to as the target cell population.

Genetic Engineering Examples

Glow-in-the-dark animals

South Korean scientists changed a cat’s DNA to make it look brighter in the dark, then used that DNA to clone other cats, resulting in a flock of fluffy, fluorescent felines. This is how they did it: The researchers used a virus to insert genetic instructions for making red fluorescent protein into skin cells from Turkish Angora female cats. For cloning, the gene-altered nuclei were then injected into the donor cats’ eggs. The replicated embryos were implanted back into the donor cats, making the cats surrogate mothers for their own clones.

Previously, researchers in Taiwan created three fluorescent green pigs. Wu Shinn-Chih, a postdoctoral researcher at National Taiwan University’s Institute and Department of Animal Science and Technology, is picture with one of the pigs.

What’s the point of making a pet that functions as a nightlight? According to scientists, the capacity to engineer animals with fluorescent proteins will allow them to create animals with human genetic diseases.

Pollution-fighting plants

Scientists at the University of Washington are developing poplar trees to clean up groundwater pollution sites by absorbing pollutants from groundwater through their roots. The plants then break down the pollutants into harmless byproducts implemented into their roots, stems, and leaves or released into the atmosphere.

In laboratory tests, the transgenic plants could remove up to 91% of trichloroethylene — the most common underground water contaminant at Superfund sites in the United States — from a liquid solution. Standard poplar plants removed only 3% of the contaminant.

Fast-growing salmon

AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon grows twice as fast as traditional salmon — the photo shows two identical-age salmon, with the genetically altered one in the back. The company claims the fish has the same flavour, texture, colour, and odour as regular salmon; however, the question of whether the fish is safe to eat remains unanswered.

A growth hormone from a Chinook salmon has been added to genetically engineered Atlantic salmon, allowing the fish to create growth hormone all year. The hormone was kept active by using an eel-like fish called an ocean pout gene, which functions as an “on switch” for the hormone.

In 2015, the FDA voted in favor of genetic modification salmon in the United States, marking the first time such an animal had been approved for sale in the uk.

Type of Genetic Engineering Techniques:

Recombinant DNA- A recombinant DNA technology is a form of genetic engineering technology in which an artificial DNA molecule is created by physically ligating two different DNAs. The gene of interest is implanted into the plasmid vector and used for gene transfer experimentations.

Gene delivery- The gene delivery technique inserts a gene of interest into the host genome.

Electrophoration, solicitation, viral vector-mediated gene transfer, and liposome-mediated gene transfer and transposable elements gene transfer are some of the techniques used.

Gene editing-Gene editing is a technique for editing the genome in which an unwanted DNA sequence is removed, or a new gene is implanted into the host genome. Some well-known gene-editing tools used during gene therapy experiments include CRISPR-CAS9, TALEN, and ZFN.

Applications of Genetic engineering:

Application to Medicine:

Genetic engineering has grown in popularity in recent years. It will become even more so in the twenty-first century as genetic diseases become more common and agricultural land is depleted. Genetic engineering is used extensively in the production of pharmaceuticals.

Microorganisms and plant-based substances are now being manipulated to generate large quantities of valuable drugs, vaccines, enzymes, and hormones at low cost. The study (inheritance pattern of diseases in man and selection of human genes that can provide a detailed map for the inheritance of healthy individuals) is at the heart of genetic engineering.

The most innovative and promising aspect of genetic engineering is gene therapy, in which healthy genes are inserted directly into a person with malfunctioning genes. More than 400 clinical trials have approved the use of gene therapy for diseases such as cystic fibrosis, emphysema, muscular dystrophy, and adenosine deaminase deficiency.

Gene therapy could one day be used to treat hereditary human diseases caused by missing or defective genes, such as haemophilia and cystic fibrosis. In one type of gene therapy, genetically engineered viruses insert new functional genes into the cells of people who cannot generate certain hormones or proteins required for normal body functions.

Implementing new genes into an organism via recombinant DNA technology changes the protein makeup and, as a result, the body’s characteristics.


Recombinant DNA technology is also use in the development of disease vaccines. A vaccine is available as a form of an infectious organism that does not cause severe disease but causes the body’s immune system to produce protective antibodies against the infective organism. Vaccines are made by isolating the antigen or protein found on the surface of viral proteins.

When a person is immunised against a viral disease, antigens produce antibodies that act against and inactivate viral proteins. Scientists could transfer the genes for some viral sheath proteins to the vaccinia virus, which was used to treat small pox, using recombinant DNA technology.

Vaccines made by gene cloning are free of contamination and safe because they only contain coat proteins against which antibodies are made. Gene cloning is use to create a few vaccines against viral hepatitis influenza, herpes simplex virus, and virus-induced foot and mouth disease in animals.

Energy Production:

In the field of energy production, recombinant DNA technology has enormous potential. It is now possible to bioengineer energy crops or biofuels that grow quickly and produce large amounts of biomass that can be used as fuel or processed into oils, alcohols, diesel, or other energy products using this technology.

These wastes can convert into methane. Genetic engineers are attempting to transfer the cellulase gene to appropriate organisms so that it can use to convert wastes such as sawdust and cornstalks first to sugar and then to alcohol.

Advantages of Genetic Engineering

It Allows for a Faster Growth Rate

Genetic engineering allows plants and animals to be altered so that they mature at a faster rate. Engineering can allow this maturation to occur outside of favourable growth conditions without requiring genetic changes. Even when there is more heat or less light, building what can be grown in those conditions is feasible.

 It can create an extended life

Resistance to common types of organism death can be aided by genetic modification. Pest resistance can be built into plant genetic profiles, allowing them to mature as a crop without the need for additional additives. Animals’ genetic profiles can alter to reduce risks of common medical issues that may affect the breed or species. This increases the possibility of each organism living for a longer period of time.

 Specific traits can develop

Plants and animals can genetically engineer to have specific traits that make them more appealing for use or consumption. To produce a wide variety of products, different colours can create. Animals can be genetically modified to produce more milk, more muscle cells, or different coats, allowing for a wider range of fabrics to be created.

 New products can be created

New products can be created using genetic engineering by incorporating or adding different profiles. One example is to take a particular product, such as a potato, and change its profile so that it can generate more nutrients per kcal than it would have without genetic engineering. This allows more people to get the nutrition they need, even if their access to food is limited, and it has the potential to reduce global food insecurity.

Greater yields can be produced

Genetic engineering can also  use to modify plant or animal traits in order to increase yields per plant. More fruits can be generated per tree, resulting in a larger food supply and increased profits for farmers. Because there is a higher yield available, it opens up the possibility of using modified organisms in a variety of ways. For example, genetically modified corn can use for specific purposes such as animal feed, ethanol, or larger cobs for human consumption.

Risks to the local water supply are reduced

Because genetic engineering reduces the need for farmers and growers to apply as many herbicides or herbicides to their croplands, fewer applications to the soil are required. This protects the local drainage system and reduces the risk of a detrimental event occurring without compromising the required yield and profitability.

It has been a scientific practice in place for thousands of years

Humans may not have been able to immediately modify the DNA of a plant or animal in a laboratory in the past. Still, they did practise genetic engineering through selective breeding and cross-species or cross-breeding. People would find specific traits, seek out other plants or animals with similar traits, and then breed them together to produce a specific result. Genetic engineering simply accelerates this process and improves the predictability of the outcome.

Is the coronavirus vaccine genetically engineered?

Yes, some of the coronavirus vaccines are genetically engineered.

Adenovirus — the Oxford vaccine

This one is truly genetically modified. But what exactly does that mean?

The Oxford vaccine employs a technique known as “viral vectoring.” The researchers took an adenovirus — a pathogen that causes the common cold — and spliced in the coronavirus’s spike protein genetic sequence.

The adenovirus simply acts as a vehicle for the genetic sequence to enter your cells. After all, that is why it is referred to as a “viral vector.” Viruses have evolved over millennia to figure out how to get into host cells.

It should be noted that genetic engineering is an integral part of the development process. To begin, vector viruses are removed of any genes that could harm you or cause disease. Genes that cause reproduction are also removed, rendering the virus harmless and incapable of replication.

The coronavirus spike protein genes are then added — a classic application of recombinant DNA. So, yes, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine does involve the injection of a genetically engineered virus into your body.

That is a good thing. In the past, live viruses in vaccines, such as the polio vaccine, could mutate and become pathogenic, resulting in vaccine-derived polio. As you can see, using a GM virus that cannot cause such harm is far preferable!

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