What is Genetic Engineering?
Genetic Engineering (GE) is the alteration of genes and genetic material.
Genetic Engineering involves creating new genes or inserting new genetic material. Although there are a variety of ways that this can be done, the two most common ones are clonning and recombinant DNA.
- Cloning involves making complete duplicates of a cell or organism. The clone has the same genes and DNA as the parent it came from. Cloning is a lenghty process and does not always work as excepted.
For example if we tried to clone a dolphin...
- 1. Obtain a cell from one dolphin (parent) and remove the DNA from it.
- 2. Obtain an egg from a different dolphin that is a female (carrier) and remove the DNA from it. The egg is now known as an oocyte.
- 3. Insert the DNA from the parent into the carrier's oocyte using electricity.
- 4. Implant the new cell created in step three (now known as an embryo) into the carrier.
- 5. Some time later, a clone is born that is genetically identical to the parent.
- Recombinant DNA Technology
- Recombinant DNA Technology allows genes to be moved from one organism to another. This invovles a method similar to cloning, except that the result does not create an organism with identical genes but with a few similar genes.
- For example, if we tried to make a tomato glow in the dark, we can combine jellyfish genes into tomato genes.
- 1. Restriction enzymes cut DNA from a jellyfish that allows it to glow.
- 2. The DNA is placed into a plasmid.
- 3. The plasmid replicates itself numerous times making many copies of the cut DNA.
- 4. The plasmid carries the DNA to be spliced into the tomato.
- 5. The genes are spliced and the tomato can now glow in the dark.
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