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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