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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Genetic Engineering


Genetic engineering also termed as genetic modification or genetic manipulation is the process which involves the direct manipulation of DNA of an organism to alter the organism’s characteristics to either produce novel or improved traits. In simple words, it can be defined as: the science of manipulating and cloning the genes for the production of new trait or biological substances like proteins. The organism produced through genetic engineering are termed as GMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms.

genetic engineering

The organisms into which foreign DNA has been inserted are called transgenic organisms. Along with inserting the genes, genetic engineering can be used to remove or knock out a specific gene. The exigency of genetic engineering owes to its promising results. Human insulin was first time possible to obtain from non-animal cells by genetic engineering. The modification in DNA of an organism for a desired outcome and its success has led to the new ways in modern science.

The term ‘Genetic Engineering’ was used by Jack Williamson in his novel named ‘Dragon Island’ in 1951. Paul Berg is considered as the pioneer in genetic engineering. In 1972, he paved the ways to possibility of rDNA formation by experimentally combining the DNA from lambda virus with that of monkey virus SV40.After one year, Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen created first transgenic bacterium.

In 1973, Rudolph Jaenisch introduced the foreign DNA into the mouse embryo thus creating a transgenic mouse. In 1976, Herbert Boyer and Robert Swanson led the foundation of first genetic engineering company, Genentech. In 1982, FDA approved the insulin production by bacteria. In 1987, first genetically modified organism was released in environment. 

In 1994, first genetically modified food, a tomato (Falvr Savr), was approved for commercial use. In 1995, a genetically modified pesticide producing crop was approved by FDA for plantation in USA. In 2009, 25 different companies grew transgenic crops. Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier developed a technique, CRISPR/Cas9 system in 2012, to specifically alter the genome of almost any of the organism.


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