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Genetic Engineering Applications

Genetic Engineering Applications

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This lesson will examine the pros and cons of various applications of genetic engineering and Biotechnology.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

This lesson is going to cover the applications of genetic engineering by looking at:

  1. Bacterial Use
  2. Plant and Animal Use

1. Bacterial Use

A GMO is a term you've probably heard before, and it stands for genetically modified organism.These organisms can include bacteria, plants, or animals. PCR, which stands for polymerase chain reaction, is a fast way to make many copies of an organism's DNA. It amplifies DNA in test tubes, and then this DNA can be used for many uses, such as in the medical field, agriculture, or industry.

Terms to Know

  • Genetic Engineering
  • The process of transferring genes from one organism into another.
  • Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)
  • An organism that contains foreign DNA produced by genetic engineering.
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
  • Genetic technology that allows scientists to copy DNA quickly.

Bioremediation is the use of bacteria for environmental issues.

ExampleBacteria can be genetically engineered to clean up oil spills.

Bacterial plasmids are another way in which bacteria are used. Bacterial plasmids are used to create transgenic organisms, which are organisms that contain the DNA of more than one species. These are used for various reasons like insulin production for diabetics.

Terms to Know

  • Transgenic Organisms
  • Organisms that contain genes from another organism.
  • Bioremediation
  • Using genetically modified organisms to clean pollutants.

It can be used in the medical field to make different types of medicines more quickly and efficiently, and more cost effective. However, a con to this is that sometimes scientists think that by using these bacterial plasmids, it can lead to mutations, which could then cause new diseases. 


2. Plant and Animal Use

Plants can also be used in genetic engineering, and they can produce genetically modified foods. These genetically modified foods can be pest resistant and more resilient. They also can be genetically modified to do things like provide more vitamins.

These are all good things, but some people think that it could trigger the evolution of new pests. Some of these genes could also spread to wild plants, trigger allergies, and have various health effects.

People also use animals in genetic engineering. Foreign DNA can be injected into animals.

ExampleInjecting pigs with the human growth hormone, allowing them to grow larger and faster.

But there also could be some negative health effects associated with this, and some other ethical issues as well.

With genetic engineering, it's important that we take a look at the pros and the cons and find a way to use genetic engineering in a way that is not going to be detrimental to the environment.

Summary

A GMO is a genetically modified organism and can include bacteria, plants, and animals. Bacterial use includes bioremediation, transgenic organism production, and can help replicate medicines quickly. Genetic engineering can also be for plant and animal use. Plants can be made to be more resilient or more nutritious, and animals can be affected to grow larger more quickly. All of these ways have pros and cons.

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia Author Amanda Soderlind

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Genetic Engineering

    The process of transferring genes from one organism into another.

  • Transgenic Organisms

    Organisms that contain genes from another organism.

  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

    Genetic technology that allows scientists to copy DNA quickly.

  • Bioremediation

    Using genetically modified organisms to clean pollutants.

  • Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)

    An organism that contains foreign DNA produced by genetic engineering.