The idea of using technology to interfere with the reproductive process provokes excitement and fear.While DNA can be modified through natural processes it can also be modified by humans. For this to occur the DNA isfirst extracted from cells.
Probes are small, radioactively labeled sequences of DNA used to bind the complementary base sequences. They can thus be used to select and identify a gene of interest when they are mixed with single stranded DNA. Restriction enzymes bind and cut specific base sequences. This can break the DNA strand into many smaller segments, leaving the exposed bases called'sticky ends' at the ends of each segment. Therefore particular genes can be selected and removed using restricted enzymes to cut the DNA molecule into smaller pieces and then by using probes to identify the gene of interest which can then be removed.
Genes can be selected and transferred between species by recombinant DNA technology. This process is referred to as genetic engineering.
Genetic engineering is a relatively new and rapidly developing technology. It has opened up infinitely limitless possibilities for influencing the genetic makeup of organisms. Genetic engineering is the artificial alteration of the genetic code. Genes are sections of the DNA, which control the traits of an individual, such as eye colour, and are different for every person. With natural breeding, genes are passed down generations, but with new technology scientists are able to identify an individual gene, and insert it into another organism, which will then carry the trait of that gene. This organism is transgenic, meaning its DNA has been altered. As ‘Food for our Future’ says, the bases of our DNA make up a “language”, and all species speak the same language, which is why it is possible for genes to be transferred between species. Genetic engineering has few limits, except for our imagination, and our personal morals.
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