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Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering refers to a set of technologies that are being used
to change the genetic makeup of cells and move genes across species
boundaries to produce new organisms. This essay discusses what genetic engineering is as well as talks about certain techniques used for genetic engineering. Also talks about the advantages and disadvantages.
The techniques involve highly sophisticated manipulations of genetic material and other biologically important chemicals. Such a transfer of genetic material is made possible through the use of so-called restriction enzymes. These enzymes, produced by various species of bacteria, are each capable of recognizing a particular sequence of the chain of chemical units, called nucleotide bases, that make up the DNA molecule, and of breaking the chain where the sequence occurs. Fragments of DNA produced by the same restriction enzyme tend to join together, and these linkages can be made permanent. Thus, if the DNA strands of two organisms are treated with the same restriction enzyme, they subsequently can be combined to form a hybrid DNA molecule. If this molecule can be incorporated into a cell, an organism can be produced that has characteristics of both parent organisms.
Genetic engineering thus far has been mainly carried out with bacteria
and viruses. The reason is that the process works in a very small proportion
of the organisms treated. With bacteria and viruses, large numbers of
organisms can be screened to pick out the few successful transfers. This can
be done, for example, by incorporating into the DNA that is to be transferred
a gene that confers resistance to some chemical, and then subjecting the
recipient organisms to the chemical. Only those with a successful transfer will then survive.
There are a number of techniques for moving genes artificially into recipient organisms. The oldest of these is called recombinant DNA, a technique that relies on biolog…

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