Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering is a process that involves the modification of different traits in organisms by use of a technology known as recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology. This process has caused different reactions from the experts in genetics and the public at large, with some thinking that it is a breakthrough in Biology, and others thinking that it is against the natural set up of things.  That aside, there has been progressive studies on the same- a factor that was not possible in the past because of the complex nature of the DNA and its components.

Some of the advantages of genetic engineering include the prevention of disease. With genetics, it is easier for the experts to figure out the plants, people and animals that are prone to hereditary diseases and then prepare them for the inevitable or prevent them from occurring. It has also made it possible for infectious diseases from being spread. The genes that have the code for the anti-viral proteins for the antigens will be implanted in the organism, and thus deal with the disease.

With genetic engineering, the genes can also be manipulated to enable people display desirable characteristics. One example of this is the creation of the Enviropig. Pigs produce manure that is high in phytate, a version of phosphorus, and when farmers use it on their farms, the chemicals are washed into the watershed where they lead to the creation of algae blooms that will take up oxygen in the water as well as kill marine life. Through genetic engineering, the scientists have stopped this by adding E.coli bacteria and DNA from a mouse to the embryo of the pigs. This has reduced the output by more than 70% making the pigs more environmental friendly.

Genetic engineering has also led to the production of more variants in genetics. This can be proven by the creation of the venomous cabbage, which was genetically engineered to limit the use of pesticide, and at the same time prevent the cabbage from being damaged by caterpillars.  This has been done by injecting these cabbages with scorpion poison, which kills the caterpillars, but is harmless to the humans because the toxins have been modified. Another example is the Flavr Savr tomato, which was modified by the addition of antisense gene that helped in reducing the softening and rotting process without interfering with the color and flavor of the tomato.

Genetic engineering has also been applied in the medical sector. People will soon be receiving vaccines by biting bananas. The experts have engineered different vegetables such as bananas, lettuce, potatoes, tobaccos and carrots to produce vaccines. Bananas are the ones that are ideal not only because of their production but also their delivery. When the altered form of the virus for diseases such as cholera and hepatitis B, is injected in the banana sapling, its genetic material will become a permanent part of the cells of the plant. As it grows the cells will produce the virus of the proteins, but not its infectious part. This will help in building the immune systems by boosting the antibodies, allowing the body to fight the disease similar to the traditional vaccine.

Another example of genetic engineering in medicine includes the creating of medicinal eggs. These eggs come from genetically modified hens, in which the human gene has been added to their DNA. This causes the secretion of the human protein and the medicinal proteins used in the treatment of diseases such as cancer into the egg whites.  These eggs will contain the miR24 molecule that is responsible for treating arthritis, malignant melanoma. It will also contain the antiviral drug called human interferon b-1a, which is similar to the treatment for multiple sclerosis.

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