Genetic engineering also called genetic modification or genetic manipulation is the direct manipulation of an organism's genes using biotechnology. It is a set of technologies used to change the genetic makeup of cells, including the transfer of genes within and across species boundaries to produce improved or novel organisms. New DNA is obtained by either isolating or copying the genetic material of interest using recombinant DNA methods or by artificially synthesizing the DNA. A construct is usually created and used to insert this DNA into the host organism.
A gene is the basic physical and functional unity of heredity. Genetic engineering is changing the structure of the genes of living things in order to make it healthier, stronger, and more useful to humans. Changing DNA in cells is to understand their biology. Genetic engineering is currently used in both animal and plant cells this modifications help to improve the performance of the cell.
Genetic engineering has applications in medicine, research, industry and agriculture and can be used on a wide range of plants, animals and microorganisms. Bacteria, the first organisms to be genetically modified, can have plasmid DNA inserted containing new genes that code for medicines or enzymes that process food and other substrates. Plants have been modified for insect protection, herbicide resistance, virus resistance, enhanced nutrition, tolerance to environmental pressures and the production of edible vaccines. Most commercialized GMOs are insect resistant or herbicide tolerant crop plants.
Genetically modified animals have been used for research, model animals and the production of agricultural or pharmaceutical products. The genetically modified animals include animals with genes knocked out, increased susceptibility to disease, hormones for extra growth, and the ability to express proteins in their milk.
Genetic engineering has many applications to medicine that include the manufacturing of drugs, the creation of model animals that mimic human conditions and gene therapy. One of the earliest uses of genetic engineering was to mass-produce human insulin in bacteria.
Genes and other genetic information from a wide range of organisms can be inserted into bacteria for storage and modification, creating genetically modified bacteria in the process. Bacteria are cheap, easy to grow, clonal, multiply quickly, relatively easy to transform, and can be stored at -80 °C almost indefinitely. Once a gene is isolated it can be stored inside the bacteria providing an unlimited supply for research
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