Monday, September 16, 2019

Genetic Engineering: Applications of Genetic Engineering and Recombinant DNA Technology

Genetic Engineering
Genetic Engineering and Recombinant DNA Technology: Genetic engineering is the direct modification or manipulation of an organism's genes using biotechnology to create a new trait in living organisms or to produce a biological substance, such as hormone or protein.

Genetic Engineering: Applications of Genetic Engineering and Recombinant DNA Technology

What is Genetic Engineering?

Genetic engineering is a change or modification of the genetic material (DNA) of living organisms using biotechnology, either by changing the order of the components of the genetic material, deleting parts of them, multiplying them, or introducing parts of a genetic material belonging to another organism to modify or improve the characteristics of the organism, such as the production of foods with higher nutritional value, or the production of protein to treat a particular disease.
An organism, after modification of its genetic material, is called a genetically modified organism. The first successful experiment on bacteria was carried out in 1973, followed by experiments on mice, plants, mammals, etc. Applications of genetic engineering encompass many fields, such as agriculture, research, industry, medicine, and other useful fields.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

To understand genetic engineering, DNA needs to be identified. In the nucleus of each organism, there are filament structures called chromosomes, which in turn are genes that carry symbols that control the production of thousands of different types of proteins that make up most of the organism.
Scientists discovered DNA in 1869, but its significance was only recognized by 1944 when a team of scientists discovered that transferring a portion of DNA to a bacterium, and transplanting it into other bacteria. This mechanism leads to the appearance of some of the first bacteria in the second bacteria, proving to scientists that DNA carries genetic instructions that determine the characteristics of an organism.
DNA is made up of two strands that are spiraled together, which can be separated and multiplied. Each DNA strand within the double helix is made up of molecules called nucleotides that form a chain. Each nucleotide contains a sugar group, a phosphate group, and a nitrogen base. The four types of nitrogenous bases present in DNA are adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). The sequence of these bases determines the DNA instructions or genetic code.

The combinations of these four letters encode genes, which in turn produce proteins, forming the structure and mechanism of life. That's where things get really interesting.
The sequence of chemical bases differs from one organism to another except identical twins. The human body consists of one hundred trillion cells, and each cell has a billion and a half pairs of chemical bases, which are arranged in a unique order that no other human being has. Scientists' knowledge of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) formed the nucleus or the first step in genetic engineering. Scientists have been able to separate the two ribosomal DNA strands, cut them into small pieces, and move them from one organism to another.

How is DNA Used in Genetic Engineering?

DNA is a software of life which is all written in the same encoding language, whether we are dealing with microbial organisms or humans. All genes are interchangeable. If a gene can be cut from one organism's genome and then inserted into another genome, it will work in the host exactly as it did in the original organism. 
Genetic engineering technologies rely on the use of “genetically modified organisms” to introduce the modified genes into the intended organism. For example, Agrobacterium tumefaciens are well known because they are used in agro-industries to modify the genes of suspicious plant species. However, this process is still laborious and requires a lot of trial and error.

Recombinant DNA Technology

As human knowledge grows, our power to influence the mechanism of life goes far beyond the mere breeding of new crop varieties. We can make horizontal gene transfer in our own way, by inserting strange genes into organisms that have never developed them properly.
These organisms are usually genetically modified in a qualitative way, such as enhancing crop resistance to insects, herbicides, pesticides, or other desirable traits.

Recombinant DNA technology is the joining of DNA molecules of two different species together. It enables individual pieces of DNA from any genome to be inserted into a host organism (vector DNA molecules) such as plasmids to produce new genetic combinations, which are important for medicine, industry, agriculture and much scientific research. Each amplified piece of DNA is called a DNA clone. Only recombinant DNA (ie, synthesized DNA from different organisms) should be used to effect this modification and find a way to incorporate it into the target group of genes.

The aim of recombinant DNA technology, of course, is to eliminate the infamous Zika virus carriers, which is undoubtedly a noble and worthy goal, but some have expressed concerns about the process in line with the principle of "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
However, once you're in the process of producing non-reproductive organisms, you really do a good job.

Basic Steps in Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering is done in several ways, but it often follows the following basic steps:

⇒Isolation of DNA from an organism that carries the desired genetic character.
⇒Identifying the desired gene, and multiply it to obtain multiple copies of it.
⇒Making a modification to the gene to make it more suitable for the organism to be modified if necessary.
⇒Insertion of the gene into the intended cell. This is done either by using bacteria as the carrier of the new gene, then injecting the bacteria into the organism to be modified, or by using a gene gun that releases microscopic particles of gold metal after encapsulating the desired genes into the cells of the organism to be modified.
⇒The multiplication of genetically modified cells by conventional methods.

Applications of Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering has covered many aspects of our lives, including:

Applications of Genetic Engineering in Medicine:

⇒The production of human insulin hormone from bacteria: Commercial production of insulin from bacteria began in 1982, and this is an important achievement that saved the lives of many people. Previously, it was based on insulin from domestic pigs and cows, which is a costly process and is not without side effects in patients, such as allergies.
⇒The production of vaccines against certain types of diseases: viral hepatitis, herpes simplex keratitis, and foot and mouth disease in animals.
⇒The production of lymphocytes: proteins that regulate the immune system in the human body, including interferon-alpha protein, which is used to combat viral diseases, such as colds, hepatitis, herpes, as well as cancer, in addition to interleukin-2, a substance that boosts lymphocyte production, which is currently being tested on AIDS patients.
⇒The production of somatostatin: Somatostatin is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus in the human brain that regulates the growth hormone. Previously, somatostatin was obtained from human bodies. However, genetic engineering has provided the world with sufficient quantities of this hormone, which is used to treat people with developmental abnormalities. It is also has been used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), known as adenosine deaminase deficiency (ADA deficiency).
⇒The production of erythropoietin (EPO):  Erythropoietin stimulates the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow in people with severe anemia.
⇒The production of such substances that dissolve blood clots and prevent clogging arteries (arterial plaque) to prevent heart attacks.
⇒The production of antibodies that contain radioactive elements or cellular toxins to treat cancer.

Applications of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture:

➟Producing crops capable of stabilizing atmospheric nitrogen, thus requiring no fertilizers.
➟Producing agricultural crops capable of producing toxic proteins for insects and worms, such as tomato worms and tobacco worms.
➟Increasing the productivity of agricultural crops, increasing their resistance to diseases, heat, and moisture, and reducing their need for fertilizers.
➟Producing agricultural crops that are not affected by weed pesticides, such as glyphosate, enabling farmers to spray the entire field with glyphosate, without harming the crop.
➟Producing several types of microorganisms that analyze toxic chemicals and can be used to eliminate insect pests and disease-causing organisms.
➟Improving the quality and quantity of seed content of proteins.
➟Improving the ability of plants to photosynthesize.

Applications of Genetic Engineering in Industry:

➾Genetic Engineering produces genetically modified organisms that can convert sucrose into glucose.
➾Produces the inexpensive agricultural fertilizers from ammonia produced by bacteria, and genetically modified blue bacteria.
➾Produces microbes that have the ability to convert cellulose into sugar, which can later be used to produce ethanol.
➾Monitores the efficacy of the decomposition of garbage, petroleum products, naphthalene and other industrial wastes using genetically engineered bacteria that produce a light that is proportional to the amount of waste analyzed.
➾Produces bioenergy and biofuels. This biofuel can be converted into alcohol, diesel, oil, or other energy products.

Applications Genetic Engineering in Animal Husbandry:

Genetic engineering applications have been used in the field of animal genetic modification. The aim of this use is to produce genetically engineered animals that meet the human needs of different products and shapes. 

➜The application of genetic engineering is based on the introduction of the desired genes into the genome of livestock, where these genes work to resist viruses and infections, resulting in a greater quantity of nutrients, in addition to increasing their nutritional value, and the possibility of increasing the proportion of a certain component of the nutritional value of these substances to meet market demand such as increasing the percentage of omega-3 acids in fish, and reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease in people who eat these fishes.
➜Increasing the speed of growth, by providing it with the gene for rapid growth hormone.
➜Producing vaccines for diseases that affect them, especially poultry such as fever, Newcastle disease.
➜Working on converting their residues into organic fertilizers through genetically modified bacteria.

These applications allow farmers to produce the desired breeds of livestock with the least possible time and at the lowest cost, allowing for more food products aimed at improving human public health.
These applications also, include the production of the highest milk producing cow breeds with the addition of any desired characteristics, such as lower cholesterol or other, as well as the production of different types of livestock with different qualities as needed.

Environmentally Friendly Approaches to Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering can tackle deforestation and air pollution by producing bacteria that analyze waste products. There are a lot of bacteria produced using biotechnology that work to get rid of oil - crude and petroleum products in the sea by breaking up its molecules and devouring them. This process is called bioremediation.

Genetic engineering technology is evolving rapidly, and each year seems to bring with it a new and amazing increase in our capabilities in this direction. Even if there are quick solutions to the legal and ethical implications of this technology, we have to wait because it is still not clear.

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