Sunday, February 9, 2020

What is Genetic Engineering and How is DNA Used in Genetic Engineering?

Genetic engineering is the modification of the natural set of genes of an organism by adding pieces of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), by using biotechnology, which includes installing, isolating and copying genetic material.
The organism that is created through this engineering is called a genetically modified organism.

The basic steps of recombinant DNA technology include: 
(1) Isolating DNA fragments from donor organisms; (2) inserting isolated DNA fragments into vectors and (3) transferring the vectors into a suitable host organism (4)  obtaining the products of recombinant genes.
genetic engineering
How does genetic engineering work and how is DNA used in genetic engineering?

What is Genetic Engineering and How is DNA Used in Genetic Engineering?


What is Genetic Engineering?

Genetic engineering is the process by which scientists modify the genome of an organism, such as adding an additional gene to it to change a specific trait or adding a new trait to produce what is called recombinant DNA.

This means interfering with the evolution of the organism to produce something that has not been formed over hundreds of generations, and something that does not happen in natural selection through the principle of trial and difficult and long-term error.

The first recombinant DNA molecule was produced in 1972 by Paul Berg by combining the DNA of the monkey virus with the lambda virus.
 While the first genetically modified organism (GMOs) was bacteria resistant to the antibiotic kanamycin created by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen in 1973.

It may be surprising to know that genetic engineering has a very ancient origin, not entirely as a result of human activity.

It has been shown that organisms in which a genetic modification occurred spontaneously appear naturally through the exchange of genes mediated by parasites, or pathogens, i.e. lateral (or horizontal) transfer of genes in which genetic information is exchanged between living organisms in a non-reproductive manner.

Of course, the most famous example of genetic engineering is the occasional, unstructured and incomplete work of domestication of plants and animals that began tens of thousands of years ago with the beginnings of infiltration of wolves around human settlements.

 This eventually led to the emergence of the Neolithic or agricultural revolution with a whole host of evolving unnatural plant species through human patching that became the primary products of civilization.



How Genetic Engineering Works?

With the increase in human knowledge, our strength in influencing the mechanism of life has increased far beyond simply raising new strains of crops.

 We can now make a horizontal transfer of genes in our own way, by inserting strange genes into living organisms that have never developed these genes properly.

These organisms are usually genetically modified in a qualitative way, such as enhancing the resistance of crop strains to insects, herbicides and pesticides, or other desirable traits.
Sometimes, and more controversially, genetically modified animals are produced.

Let's consider the newly proposed experimental launch in the Florida Keys for genetically modified mosquitoes from the self-limited Egyptian Aedes mosquito, i.e., they carry genes that kill any offspring that the female may have in the wild.

The aim, of course, is to eliminate the notorious Zika virus carriers, which is without a doubt a worthy goal, but some have expressed their concerns about the process in line with the principle of 
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
However, once you are in the stage of producing non-reproductive and growing organisms, you really do a good job.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)
DNA needs to be identified to understand genetic engineering.
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 organisms.

Scientists discovered DNA in 1869, but its significance was only recognized by 1944 when a team of scientists discovered the mechanism of transferring a DNA portion 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 part of the nucleotides consists of a sugar group, a phosphate group, and a nitrogen base.

There are 4 types of nitrogenous bases in DNA that can be represented as adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). The sequence of these bases determines the genetic code or DNA instructions.

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. 

When scientists understood deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) properly, they could form the nucleus and take 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.


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.



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. 

Only recombinant DNA (i.e. DNA synthesized from different organisms) should be used to effect this modification and find a way to insert it into the target genetics group.

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.

The methods of modifying modern genes are much more accurate, such as one of the systems known as CRISPR Cas-9 which performed miracles in the field of genetic engineering.

Conclusion
Genetic engineering technology is evolving rapidly, and every year it seems has brought with it a surprising new increase in our capabilities in this direction.

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