What is Genetic engineering: Definition and 25 Discussions

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 and copying the genetic material of interest using recombinant DNA methods or by artificially synthesising the DNA. A construct is usually created and used to insert this DNA into the host organism. The first recombinant DNA molecule was made by Paul Berg in 1972 by combining DNA from the monkey virus SV40 with the lambda virus. As well as inserting genes, the process can be used to remove, or "knock out", genes. The new DNA can be inserted randomly, or targeted to a specific part of the genome.An organism that is generated through genetic engineering is considered to be genetically modified (GM) and the resulting entity is a genetically modified organism (GMO). The first GMO was a bacterium generated by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen in 1973. Rudolf Jaenisch created the first GM animal when he inserted foreign DNA into a mouse in 1974. The first company to focus on genetic engineering, Genentech, was founded in 1976 and started the production of human proteins. Genetically engineered human insulin was produced in 1978 and insulin-producing bacteria were commercialised in 1982. Genetically modified food has been sold since 1994, with the release of the Flavr Savr tomato. The Flavr Savr was engineered to have a longer shelf life, but most current GM crops are modified to increase resistance to insects and herbicides. GloFish, the first GMO designed as a pet, was sold in the United States in December 2003. In 2016 salmon modified with a growth hormone were sold.
Genetic engineering has been applied in numerous fields including research, medicine, industrial biotechnology and agriculture. In research GMOs are used to study gene function and expression through loss of function, gain of function, tracking and expression experiments. By knocking out genes responsible for certain conditions it is possible to create animal model organisms of human diseases. As well as producing hormones, vaccines and other drugs, genetic engineering has the potential to cure genetic diseases through gene therapy. The same techniques that are used to produce drugs can also have industrial applications such as producing enzymes for laundry detergent, cheeses and other products.
The rise of commercialised genetically modified crops has provided economic benefit to farmers in many different countries, but has also been the source of most of the controversy surrounding the technology. This has been present since its early use; the first field trials were destroyed by anti-GM activists. Although there is a scientific consensus that currently available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food, GM food safety is a leading concern with critics. Gene flow, impact on non-target organisms, control of the food supply and intellectual property rights have also been raised as potential issues. These concerns have led to the development of a regulatory framework, which started in 1975. It has led to an international treaty, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, that was adopted in 2000. Individual countries have developed their own regulatory systems regarding GMOs, with the most marked differences occurring between the US and Europe.

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  1. Eagle9

    Several questions about genetic engineering

    Hello people :oldsmile: In future I am going learn biotechnology and genetic engineering at some moderate level, but now I simply need to be aware of some basic aspects of this field :oldeyes: Imagine that we need to insert some gene(s) in ape/chimpanzee and the length of these genes are at...
  2. Ygggdrasil

    Medical First genetically edited human babies reportedly born

    https://apnews.com/4997bb7aa36c45449b488e19ac83e86d As detailed in the AP news story, most scientists believe the work to be unethical as the safety of the CRISPR gene editing technique used has not yet been fully established. See also...
  3. Hawkingo

    Stephen Hawking predicted the future of mankind

    Well known scientist professor Stephen Hawking had predicted the possibility that genetic modification can give birth to superhumans that could destroy the rest of humanity. The essays, published in the Sunday Times, were written in preparation for a book that will be published on Tuesday. Read...
  4. kyphysics

    Genetic Engineering of Intelligence & National Security

    I've been listening to the likes of neuroscientist Sam Harris and physicist Stephen Hsu (who seems to have turned his interests towards genomics research these days) discuss the future of human life, given genetic research and cutting edge knowledge in this area. I think it was Hsu who said...
  5. Ygggdrasil

    Medical National Academies Recommendations on Human Gene Editing

    This week on, Feb 14, the US National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine released a report giving recommendations on how...
  6. T

    Can genetic engineering alter an existing phenotype?

    If existing technology can not, will it ever be possible?
  7. Warpspeed13

    Misc. What do you need to do DIY genetic engineering?

    I was reading an article about some guys developing a strain of oil eating bacteria on their own. What kind of equipment would someone need to do that? It sounds really cool.
  8. D

    To transform humans into other species via genetic engineering

    Will it be possible in the future for humans to transform into other species via genetic engineering? e.g. a human becoming a gorilla
  9. Ƒ

    Genetic Engineering at Johns Hopkins: Is it a Good Fit?

    I understand that Johns Hopkins is a pre-med school. But, if I'm interested in genetic engineering, is that a good school to apply to?
  10. F

    I have a question about Genetic Engineering vs Biology Researchers

    Okay, I know this is a really dumb question, but is it true that their subjects are both devoted to studying Immortality?
  11. M

    Genetic Engineering Degrees: Biochemistry/Molecular Biology MS

    2nd try: I seemed to messed up on where to post this the first time but here is my question: I have stumbled on this site and find it interesting. A lot of people who know a lot more than me. I am going to school and almost finished knocking out my basic courses. I was wondering what type of...
  12. M

    Engineering Genetic Engineering Degrees: What Do You Need?

    I have stumbled on this site and find it interesting. A lot of people who know a lot more than me. I am going to school and almost finished knocking out my basic courses. I was wondering what type of degree(s) should I go for a job in Genetic Engineering. I was told I need one in...
  13. R

    Transforming humans into animals via genetic engineering?

    In the future, will it be possible for humans to transform into other animals via genetic engineering?
  14. Q

    Question about Genetic Engineering in general

    Hi everyone. I am writing about an essay on genetic engineering and wondering if cloning would come under genetic engineering or modifications. Some sources state it is while some state that it is a separate entity. I personally feel that cloning is not GE/GM, but if it is relevant then my essay...
  15. R

    Transforming humans into animals via genetic engineering?

    In the future, will it be possible for humans to transform into other animals via genetic engineering?
  16. S

    Questions on genetic engineering

    If I were to go into genetic engineering, college, intern, work in the field, whatever it would take, at the rate of the current advancement of the field, do you think it would ever be possible for me to genetically engineer an army of never aging kittens engineered for global conquest to take...
  17. D

    Genetic Engineering Intelligence

    I came across this article a while ago http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/435816.stm which essentially says that a decade ago researchers in Princeton genetically engineered mice to be smarter (demonstrated by their ability to solve mazes faster and remember objects better)...
  18. D

    Genetic Engineering yey or ney?

    Genetic Engineering yey or ney?? Hey, just wondering what peoples views are on q. Is genetic engineering of animals/humans really necessary? :smile:
  19. K

    How far can genetic engineering influence those already living?

    So it's easier to change a clump of cells and designer babies will be part of the future... but what about people living now? Will I be able to change my DNA 20 or 30 years from now? Thanks for any replies. :)
  20. D

    Genetic Engineering: Hypothetical Brain Connections?

    Hypothetically could people genetically engineer brains that would automatically connect up to ours- eg make all the connections necessary- way way in the future?
  21. S

    Creating New Beings with Genetic Engineering

    Could somebody give me an idea of what we can and can't do with genetic engineering? (Im not talking about altering existing beings, I'm talking about how we can create new beings) thanks
  22. S

    Genetic Engineering and a Secular Morality System

    Morality is purely subjective: no value, moral belief, or ethical proclamation can be proven in the scientific sense to be truth, but rather only be justified based on personal subjective feelings. For those that don't believe in superstition, other sources of morality must be chosen...
  23. M

    Medical Genetic engineering and third world medicine

    I just had a lovely idea. Perhaps they could take edible plants, such as tea bushes, and genetically engineer them to make antibiotics. That way people, such as the yanomamo, could plant some of these perrenials near their campsites and chew them or make a tea when they get sick and not have...
  24. G

    Genetic engineering: a moral question

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031219072314.htm The above article basically is talking about a genetic comparison of the genomes of chimpanzees and humans and how both of our species has differentiated from our common ancestor X millions of years ago. Since humans and...
  25. T

    Genetic engineering of us humans

    What is your opinion of it? Do you approve of it? I think that there is no law which states that evolution of a species has to be a purely natural process that does not involve the 'artificial' intervention of the own species. If a species were developed and intelligent enough to tinker with...