Comparing Transgene vs. Gene: Mechanisms & Effects

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In summary, transgene refers to the incorporation of foreign DNA into the host organism's genome. This can happen through various mechanisms such as vector incorporation, plasmid translation, or natural rearrangement of somatic DNA. In transgenic mice, the transgene is randomly incorporated into the host chromosome, while in knock-in mice it is inserted into a specific locus. This allows the transgene to act as a regular gene in the host organism's DNA processes.
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Pythagorean
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Is transgene only a statement of the history of a gene (that it did not develop through selection in the organism)

OR

is a transgene mechanistically different (i.e, does the transgene embed itself into the genome of the host organism and from then on act as if it were any other gene in the DNA strand or does it have a different way of being picked up and used in translation?)

I'm thinking of vectors now, specifically. Do vectors incorporate into the host organisms's DNA before being used? Are they then there forever (I understand that they're likely not in the sex cells, so the phenotype will not get passed on to progeny) in the organism?

Or do vectors float around in the cell and get used by Ribosomes for translation independent of the host organism's main DNA processes?
 
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It can happen that foreign DNA gets incorporated into the host chromosome, as in yeast transformation.

However, there are also plasmids that are translated using the host translational machinery without integration.

Somatic DNA can also be naturally rearranged in VDJ recombination.

In transgenic mice, the transgene is incorporated into a "random" locus in the host chromosome.

In knock-in mice (which most consider not "transgenic mice", but terminology is not completely universal), the transgene is incorporated into a specific locus in the host chromosome.
 

1. What is the difference between a transgene and a gene?

A gene is a unit of heredity that is responsible for the characteristics and traits of an organism. It contains the instructions for making specific proteins or RNA molecules. A transgene, on the other hand, is a gene that has been artificially introduced into an organism from a different species or source.

2. How are transgenes and genes different in terms of their mechanisms?

The mechanism of a gene involves the process of transcription, where the DNA sequence of the gene is used to make an RNA molecule. This RNA molecule is then translated into a protein, which carries out specific functions in the cell. In contrast, the mechanism of a transgene involves the insertion of the foreign gene into the genome of the host organism, where it may be transcribed and translated like a regular gene.

3. What are the potential effects of introducing a transgene into an organism?

The effects of introducing a transgene can vary depending on the specific gene and the host organism. In some cases, the transgene may be expressed and produce a functional protein, leading to a desired trait or characteristic in the organism. However, there may also be unintended consequences, such as disrupting normal gene expression or causing negative side effects.

4. How do scientists compare the mechanisms of transgenes and genes?

To compare the mechanisms of transgenes and genes, scientists may use techniques such as gene expression analysis, where they measure the levels of RNA or protein produced by the transgene and compare it to the levels of endogenous genes. They may also use genetic engineering methods to manipulate and study the function of the transgene.

5. What are the ethical considerations surrounding the use of transgenes?

The use of transgenes raises ethical concerns, particularly in terms of genetically modifying organisms for human purposes. Some argue that it may have unintended consequences on the environment and natural ecosystems. There are also concerns about the potential for transgenes to spread to other organisms and potentially disrupt natural genetic diversity. Ethical considerations also arise in terms of the potential implications for human health and safety.

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