Genetic Engineering of DNA Informative Essay

Submitted By DeltaPhi499
Words: 1025
Pages: 5

Andrew van Klaveren
Dr. Hafiza Nilofar Khan
Informative Essay
April 11, 2014
Genetic Engineering of DNA: What Is It and Why Do We Do It? Do you have a health disorder that you wished you had never been born with? Many people do, but now there is a way to make that wish come true. Genetic engineering, or GE, is when scientists modify the DNA in a living cell. GE could be used to fix flawed genes that cause complications. Genetic engineering has been occurring for thousands of years through selective breeding, but genetic engineering in the terms of manipulation of DNA has only existed since the 1970’s. Since then, there have been major developments in the different processes that are used for gene therapy. GE is being used today to cure health disorders, increase crop growth, the development of medicine, and even create small organisms that eat our wastes. This means that future generations could be void of some widespread disorders that we have today as well as many other benefits. As you can imagine, there is a lot of controversy about whether or not GE is ethical. My opinion about genetic engineering is that it can be beneficial if it is used wisely. For thousands of years, people have bread the strongest male bull with the biggest female cow. They did this because the outcome of two strong and big parents led to a strong and big child. This is called selective breeding. It is similar to genetic engineering in that you are deciding roughly what the genetics of the offspring will be. Genetic engineering as we know it today is more precise than selective breeding. In 1973, Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer invented the technique of DNA cloning, which allowed genes to be transplanted between different biological species. The first genetically modified mouse was created in 1980 and the first gene therapy trials were performed on humans in 1991. (GMEducation) Since the 70’s, there have been major developments in the processes of genetic engineering. Today, genetic engineering uses two different applications to modify organisms: Somatic and Germline. Somatic engineering targets specific genes in tissues, but doesn’t affect the genes of the reproductive system. Somatic engineering is used to treat an existing condition, but doesn’t alter the entire DNA of that organism. An example would be if someone had curly hair, they could use Somatic therapy to change it to straight hair. Germline engineering targets the genes in embryos in the very early stages of their development. An example would be if a plant needs a lot of water in order to grow, Germline therapy could be used to change that trait in the pollen of that plant in order to make it need less water. Germline modifies every cell in that embryo and affects the organism as a whole after the embryo is developed. Germline genetic engineering also means that the modifications are given to all of the offspring that organism has. (redOrbit) The main difference between Somatic GE and Germline GE is that Somatic GE is a short-term fix for a single organism while Germline GE affects all future generations. Genetic engineering has many practical uses in today’s society. Somatic and Germline therapy are being used today to treat health disorders and to prevent health disorders in our children. Another application of genetic engineering in our everyday lives is in the food we eat. Genetic engineering is being used to modify the size of the fruit and vegetables we eat and the growth of those crops. Scientists are also using genetic engineering to add traits, such as reducing the amount of water needed to grow and reducing the time it takes to grow, to those crops in order to maximize production. Medicine is also an area being influenced by genetic engineering. Medical professionals are using GE to create vaccines, antibodies, and even vitamins to put on the market. Chemotherapy and radiology are two large advances in medicine that were