Genetic Engineering– Directly altering the DNA of an organism to produce a desirable trait. Usually involves moving a gene from one organism to another.
Restriction Enzyme- an ENZYME can be used to “cut” the DNA from one organism and “paste” the gene into another organism
Genetically Modified Organism- An organism who’s DNA has been changed by scientists
Uses of Genetic Engineering
Medicine- We have inserted the human gene for insulin into bacteria. The bacteria produces insulin that we can collect and give to patients with diabetes
Agriculture/Farming- Most corn is genetically modified. Scientists have inserted a gene that makes the corn resistant to insects, resistant to droughts, and resistant to bacteria that cause diseases.
- Concerns- Will the genetically engineered corn accidently cross with natural corn? Will the genetically modified genes accidently get mixed in with nature? Is it safe to eat for humans? Could it cause health problems in the future?
Human Engineering- We have the entire human “genome,” or sequence of genes mapped out. We know where every trait and disease is located in the human chromosomes. We can now “search” DNA for potential diseases and health problems. We also could potentially choose the characteristics and traits of humans by inserting desired genes.
- Concerns- Genetic engineering in humans is an ETHICAL issue. Is it “right” to mess with humans? It is wrong to have a disease? Should there be flaws? What is the perfect human? Should parents be able to control their offspring? Should we eliminate potential disease in the world, and embryos who carry diseases? Is science going too far?