Which Types Of Genetic Engineering Are Safe?

Types of genetic engineering are defined by the exact nature of the genes which are being worked on, along with the purpose to which they are being put. The most common type of genetic engineering at the present time is that which deals with food crops, aiming at the simple goal of dealing with pesticides more efficiently and decreasing the possibility of the crop being destroyed by insects and other predators. This type of genetically modifying food is proven to be successful, although some of the side effects are still unknown.

The next generation of plant based genetic engineering is that which is aimed at making the crop more resistant to the ambient weather conditions. In many cases, this will mean making them more hardy against extreme cold, at least extreme by the standards of the region in which the crop is being grown. There are limits as to what can be achieved, but even a small percentage increase in durability can save a large proportion of the crops which would otherwise have been lost. It is also possible to make plants more resistant against drought by reducing the amount of water they need over a given period of time.

It is not only the health of the plant itself which can be considered when genetic engineering is used. There are plans to use genetically modified plants to produce drugs in greater quantities than they can be produced in now. This will not substantially alter the nature of the drugs themselves, but it will mean that they can be produced in quantity far more cheaply. In a major Western country, the potential savings to the state sponsored medical service could be substantial. It is even possible that some of the drugs could be diverted to the Third World, where they are needed but cannot be obtained for financial reasons.

types of genetic engineering

Using types of genetic engineering on animals is possible, but it has not yet been realized in any meaningful commercial way. There are several potential objectives, the most obvious being to increase the size of farm animals are to improve their milk yields. This is perfectly possible, but economic considerations make it less likely because there a cheaper ways to achieve the same result. There are also plans to produce animals which are more similar genetically to humans, so that drugs can be tested on them.

Genetic engineering applied to humans is the most controversial of all, although even this has seen some initial success. The relatively simple procedure of altering DNA in one individual can have an effect on genetically inherited illnesses, and several people have already been cured of immune system deficiencies. The technology has not yet advanced to the level where it is safe to use, as some of the test volunteers contracted leukemia from the treatment they were given. There are other uses of genetic engineering in humans, but this the use which has the least potential for disaster and the greatest possibility of saving lives.

genetic engineering

Other types of genetic engineering which can be used on humans include the impregnation of barren women using the eggs of a second mother. This is a procedure which has potentially frightening consequences, as any child produced by it will have three genetic blueprints instead of two. This will be passed down through the generations, and the consequences are impossible to predict. As with most other forms of genetic engineering, it remains at the moment only a possibility, but there will be many new challenges for politicians and governments in the coming years, deciding whether or not to allow certain types of genetic engineering.

 

 

 

Genetic Engineering News:

 

Engineers Create Plants That Glow - Big Think (blog)

Big Think (blog)

Engineers Create Plants That Glow
Big Think (blog)
Previous efforts to create light-emitting plants have relied on genetically engineering plants to express the gene for luciferase, but this is a laborious process that yields extremely dim light. Those studies were performed on tobacco plants and .

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Scientists Grow 3D Hairy Mouse Skin without Using Embryonic Tissue - Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Scientists Grow 3D Hairy Mouse Skin without Using Embryonic Tissue
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
The hairy skin more closely resembles natural mouse skin than existing lab-grown tissue that is constructed by piecing together different cell types. The Indiana University School of Medicine researchers suggest that if hair-growing human skin can be .

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Gene therapy offers long-term treatment for mice with diabetes - Fairfield Daily Republic

Gene therapy offers long-term treatment for mice with diabetes
Fairfield Daily Republic
The newly resurgent field of gene therapy, which recently produced treatments for blood cancers and blindness, has taken a step toward fighting a scourge that is on the rise worldwide: diabetes. In research reported last week in the journal Cell Stem .

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Alcohol and cancer: This is how booze damages DNA inside cells - Cancer Research UK (blog)

Cancer Research UK (blog)

Alcohol and cancer: This is how booze damages DNA inside cells
Cancer Research UK (blog)
To do this, they used lab-based genetic engineering to create mice whose blood stem cells didn't produce the enzyme ALDH2, meaning they couldn't break down acetaldehyde. They then gave these mice diluted ethanol, the purest form of alcohol, and used .
Alcohol and endogenous aldehydes damage chromosomes and mutate stem cells | NatureNature
New research shows how alcohol damages DNA and increases cancer riskCancer Research UK
Alcohol Use and Cancer - American Cancer SocietyAmerican Cancer Society
NCBI - NIH
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Pakistani database to help deal with genetic disorders - SciDev.Net

SciDev.Net

Pakistani database to help deal with genetic disorders
SciDev.Net
[ISLAMABAD] Pakistan, a country with a high rate of marriages among close relatives, has taken a step towards dealing with inherited disorders by establishing a genetic mutation database, or mutome, that the developers say will help provide genetic .

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Scientists engineer sound-reflecting bacteria - Cosmos

Cosmos

Scientists engineer sound-reflecting bacteria
Cosmos
Scientists at the California Institute of Technology in the US have genetically engineered bacteria capable of sending sonar signals from deep within the human body. The modified Escherichia coli contain genes from two other species of bacteria .

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