September 21

What is genetic engineering and how does it work?

Isabella Dawson
Core Spirit member since Sep 21, 2021
Reading time less than 1 minute

Modern genetic engineering allows you to "turn on" and "turn off" individual genes, programming a new genotype, including the human one. Genetic engineering is used to obtain the desired qualities of a mutable (genetically modified) organism.

Unlike traditional selection, in which an organism changes through mutations in its own genome, genetic engineering methods allow the genome to be altered by introducing the desired genes into it, including completely foreign ones.

This is a cause for much concern, although many discoveries have already benefited humanity.

Genotypes are restructured by altering DNA (a macromolecule that provides storage, transmission from generation to generation, and the implementation of a genetic program for the development and function of living organisms) and RNA (one of the three major macromolecules). cells of all living organisms). This process is called “gene therapy”.

There are three main strategies for using gene therapy:

  1. Replacing a gene that causes a mutated disease with a healthy copy.
  2. Inactivation or "knockout" of malfunctioning mutated genes.
  3. Introduction of a new gene into the body to fight the disease.

The most commonly used method involves inserting a "therapeutic" gene instead of a "pathological" or "disease-causing" gene.

By introducing new genes into a plant, microorganism, animal organism, or even a human, you can impart a new desirable trait that you have never had before. To this end, genetic engineering is used in many fields today. For example:

  • Medicine
  • Agriculture
  • Cattle breeding

Experts are convinced that genetic engineering is the future of medicine. The ability to save the baby from the lifelong burdens of the disease, to cure people with cancer, and to find a cure for HIV - genetic engineering will stand behind all of this.

All of this seems grandiose and encouraging on the one hand, but raises concerns on the other because genetic manipulation can theoretically not only be used for good and peaceful purposes.

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