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GeneticsThe Beginning or the End By jrider E-mail jackriderhotmailcom GENETIC ENGINEERING career of the future Genetic engineering is an umbrella term that can cover a wide range of ways of changing the genetic material -- the DNA code -- in a living organism This code contains all the information stored in a long chain chemical molecule which determines the nature of the organism Apart from identical twins genetic make-up is unique to each individual Individual genes are particular sections of this chain spaced out along it which determine the characteristics and functions of our body Defects of individual genes can cause a malfunction in the metabolism of the body and are the roots of many genetic diseases In a sense man has been using genetic engineering for thousands of years We werent changing DNA molecules directly but we were guiding the selection of genes For example the domestication of plants and animals Recombinant DNA technology is the newest form of genetic engineering which involves the manipulation of DNA on the molecular level This is a totally new process based on the science of molecular biology a relatively new science only forty years old It represents a major increase in our ability to improve life But a negative aspect is that it changes the forms of life we know of possibly damaging our environment It has been known for some time that genetic information can be transferred between micro-organisms This is process it done via plasmids small circular rings of DNA or phages bacterial viruses Both of these are termed vectors this is because of their ability to move genetic material In general this is limited to simpler species of bacteria nevertheless this can restriction can be overcome with the use of genetic engineering because it allows the introduction of any gene While genetic engineering is beginning to be used to produce enzymes the technology itself also depends on the harnessing of
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