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Genetic Engineering We find it mixed in our food on the shelves in the supermarket genetically engineered soybeans and maize We find it growing in a plot down the lane test field release sites with genetically engineered grape seed sugar beet wheat potato strawberries and more There has been no warning and no consultation It is variously known as genetic engineering genetic modification or genetic manipulation All three terms mean the same thing the reshuffling of genes usually from one species to another Existing examples include from fish to tomato or from human to pig Genetic engineering GE comes under the broad heading of biotechnology But how does it work If you want to understand genetic engineering it is best to start with some basic biology What is a cell A cell is the smallest living unit the basic structural and functional unit of all living matter whether that is a plant an animal or a fungus Some organisms such as amoebae bacteria some algae and fungi are single-celled - the entire organism is contained in just one cell Humans are quite different and are made up of approximately 3000000000000 cells Cells can take many shapes depending on their function but most commonly they will look like a brick with rounded corners or an angular blob such as a building block Cells are stacked together to make up tissues organs or structures In an organism cells depend on each other to perform various functions and tasks some cells will produce enzymes and others will store sugars or fat Different cells again will build the skeleton or be in charge of communication like nerve cells others are there for defence such as white blood cells or stinging cells in jelly fish and plants In order to be a fully functional part of the whole most cells have got the same information and resources and the same basic equipment A cell belonging
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