Gene Technology

1392 words 6 pages
Week 8 Assignment 2: Gene Technology Introduction to Biology Mr. James Cox March 3, 2013

Gene technology is the term given to a range of activities concerned with understanding the expression of genes, taking advantage of natural genetic variation, modifying genes and transferring genes to new hosts. Gene technology sits within the broader area of biotechnology – the use of living things to make or change products. Humans have been using biotechnology for centuries in activities ranging from plant and animal breeding through to brewing and baking. All living things have genes. Genes are coded instructions that determine what an organism will look like and how it will function. A gene is made up of DNA
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This is because all genes, be they human, plant, animal or bacterial are created from the same material. Genetic scientists therefore have a huge amount of genetic characteristics to choose from. There are three basic methods that are used to genetically modify animals which are DNA microinjection. Retrovirus-mediated gee transfer, and embryonic stem cell-mediated gene transfer. The mouse was the first animal to undergo successful gene transfer using DNA microinjection. This method involves transfer of a desired gene construct (of a single gene or a combination of genes that are recombined and then cloned) from another member of the same species or from a different species into the pronucleus of a reproductive cell. It also includes the manipulated cell, which first must be cultured in vitro (in a lab, not in a live animal) to develop to a specific embryonic phase, and is then transferred to the recipient female. A retrovirus is a virus that carries its genetic material in the form of RNA rather than DNA. With this method, retroviruses are used as vectors to transfer genetic material into the host cell, resulting in a chimera, an organism consisting of tissues or parts of diverse genetic constitution. Chimeras are inbred for as many as 20 generations until homozygous (carrying the desired transgene in every cell) transgenic offspring are born. The embryonic stem cell-mediated gene transfer is the


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