The Ability of Humans to Manipulate Dna Is a Mixed Blessing

1175 words 5 pages
The ability of humans to manipulate DNA is a mixed blessing

Genetically modified organisms are made moving the DNA from one species to another. DNA contains genes which code for proteins. For plants and bacteria; restriction enzymes are used to cut a DNA segment from a desired gene source and a bacterium plasmid. They are joined using ligase enzymes and inserted into the plant chromosome or host bacterium. For animals the recombinant DNA is injected into an embryo and transferred to a recipient mother. The organisms will now express a new protein. Proteins determine form and metabolism. Genetic engineering changes the natural DNA of living things, cutting across species boundaries.

Transgene’s effects vary with position. The foreign
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Transgenic chickens are engineered with a bovine growth hormone gene. This unbalances their entire metabolism. The chickens grow at twice their normal rate, but their legs can no longer carry their weight and the animal suffers leg pain and deformities. This also places a huge strain on their hearts and lungs. These chickens often suffer heart failure before they are two months old. Many other die due to infectious diseases caused by intensive breeding and battery caging. Animal lovers are very angry about such mutations induced upon living creatures.

Researchers are genetically engineering disease carrying insects. Destroying their disease potency, or so that their offspring are sterile. Insects are also being genetically engineered to attack crop predators but this may end as badly as species introduction did as testing is done in a closed system and profits tend to outweigh extensive testing.

Potentially our most beneficial, and our most hazardous, modifications are being done on bacteria. Genetically engineered (GE) organisms are being developed to extract minerals from the ores in which they are embedded. Others have been genetically engineered to clean up oil spills, neutralize dangerous pollutants, absorb radioactivity and to transform waste products into ethanol for fuel. These are amazing advancements, but inevitably one of these radical applications will cause an unforseen side effect or the bacteria will mutate into an undesirable strain. Commercial