Genetic Engineering: Main Fields

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Genetic Engineering        

Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of genes for practical purposes. It is a very controversial topic. It shows much potential to help, but it also puts us on the brink of disaster. Two fields that genetic engineering has been successful in are agriculture and medicine. In agriculture, increased production and pest resistance are helping millions, if not billions of people. In medicine, safer ways of mass producing insulin and human growth hormones are causing a great deal of change.       

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 The first field that genetic engineering has been successful in is agriculture. In agriculture, genetic engineering has allowed us to increase food production and create a greater pest resistance. Increasing the production of rice in salty waters can help feed more people than ever before. With an estimated 1 billion people facing malnutrition, genetically modifying crops to create a bigger yield is necessary (Reece 239). This is important for an ever-increasing world population. Increasing productivity in sea water is done by inserting a salinity resistant gene into rice, allowing it to grow in water up to three times saltier than sea water. This increased food production will help fight malnutrition in countries across the world. Creating a greater pest resistance is very important to farmers all around the world. Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt for short, is a more modern solution to pest control. Bt occurs naturally in soil and it produces proteins that can kill certain insects. Scientists have taken this naturally occurring bacterium and developed insect-protected crops. These protected crops help farmers protect their fields from insect damage and destruction. When an insect consumes the genetically modified plant, it will die. The benefit of Bt is that it can target certain insects. Because of this Bt is not harmful to humans, other mammals, birds, fish, or beneficial insects (Insect Resistance). The benefit of this is increased crop production. With modern technology, scientists have invented two new ways of genetically engineering agriculture and they are changing the world.        

The second field that genetic engineering has been successful in is Medicine. In medicine, genetic engineering has allowed us to mass produce insulin and the human growth hormone. In the united states alone, nearly two million people with diabetes depend on insulin treatment. Before 1982, this meant that they were getting their insulin from pigs and cattle. Insulin extracted is genetically similar but not the same. For some people, it caused harmful side effects. But after 1982, Humulin (Human Insulin) was produced. This genetically engineered product is made by developing bacteria that synthesizes and secretes the human form of insulin. No longer do people have the harmful side effects from the cattle and pigs. Humulin became the first recombinant DNA drug approved be the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Reece 238).

This genetically modified medicine benefits people with diabetes greatly. They have more availability to insulin and the new insulin is safer than that of pigs and cattle. The Human Growth Hormones are a blessing for children suffering from dwarfism because of an inadequate amount of the human growth hormone. Growth hormones from other animals do not work for humans. Historically, children with Human Growth Hormone deficiency had to rely on scarce supplies from human cadavers or else face dwarfism (Reece 238).

In 1985, molecular biologists created an artificial gene for Human Growth Hormone by joining a chemically synthesized piece of DNA with a human DNA fragment. By using this new gene, they created Human Growth Hormone in E. coli. This is now widely used in the world. This genetically modified medicine can help people suffering from dwarfism look more normal. One form of genetic engineering is gene therapy. There is one major societal concern involving gene therapy. That concern being what happens if the new gene attaches to the wrong part of the body? Anything could happen to the person if that event ever occurs. They could be fixed, or they could die in the following minutes or hours. That one gene could cause a functioning body to shut down. Another societal concern is whether the product they are consuming is safe. Because the genetically modified food was able to kill certain insects while in the field, people know it must contain harmful chemicals.

Genetic engineering of all kinds should be performed if they could save or improve someone’s life. If the risk is high, it should be left up to the patient to determine whether they want the genetic engineering to be performed. In the agricultural aspect, the product is safe, and more is produced. Genetic engineering will help eliminate world hunger. In the medical aspect, the insulin and Humulin is helping millions of people. Genetic engineering is a controversial concept but in the end it does more good than harm. People are finally able to live normal lives because of medical genetic engineering. Agricultural genetic engineering is helping the world produce more food with less farmland. More food means that less people will have malnutrition. Though the dangers can be great, genetic engineering is worth the worlds time and effort.

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Genetic Engineering: Main Fields. (2020, Jan 10). Retrieved November 27, 2022 , from
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