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Characteristics & Classification
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| Words: 1089 | Submitted: 06-Apr-2011
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DescriptionCharacteristics & Classification
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Certain enzymes can cut pieces of DNA containing a particular gene from one organism, and join them into a gap in the DNA of another organism. This means that the new organism with the inserted genes has the genetic information for one or more new characteristics. For example, the organism might produce a useful substance, or be able to carry out a new function. We say that the organism has been genetically modified.
The animation shows how the method can be used to produce bacteria that produce insulin. This is a human hormone and valuable to people with diabetes. Bacteria reproduce quickly, so a lot of insulin can be made quickly.
There are strong arguments for and against cloning and genetic engineering. It is possible to produce genetically modified animals and plants. Sheep that produce human proteins for treating the symptoms of cystic fibrosis (a disease which causes sufferers to produce abnormally thick and sticky mucus in their lungs, leading to many health problems) have been produced, and even tobacco plants that glow in the dark when they need watering. Some people are excited by the almost limitless possibilities, while some people believe the process is unethical and should be banned. Others are concerned about what might happen in the future.
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