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Genetic Engineering

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Define/ what is Genetic Engineering - Genetic engineering is the deliberate, controlled manipulation of the genes in an organism with the intent of making that organism better in some way. This is usually done independently of the natural reproductive process.

The result is a so-called genetically modified organism (GMO). Example - Bt cotton, Bt Brinjal, etc., cloning of animal

Details of Genetic Engineering

  • The hereditary substance, DNA is what is manipulated by Genetic Engineering
  • DNA contains a complete set of information determining the structure and function of a living organism, be it a bacterium, a plant or a human being. DNA constitutes the genes, which in turn are found in the chromosomes in the cell nucleus.
  • DNA is a very long string of "code words/genetic code", arranged in an orderly sequence. It contains the instructions for creating all the proteins in the body
  • All the various tissues in the body are mainly made of proteins. Likewise all kinds of regulatory substances like enzymes, hormones and signal substances. There are many other proteins like for example different substances protecting from infection like antibodies
  • The properties of a protein are entirely decided by its form, which is decided by the sequence of its building blocks, the amino acids. The set of code words required to describe one protein (AAA,  UAA, AUG)
  • The DNA-protein system is an ingeniously simple and extremely powerful solution for creating all kinds of biological properties and structures.
  • Just by varying the sequence of code words in the DNA, innumerable variations of proteins with very disparate properties can be obtained, sufficient to generate the enormous variety of biological life
  • The difference Between mating and genetic manipulation of genes
    • Through mating  a chromosome from mother and father combined But in genetic engineering a set of foreign genes were introduced in the existing system
    • Genetic engineering special set of genes are derived either from bacteria/ viruses but in normal mating process it will not happen.   
  • Genetic engineering aims to re-arrange the sequence of DNA in gene using artificial methods.
  • The work of a genetic engineer involves extracting the DNA from chromosome of one organism, and subsequently inserting the same sequence it into a different organism.
  • They also study how traits and characteristics are transmitted through the generations, and how genetic disorders are caused. Their research involves researching the causes and discovering potential cures if any
  • Genetic engineering in plants and animals improved certain natural characteristics of value, to increase resistance to disease or damage and to develop new characteristics etc.
  • It is used to change the colour, size, texture etc of plants otherwise known as GM (Genetically Modified) foods. 
  • GE in humans can be to correct severe hereditary defects by introducing normal genes into cells in place of missing or defective ones.
Streams/Branches of Genetic Engineering
  • Genetics
  • Cell biology
  • Recombinant DNA technology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Breeding

The specializations in Genetic Engineering includes the areas like

  • Classical genetics
  • Behavioral genetics
  • Clinical genetics
  • Molecular genetics
  • Genomics
  • Genetic algorithms          

Skill requirement for Genetic Engineering

Concept clarity, basic concepts of biology, active listening, reading comprehension, critical thinking, active learning, complex problem solving,

Career in Genetic Engineering

There is an increasing demand for genetic engineers in India as well as abroad.

  • Genetic engineers are mainly absorbed in medical and pharmaceutical industries, the agricultural sector, and the research and development departments of the government and private sectors.
  • Research in biotech laboratories, energy and environment – related industries, animal husbandry, agriculture and applied fields such as dairy farming and medicine.
  • Exciting work is being undertaken in this field all over the world and newer areas like epigenetics, the study of how environmental factors like diet, stress and maternal nutrition can change gene function without altering the DNA sequence are emerging in a big way.
  • Genetic engineering is that wonderful science which enables the human minds to interfere in and modify the processes of life, birth death and even offers escape from certain congenital diseases.
  • Genetic Engineering involves developing hybrid varieties of plants, making a plant disease resistant by transferring genes from a plant that already has the characteristic.
  • Introducing Genetically Modified foods by changing the colour, size, texture of the produce of plants such as fruits and vegetables. GE in humans can be to correct severe hereditary defects by introducing normal genes into cells in place of missing or defective ones.

Followings are some of the employers in this field:

The National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, the Centre for DNA Fingerprint and Diagnostics, Hyderabad; Biochemical Engineering Research and Process Development Centre, Chandigarh; the Institute of Genomic and Integrative Biology, Delhi, are some of the institutions that appoint genetic engineers and biotech scientists. Various private genetic pharma companies, seed and pesticide producing companies, etc.,

On the Job

  • Genetic engineering covers all various experimental techniques that manipulate the genes of the organism. It uses recombinant DNA, molecular cloning and transformation.
  • At present, it is applied in improving crop technology, manufacturing synthetic human insulin (using modified bacteria), production of erythropoietin, and production of new types of experimental mice for research (such as cancer mouse).
  • It also has the potential of being used in humans by changing their appearance, intelligence, character and adaptability; however, there are ethical concerns and controversies it has to resolve before it can be widely accepted.

Courses

Under Graduate

  • B.E. Genetic Engineering
  • B.Tech. Genetic Engineering

Postgraduate

  • M.E Genetic Engineering
  • M.Tech Genetic Engineering

Diploma

Certificate Course

Colleges

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