genetic engineering

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ge·net·ic en·gi·neer·ing

internal manipulation of basic genetic material of an organism to modify biologic heredity or to produce peptides of high purity, such as hormones or antigens.

genetic engineering

Scientific alteration of the structure of genetic material in a living organism. It involves the production and use of recombinant DNA and has been employed to create bacteria that synthesize insulin and other human proteins.

genetic engineer n.


Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.

Biotech tools
Recombinant DNA, monoclonal antibody and bioprocessing techniques, cell fusion.
Biotech products
Antibiotics, insulin, interferons, recombinant DNA, and techniques (e.g., waste recycling).
Ancient forms of biotechnology
Production of bread, cheese, wine, beer.

genetic engineering

Biological engineering, genetic modification, recombinant DNA technology Molecular biology The manipulation of a living genome by introducing or eliminating specific genes through recombinant DNA techniques, which may result in a new capability–eg production of different substances or new functions, gene repair or replacement

genetic engineering

The deliberate alteration, for practical purposes, of the GENOME of a cell so as to change its hereditable characteristics. This is done mainly by recombinant DNA techniques using gene copies obtained by the POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION. Enzymes (restriction enzymes) are used to cut the nucleic acid molecule at determinable positions and short lengths of DNA from another organism are inserted. The second cell will now contain genes for the property or characteristic borrowed from the first cell. The genes might, for instance, code for the production of a useful protein such as insulin or some food material. Bacteria, yeasts and other organisms are used as the hosts for the new gene sequences and these organisms can be cloned in enormous numbers to produce the desired effects, or substances, for which the new genes code. Well over 100 valuable drugs and vaccines have been produced in this way, including human insulin, growth hormone, interferons, hepatitis vaccine, digoxin monoclonal antibody, orthoclonal OK3, somatotropin, TISSUE PLASMINOGEN ACTIVATOR (TPA), erythropoietin, granulocyte MACROPHAGE colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and Factor VIII. Cloned copies of the genes for many genetic diseases have been made available for use as probes for the identification of the disease by AMNIOCENTESIS, before birth. The possibility also arises of correcting genetic defects in early embryos. Genetic engineering offers almost unlimited possibilities for the advancement of medicine, science and technology, but strict control is also necessary if the many manifest dangers are to be avoided.

genetic engineering

a broad term for all those processes that result in the directed modification of the genetic complement of an organism. The term applies to a wide range of genetical techniques, for example, plant and animal breeding to improve physiological performance by SELECTION, and GENE CLONING techniques for the deliberate transfer of genetic material from one organism to another where it is not normally found. For example, a gene can be removed from human cells and transferred to microbial cells (using BACTERIOPHAGE or PLASMID vectors) where the ‘foreign’ gene can direct the formation of useful products. There are many applications of genetic engineering in industry, agriculture and medicine. In industry a range of recombinant proteins has been obtained, for example INSULIN, INTERFERON and HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE. Genetic engineering is also being used in the development of VACCINES, novel plant varieties etc. See also TRANSGENESIS, PROTEIN ENGINEERING.

Genetic engineering

The manipulation of genetic material to produce specific results in an organism.
Mentioned in: Gene Therapy
References in periodicals archive ?
The problem with eating genetically-modified food is that we are ignorant of its possible harm.
"Somebody, somewhere has to stand up against bio-technology companies forcing genetically-modified crops on to the public."
- an authorisation procedure for market release of genetically-modified food and feed is established; under the procedure adopted, the authorisation request must be submitted to the relevant Member State authority.
The new Regulation for genetically-modified food and feed introduces a labelling requirement for all food and feed produced from genetically-engineered material, whether or not the final product contains DNA or proteins derived from GMOs.
EuroCommerce has urged the European Commission and European food manufacturers to take account of these considerations in the context of rapid action to complete Regulation 1139/98/EC on the labelling of genetically-modified foods and food ingredients, and extend the provision to food additives and flavourings.
-- Regulation 1139/98/EC on the labelling of foodstuffs containing genetically-modified soya and maize was adopted on May 26, 1998.
Eurocommerce supports the maintenance of a separation between GMO-free and genetically-modified crops as this ensures transparency along the food supply chain and facilitates the provision of complete and accurate information on the origin of products.
- genetically-modified soya beans (Glycine max L.) covered by the authorisation announced on April 3, 1996 (EC Decision 96/281)
- genetically-modified maize (Zea Mays L.) covered by the Decision of January 23, 1997 (97/98/EC).

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