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Genetic Engineering

Definition
Genetic engineering is defined as the human manipulation of organism genetic material in such a way that does not occur under normal circumstances. Though, it include the use of DNA techniques but does not include the use of traditional animal or plant breeding process. Thus any organism that is generated by this technique is termed as a "Genetically Modified Organism"/ The first organism which was genetically engineered was bacteria in 1973.

Process
In the first step of this multi-stage process, isolation and copy of the desired genetic material is done. Then a construct is built bearing all the genetic elements, which is then inserted into the host organism, either by infection or through a vector, and this process is known as "transformation".

Application of Genetic Engineering


a) Human Application: Genetic engineering has its application in medicinal research, agriculture & industries and it can be used on a wide range of plants, animals & micro organisms. It is being used to study cancer, immune related diseases, obesity, diabetes etc. Also it is a important tool for natural scientist. Genes & other genetic information form a wide range of organisms are converted into bacteria & storage & modification. b) Agricultural Application: The genetic engineering of agricultural crops can increase the agricultural productivity & resistance against various pathogens & parasites. These modified crops would also reduce the usage of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, thereby decreasing the damage caused by chemical.

Concern related to Genetic Engineering


Recently some safety & ethics related concerns are being raised around the world regarding the use of genetically modified food items. Also, issues related to human health implications of eating genetically modified food, particularly about allergic reactions are in new. Apart from this, Gene flow into related non-transgenic crops, effect on beneficial organisms and negative impact in food-chain & biodiversity are some other important matter of concern related to Genetic Engineering.

Importance from the examination point of view: i) Shot Note / Short Essay - Genetic Engineering ii) Human application of genetic engineering. iii) Agricultural benefits of genetic engineering. iv) 1998-PII-Q-3B : What is Genetic Engineering? Examine its application & benefits for human being. What are the various matter of concerns related to its applications recently? v) 2005-M-PII: Short Note - Genetically Modified Seeds. vi) 200-M-PII: How is transgenic plant different from hybrid plant?
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