What is Genetic Engineering

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  • Genetic engineering or modification (GM) enables scientists to create plants, animals and micro-organisms by manipulating genes in a way that can not occur naturally.
  • Genetic modification through selective breeding and recombinant DNA techniques in some ways resemble each other, but there are important differences :
    - i) Genetic modification using recombinant DNA techniques allows to move single genes whose functions we know from one organism to any other
    - ii) In selective breeding, large sets f genes of unknown function are transferred between related organisms.
  • Today recombinant DNA techniques are used, in conjunction with molecular cloning, to:
    a) produce new medicines and safer vaccines
    b) treat genetic diseases
    c) control viral diseases
    d) inhibit inflammation
    e) enhance bio control agents in agriculture
    f) increase agricultural yields and decrease production costs
    g) decrease allergy-producing characteristics of some foods
    h) slow food spoilage
    i) improve food’s nutritional value
    j) develop biodegradable plastics and
    k) decrease water and air pollution.
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