Benefits Of Genetic Engineering

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Old 01-Jul-2012
Benefits Of Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering, a specialized branch of science, deals with the alteration and improvement of the genome of organisms, with the help of sophisticated technology. The advent of genetic engineering has brought about a great revolution in the field of life sciences and medication. However, there are certain concomitant social hazards, which have led to controversies on the application of this field. In medical journals, one can witness reports regarding major breakthroughs in the field, almost on a regular basis. Of late, scientists have successfully cloned mammals as well as crops and are now exploring new horizons regarding the application of genetic engineering in other fields. This field has offered a great insight in the structure of the DNA and has been used with great effect in medicine, pharmacology, reproductive technology and several other fields. It is true that genetic engineering holds the key in curing many fatal diseases, which, till date, have claimed many lives. But it has also been said that, an unrestrained, unmonitored practice of this scientific invention can pose great threat to human society. Scroll down to learn more about the benefits of genetic engineering.

Advantages Of Genetic Engineering
  • Production of insulin was one of the foremost endeavors in the field of genetic engineering, applicable to human beings. Insulin, which is extremely crucial in the treatment of diabetes, can be produced through genetic engineering. Previously, insulin extracted from the pigs was used, which constitutes of dissimilar amino acid sequences as compared to humans.
  • Interferon, an antiviral agent, secreted by human cells to combat virus attacks can also be produced genetically. Nowadays, a lot of genetically engineered interferon is being used.
  • Gene therapy is one of the major benefits of genetic engineering. In gene therapy, diseases are cured by repairing or replacing faulty human genes or introducing therapeutic genes to combat the disease. Nowadays, gene therapy has been used to treat few autoimmune and heart diseases. Scientists are striving hard to devise ways to cure certain human diseases, such as Huntington's disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and cystic fibrosis which are caused by faulty genes, through genetic therapy.
  • Genetic engineering has also played a key role in the production of a whole new lot of sophisticated pharmaceutical products. These new pharmaceuticals are created by cloning certain genes.
  • Human growth hormone, a peptide, can now be extracted from genetically manufactured bacteria. It can be used to treat those suffering from dwarfism. These genetically manufactured human growth hormones are extremely efficacious in the treatment of skin burns, bone fractures as well as ulcers in the digestive tract.
  • Genetic engineering has also been effectively used for creating genetically modified crops. Some of the most commonly found genetically modified crops are soybeans, corn, cotton, seed oil, etc. These crops are resilient to attacks by insects or any other herbicides. Mass production of fungal and virus resistant food is also one of the benefits of some recent developments in genetic engineering. A whole new generation of genetically sophisticated crops are being manufactured which can combat cold or drought and possess far greater nutritional values as compared to their preceding generations. However, such genetically modified foods can pose great threats on the environment.
  • Genetic engineering is also being used in biological factories that produce proteins and enzymes in abundance. This particular field of science is used in the production of innumerable vaccines and supplements such as tryptophan, and is also used to produce fuels. Major labs around the world are conducting research on the production of genetically modified bacteria, which can be used for cleaning up oil spills, carbon and industrial waste and other stuff that is harmful for the environment.
  • An inspection of the fetuses of pregnant women has been beneficial in encountering possible genetic anomalies, facilitated by genetic engineering. Now, parents and physicians can be prepared to counter and eradicate health hazards of children even before they are born. Researches have been conducted in gene therapy for embryos before they are implanted into the mother through in-vitro fertilization.
  • Genetic engineering finds application in the field of material science as well. Researchers are creating genetically altered virus which can be used to manufacture ecofriendly lithium-ion battery. With the help of sophisticated technology, bacteria are being modified genetically to be used in the creation of black and white photographs. Genetically modified bacteria can also be used as sensors, which can exude a fluorescent protein under certain environmental conditions. The field of genetic engineering is also involved in Bio-Art and production of novelty items such as blue roses and glowing fish etc.
Genetic engineering has bestowed human beings certain godly powers which can be used either way. While scientists can now use this mighty tool for the welfare of the entire human race; in wrong hands the same tool can also bring about a great plunder. Thatís why strict regulations have been imposed by the governments on the research and development in the field of genetic engineering.

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