Recombinant DNA technology is expanding constantly and due to this advancement one should consider the fact that it could be affecting occurring mutations in society. This is because RDNA technology influences the altering of genetic material which could result in society's mutations. As technology itself is continuously advancing, one must be aware that defects or mutations in society could increase as the use of recombinant DNA and genetic engineering is increased, especially genetically modified foods.
Recombinant DNA Advantages and disadvantages
Recombinant DNA has revolutionaised the medical field in many ways. It has been able to develop vaccines for diseases such as herpes, influenza, hepatitis and other contagious diseases. RDNA has also managed to produce the drug interferon, which is used to treat lymphoma as well as myelogenous leukemia. It has also allowed scientists to develop artificial human insulin. This is of vital significance to humans suffering from diabetes type1. Previously, insulin, which was purified, was used from animals such as cows or pigs as a replacement of human insulin dosages, but due to this discovery there is no longer a need for this.
Transgenic crops, in the Human Genome Project, were also impacted by recombinant DNA as many of these crops were genetically modified to be insect-resistant without the requirement of herbicides. Some were developed with a resistance to viruses and also could store water easily in order to survive potential threatening weather conditions. Genetic engineered rice containing higher levels of iron and vitamins are also due to Recombinant DNA. This is used in Asian countries where the population is critically malnourished. Banana's that produce vaccines to prevent infections or disease; and cattle that are resistant to mad cow disease are new areas in this development.
Scientists have voiced their opinions about the possible health disadvantages of recombinant DNA in food. The long-term effects are still unknown but there are potential possibilities which remain unjustified.
These issues arise when human genes are inserted into a nonhuman organism that results in that organism becoming partly human. In China, human DNA is being inserted into tomatoes and peppers to increase growth for food production. The main question here is 'would eating these vegetable make you a cannibal'? Problems have risen which questions nature and God, because we are creating a whole new 'natural world' to suit our own benefits and needs. This then raises the debate about man playing God by designing and recombining DNA for ourselves. Many religions are against this technology due to the role of God being questioned. Society is questioning what is actually natural today? Even our foods are being recombined which could possibly harm us in the long-term.
How recombinant DNA is formed.
DNA plasmid from one organism is used to combine a DNA fragment from another organism.
Genetic engineering is the process in which the modification of organisms' traits (genotypic or phonotypical characteristics) is achieved by means of the manipulation of its genetic material.
What is a gene?
A gene is a characteristic or a trait unit that is passed on from parent to offspring. This is seen as hereditary and contains DNA. Most people have 2 copies of each gene; one gene is inherited from the organisms parent cells.
What is DNA?
Deoxyribonucleic acid is commonly known as DNA. A self replicating form of material that is present in all living organisms and makes up the main part of a chromosome. DNA information is stored as a code made up of a base pair and a sugar phosphate. This makes up a double helix. The base pairs are known as adenine that pairs with thymine and cytocine that pairs with guanine. The presence of two base pairs, a sugar and a phosphate eventually forms a strand. This strand is called a chromosome. DNA being self replicating duplicates the pattern of the one strand and forms an exact copy of the old strand. This process is known as Protein Synthesis.
An allele is one of two or more forms of the DNA sequence of a particular gene.
Each gene can have different alleles. Sometimes, different DNA sequences can result in varied characteristics, eg straight hair. Sometimes, different DNA sequences will not have a difference in the trait of a gene.
Dominant and recessive alleles
Genotypic interactions between the two alleles at a locus can be understood as dominant or recessive, depending on which of the two homozygous genotypes the phenotype of the heterozygote resembles most. While the heterozygote is unidentified from one of the homozygotes, the allele involved is said to be dominant to the other, which is said to be recessive to the former.
What is a mutation and how does it occur?
A mutation is a sudden disruption or a change in the genetic makeup of an organism. This change can be harmful to the organism. Mutations can occur in two ways, it can be hereditary called a germline mutation which is one that is passed onto offspring from parent. This type of mutation is present in every cell of the organism. The second type of mutation is a somatic mutation which is a mutation that the organism is not born with but is acquired sometime in their life. Mutations also take the form of a de novo mutation, this is a mutation that occurs in the sex cells of an organism, this occurs after fertilization this can be explained as a genetic disorder but it is not hereditary as it suddenly occurs in the sex cells but has no history from parent.
Recessive genetic disorders include Albinism; Cystic Fibrosis; Galactosemia; Phenylketonuria (PKU) and Tay - Sachs disease.
Other disorders are also due to recessive alleles, but because the gene locus is located on the X chromosome, so that males have only one copy (that is, they are hemizygous), they are more frequent in males than in females. Examples include red-green color blindness and Fragile X syndrome.
Other disorders, such as Huntington disease, occur when an individual inherits only one dominant allele.
Most Common disorders in society:
Baldness- more common in males as testosterone is greater. Can be hereditary; Chinese lack- in one of the rare cases of this type, a beneficial mutation that enables others to eat milk and dairy products. Chinese distaste for milk was thought to be a cultural one, until the 1960s was found in many populations in Eastern and Southeastern Asian, but also some Africans. Within the past 10,000 years, the beneficial mutation spread only where dairy farming was considered normal; Pimples-hereditary; Fertility in women- negative or positive; Heart disease-hereditary, diabetes, stroke, or high blood pressure; Obesity- hereditary; Aggressive behavior in males; Blindness-hereditary- More common in males; Breast cancer; Alcoholism.
Examples of recombinant DNA technology:
'Repligen' is a product for effective iron delivery. Transferrin is a plasma protein responsible for transporting iron to the liver, spleen and bone marrow. The blood's transferrin level can be tested for various reasons; to determine the cause of anemia, to evaluate the iron metabolism (eg lack in iron causes anemia) and to estimate the iron-carrying capacity of the blood. Repligen was made to provide an animal free alternative to enable serum-like or bovine transferrin. Key advantages of recombinant transferrin includes; the increase of cell ability and protein production; manufactured only for cell maintenance; regulatory-compliant and animal-free.
In conclusion, we see that recombinant DNA has no justified reports of resulting in mutations or defects yet but we also can observe this and find our own understanding of it. However, we cannot make assumptions because there is no actual, scientific proof of this. Recombinant DNA, at this point has no scientific relation to mutations thus far but scientists are striving to find justification on this matter.
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