Applications of Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering brought biotechnology into a new era by providing a powerful tool for manipulating E. coli and other microorganisms for medical, industrial, or research uses (table 9.2). More recently, techniques that permit the genetic engineering of plants and animals have been developed.

Genetically Engineered Bacteria

Genetic engineering relies on DNA cloning, a process that involves isolating the DNA from one organism, using restriction enzymes to cut the DNA into fragments called restriction fragments, and then introducing the fragments into cells of another organism, most commonly E. coli. As part of the process, the cloned DNA must replicate in the recipient cell in order for it to be passed to daughter cells, generating a population of cells that each harbor a copy of the DNA fragment (figure 9.1). Most DNA fragments, however, are unlikely to contain an origin of replication and therefore will not replicate independently in a

Table 9.1 Recombinant DNA Technologies

Technology

Characteristics and Applications

Technique Page Number

Genetic Engineering

Alters an organism's genetic information. Used to produce specific proteins and DNA sequences, study gene function and regulation, and create transgenic plants and animals.

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