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Biology and Technology in the Real World

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Luis Marte
Biology and technology in the real world
BIOL 103 Introduction to Biology
Genetically modified organisms
February 7, 2016

Genetic engineering generally refers to the use of tools of modern biotechnology and molecular biology to specifically introduce or alter characteristics or traits in organisms. Scientists can use these tools to introduce new genetic material, or delete existing genetic material to introduce intended new or altered traits or characteristics. Many kinds of GE animals are in development. At this time, the largest class of GE animals is being developed for biopharm purposes—that is, they are intended to produce substances (for example, in their milk) that can be used as human or animal pharmaceuticals. Another group of GE animals are under development for use as sources of scarce cells, tissues, or organs for transplantation into humans (xenotransplant sources). Yet others are intended for use as food and may be disease resistant, or have improved nutritional or growth characteristics. And others include animals that produce high value industrial or consumer products, such as highly specific antimicrobials against human and animal pathogens (e.g., E. coli 0157 or Salmonella). Genetically modified organism (GMO),

genetically modified organism: genetically modified barley [Credit: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images] organism whose genome has been engineered in the laboratory in order to favour the expression of desired physiological traits or the production of desired biological products. In conventional livestock production, crop farming, and even pet breeding, it has long been the practice to breed select individuals of a species in order to produce offspring that have desirable traits. In genetic modification, however, recombinant genetic technologies are employed to produce organisms whose genomes have been precisely altered at the...

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