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Benefits And Restraints Of Genetic Engineering And The Use Of Recombinant Dna

1303 words - 5 pages

Benefits and Restraints of Genetic Engineering and the Use of Recombinant DNA

Genetic engineering and recombinant DNA have many useful purposes
which benefit humans in many different ways in many different fields.
The latest bio-technological breakthroughs allow the use of
recombinant or 'mixed' DNA to be used more and more and in
increasingly safer conditions. However there are still many problems
and restrictions with using recombinant DNA such as side-effects or
long term changes and the effect a new characteristic will have on its
surrounding environment, be it the human body or a whole environmental
ecosystem.

Whilst genetic engineering has been beneficial in many ways increasing
plant yields or improving human health, the statement, "The use of
recombinant DNA can only benefit humans", can be discussed and in
almost all situations it is found not to be true as discussed below.

Genetic engineering is used frequently in the agricultural industry
for many purposes :-

For resistance to disease such tobacco mosaic viruses or potato
blight. Making plants resistant to such diseases by inserting the
correct resistance gene by genetic engineering means that more of the
crops grown can be sold and so the farmer makes more money, the main
incentive to most industrial processes.

Resistance to the herbicide, glyophosphate can be achieved by genetic
engineering. This means that crops can be sprayed with this herbicide
and weeds will be killed but the crops will remain healthy, thus
saving money and also reducing the need for labour to manually remove
weeds.

Plants can be made to produce an insecticide using the Bacillus
Thuringiensis bacteria which mass produces the required Bt protein,
the coding for which is inserted by genetic engineering using
recombinant DNA. The production of this insecticide means that
chemical insecticides are not required thus reducing expenditure and
not polluting the environment as much. The insecticide also means that
plants will be healthier and therefore produce higher yields.

Plants can also be made to taste better by changing flavour or made to
last longer using different genes, meaning that people will buy them
more.

Crops can be genetically modified so that they will grow in different
conditions for example in hot, arid conditions, meaning that third
world countries can grow crops and have a source of income for
themselves.

However, there are many problems and issues that arise from this use
of recombinant DNA and GM crops:-

Producing herbicide resistant plants encourages the use of
environmentally damaging herbicides ad therefore soil becomes less
fertile and can affect ecosystems as the poisonous chemicals can drain
into rivers and kill fish and plants within rivers. In addition to
this, some weeds may develop a...

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