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Transgenic Species Essay

1131 words - 5 pages

IntroductionA transgenic species refers to an organism whose genome has been deliberately modified by the transfer of one or more genes from another organism. This changes an organism's genetic composition and its physical characteristics artificially, as opposed to through gene mutations and artificial selection. There are a number of methods used to create transgenic species but as transgenic technology is still relatively new, most of these however, are still in a developmental stage. Transgenic technology has enabled scientists to break through the 'species barrier', overcoming limitations or selective breeding. There are many uses for transgenic species, there are a number of ethical concerns with the procedure, limiting its current usage. Transgenic organisms can be created in animals, plants and bacteria, mice are currently the most used species in transgenics due to their short generation time and well defined geneticsMethodThere are a number of different methods for obtaining and transferring genes to create a transgenic organism. The three main methods of creating transgenic organisms are:1. Embryonic stem cell- mediated gene transfer'This method involves prior insertion of the desired DNA sequence by homologous recombination into an in vitro culture of embryonic stem (ES) cells.' Stem cells are undefined and are the basis of the development of all structures within an organism. An advantage of this method is that it allows for a more precise targeting of defined mutations in the gene via homologous recombination.2. DNA microinjectionThis method involves the direct microinjection of one or a number of genes from one organism into another. The gene is injected into the pronucleus of a fertilised ovum. The ovum is inserted into the ovaduct of the female that has been induced to act as a recipient by mating with a vasectomised male. The injection of DNA is a random process and it is likely that the DNA will not insert itself into a location that will enable its characteristic to be evident in the organism.3. Retrovirus-mediated gene transferThis method increases the chance of the gene's characteristic showing up in the organism. It involves the transfer of gene, mediated by a carrier or vector such as a virus or plasmid. Retroviruses are commonly used as they have the ability to infect host cells. Offspring that are created from this method are chimeric . This method, however has a low success rate as the transgenic organisms born have a high fatality rate.There are three methods used for obtaining a specific gene to be transferred into another organism:1. isolating it from chromosomal DNA2. Chemically synthesising it from nucleotide sub-units3. Making a copy of it from a templateUsesThe development of transgenic organisms has a number of uses such as in medical research, the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, agriculture and fish culture. Many of its uses have strict restrictions due to ethical and environmental concerns.Transgenic species...

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