Genetic Engineering History



You would think that Genetic Engineering began recently, but it dates back to the 1800\'s with Charles Darwiní s Theory of Evolution. His theory includes the five points of natural selection:


1. Variation in Populations


Many variations are inherited from parents to their offspring.


2. Some Variations are Favorable


Variations are favorable when they improve the organism\'s ability to function and reproduce in its own particular environment.


3. More Offspring than can Survive


Disease, starvation, or killed by a predator.


4. Those Who Survive and Reproduce are More Favorable


Those who survive and reproduce are more favorable.


5. Over Time Changes Occur, Populations Change


Organisms Evolve


Also in the 1800\'s, an Austrian biologist named Gregor Mendel discovered that there are two sets of chromosomes in each gene. In the chromosomes are the materials for inheritance. He also discovered that there are dominant and recessive genes. This became known as Mendelian Law and became the basis for modern genetics.


In 1953, James Watson, an American scientist, and an English Physicist named Francis Crick, discovered that DNA was shaped like a double helix, and won the Noble Prize in 1962 for their work


1966 ‑ Genetic Code is cracked, now scientists can read the blueprints of all organisms


1977‑ First Genetic Engineering Company, Genetech, manufactured medically important drugs


1981 ‑ Researchers create the first transgenic animal, scientists inserted a human viral gene into a mouse\'s DNA. Human diseases can now be studied in animals.


1984 ‑ Kary Mullis invents polymerase chain reaction.This was a new method for sequencing DNA, which speeds up genetic research. With this discovery came the technology to use DNA as a "fingerprint" in criminal investigations. Criminals were being identified by DNA samples.


February, 1997 ‑ at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, Ian Wilmut clone a sheep, Dolly. Other animals had been cloned before Dolly, but were cloned by taking cells from embryos, but Dolly was cloned from DNA.from mammary cells. Dolly was not an offspring, but a carbon copy.


March, 1997 ‑ 2 Monkeys were cloned in Beavorton, Oregon


"Recombinant DNA technology [genetic engineering] faces our society with problems unprecedented not only in the history of science, but of life on the Earth. It places in human hands the capacity to redesign living organisms, the products of some three billion years of evolution.... It presents probably the largest ethical problem that science has ever had to face. Our morality up to now has been to go ahead without restriction to learn all that we can about nature. Restructuring nature was not part of the bargain.... For going ahead in this direction may be not only unwise but dangerous. Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics."


‑George Wald, Nobel Prize winning biologist and Harvard Professor, 1976


Antibiotic selection is when antibiotics are used to get rid of bacteria that do not the express the gene needed, and keep the bacteria that does. Genetic Engineering is basically the manipulation of an organism\'s genetic make‑up by giving or taking specific genes through modern molecular biology techniques. A broad definition of genetic engineering also includes selective breeding and other means of artificial selection. Arabinose ‑ a simple sugar found in many plants and used as a food for bacteria. It is also used to open the lock on certain plasmids in order to express certain genes. A plasmid is just a circular piece of DNA found in single celled organisms such as bacteria. In order to grow bacteria we need to use agar which is a jell‑o‑like substance which provides nutrients for bacterial growth.