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CHAPTER 31 Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. The Techniques of Genetic Engineering Review of Principles Underlying Genetic Engineering.

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CHAPTER 31

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology


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The Techniques of Genetic EngineeringReview of Principles Underlying Genetic Engineering


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  • Much of genetic engineering is based on molecular cloning, in which a double-stranded DNA fragment from any source is recombined with a vector and introduced into a suitable host. Commonly employed cloning vectors include plasmids and bacteriophages.

Biotechnology is the use of living organisms to carry out chemical processes for industrial or commercial application.

  • The techniques of genetic engineering are based on fundamental concepts in molecular genetics and biochemistry (Figure 31.1).


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Successful genetic engineering depends not only on being able to carry out molecular cloning but also on knowledge of replication, transcription, translation, and the regulatory aspects that control all of these processes.


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Hosts for Cloning Vectors able to carry out molecular cloning but also on knowledge of replication, transcription, translation, and the regulatory aspects that control all of these processes.

The choice of a cloning host depends on the final application. In many cases, the host can be a prokaryote, but in others it is essential that the host be a eukaryote (Figure 31.2).


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Any host must be able to take up DNA, and there are a variety of techniques by which this can be accomplished, both natural and artificial. Figure 31.3 shows a nucleic acid gun for transfection of certain eukaryotic cells.


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Finding the Right Clone variety of techniques by which this can be accomplished, both natural and artificial.

Special procedures are needed to detect the foreign gene in the cloning host (Figure 31.4).


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If the gene is expressed, the presence of the foreign protein itself, as detected either by its activity or by reaction with specific antibodies, is evidence that the gene is present. However, if the gene is not expressed, its presence can be detected with a nucleic acid probe.


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Specialized Vectors protein itself, as detected either by its activity or by reaction with specific antibodies, is evidence that the gene is present. However, if the gene is not expressed, its presence can be detected with a

Shuttle vectors allow cloned DNA to be moved between unrelated organisms. A shuttle vector is a cloning vector that can stably replicate in two different organisms.


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Many cloned genes are not expressed efficiently in a new host. Expression vectors have been developed for both prokaryotic and eukaryotic hosts.


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These vectors contain genes that will increase the level of transcription of the cloned gene and make its transcription subject to specific regulation (Figures 31.5, 31.6). Signals to improve the efficiency of translation may also be present in the expression vector.


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Reporter genes transcription of the cloned gene and make its transcription subject to specific regulation ( are incorporated into vectors because they encode proteins that are readily detected. These genes can be used to signal the presence or absence of a particular genetic element or its location. They can also be fused to other genes or to the promoter of other genes so that expression can be studied.


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Expression of Mammalian Genes in Bacteria transcription of the cloned gene and make its transcription subject to specific regulation (

It is possible to achieve very high levels of expression of mammalian genes in prokaryotes. However, the expressed gene must be free of introns.


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One can also use the amino acid sequence of a protein to design and synthesize an oligonucleotide probe that encodes it. This process is in effect reverse translation and is illustrated in Figure 31.9.



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Practical Applications of Genetic Engineering the cloned protein (Production of Insulin: The Beginnings of Commercial Biotechnology


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Other Mammalian Proteins and Products bacteria was human insulin (

Many human proteins that were formerly extremely expensive to produce because they were found in human tissues only in small amounts can now be made in large amounts from the cloned gene in a suitable expression system (Table 31.1).


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Genetically Engineered Vaccines bacteria was human insulin (

Many recombinant vaccines have been produced. These include live recombinant, vector, subunit, and DNA vaccines.


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  • Table 31.2 bacteria was human insulin ( lists some genetically engineered vaccines.


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  • Figure 31.12 bacteria was human insulin ( illustrates production of recombinant vaccinia virus and its use as a recombinant vaccine.


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Genetic Engineering in Animal and Human Genetics bacteria was human insulin (

  • The techniques of genetic engineering are also applied to identifying individuals using DNA fingerprinting.

Genetic engineering can be used to develop transgenic organisms capable of producing proteins of pharmaceutical value.

  • One of the great hopes of genetic engineering is gene therapy, in which functional copies of a gene can be supplied to an individual to treat human genetic disease.



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  • One commonly used cloning vector for plants is the bacteria was human insulin (Ti plasmid of the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The segment of the Ti plasmid DNA that is actually transferred to the plant is called T-DNA. This plasmid can transfer DNA into plant cells.

Genetic engineering is being employed to make plants resistant to disease, to improve product quality, and to use crop plants as a source of recombinant proteins and even vaccines.

  • Commercial plants whose genomes have been modified using in vitro genetic techniques are called genetically modified organisms (GMOs).


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