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Genetic engineering and cloning: Blessing or curse?. Scientific information Caro: Genetic engineering Kathi: Cloning Indra: Stem cells. Genetic engineering. General information Process of ge Applications Research Human ge. General information. Direct manipulation of genes

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genetic engineering and cloning blessing or curse

Genetic engineering and cloning: Blessing or curse?

Scientific information

Caro: Genetic engineering

Kathi: Cloning

Indra: Stem cells

genetic engineering
Genetic engineering
  • General information
  • Process of ge
  • Applications
  • Research
  • Human ge
general information
General information
  • Direct manipulation of genes
  • Changes structure / characteristics of genes
  • Different from all previous techniques

- Applied quite successfully

process of genetic engineering
Process of genetic engineering
  • Isolation of the genes of interest
  • Insertion of the genes into a transfer vector
  • Transfer of the vector to the organism to be modified
  • Transformation of the cells of the organism (GMO)
  • Separation of the GMO from those that have not been successfully modified

- Synthetic human insulin

  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Food and vegetables
  • Loss of function experiments
  • Gain of function experiments
  • Tracking experiments
  • Expression studies
human genetic engineering
Human genetic engineering
  • Individual genetic engineering
  • Germ-line genetic engineering

 Infertile women

  • Definition
  • Molecular cloning
  • Cellular cloning
  • Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)
  • Organism cloning


a) Biology: Producing a population of genetically-identical individuals.

Examples: bacteria, insects, plants, which are asexual

b) Biotechnology:

1) molecular cloning

2) cellular cloning

molecular cloning
Molecular cloning

- Process of making multiple copies of a defined DNA sequence

 amplify DNA fragments containing whole genes or DNA sequences such as promoters and randomly fragmented DNA


- biological experiments

- practical applications: genetic fingerprints, protein production

  • Isolation of sequence

 sequence has to be capable of directing the propagation of itself and any linked sequences

- specialised cloning vectors have to exist that allow manipulations such as protein expression and tagging

the four steps of cloning
The four steps of cloning

1. Fragmentation: breaking off a strand of DNA

2. ligation: gluing together pieces of DNA in a desired sequence

3. transfection: inserting the new pieces of DNA into cells

4. screening/selection: selecting out the manipulated cells

success rate
Success rate

- particularly low efficiency

 need of identification procedures

Identification of successfully manipulated cells

- DNA fragment contains an antibiotic resistance marker

- Cloning vectors contain colour selection markers which provide blue/white screening

cellular cloning
Cellular cloning

- Process of deriving a population of cells from a single cell

- clone distinct lineages of cell

a) Unicellular organisms (bacteria, yeast): Cell inoculation of an appropriate medium

 simple and efficient

b) Multi-cellular organisms: Cells will not readily grow in standard media

 arduous and difficult

tissue culture technique cloning rings
Tissue culture technique – Cloning rings
  • Using cloning rings

- Single-cell suspension of cells are exposed to a mutagenic agent or drug

  • selection takes place

- sterile cloning rings are placed over an individual colony and trypsin is added

 Cloned cells are collected from inside the ring and transferred to a new vessel for further growth

somatic cell nuclear transfer scnt and its usage
Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) and its usage

- technique used to create clonal embryos

  • Nucleus took from a donor adult cell (somatic cell) and inserted into an egg cell, where the nucleus has been removed  meiosis leads to cloning

- while clonal human blastocyst has been created, stem cell lines are isolated


- cloned embryos are used in research

  • mostly used in stem cell research

- aim: to study human development and potentionally treat diseases

organism cloning
Organism cloning

- procedure to create a new multicellular organism, where all parts are genetically identical to each other

- asexual method of reproduction

- fertilization and inter-gamete contact does not occur

- Asexual reproduction is a natural phenomenon ( many plants, some insects)

stem cells the hope and the hype by nancy gibbs time 2006
Stem Cells: The Hope And The Hype By Nancy Gibbs (Time, 2006)
  • Hope
  • Politics and opinions
  • Ethical frontiers
  • Problems
  • Solutions
  • Adult stem cells
  • Nuclear-transfer embryos
  • Umbilical-cord cells
politics and opinions
Politics and opinions
  • Bush vetoed bill that would have expanded funding for human ESC (embryonic-stem-cell) research
  • science is in its infancy


- scientists can't destroy life in order to save it

- promise of embryo research has been oversold

  • not just immoral but also unnecessary
politics and opinions21
Politics and opinions


- eight-cell embryo doesn't count as human life (not when compared with the life it could help save)

- cures can be derived from adult stem cells from bone marrow and umbilical cords

- adult stem cells are still of limited use - leftover fertility-clinic embryos that would otherwise be thrown away

- adult- and embryonic stem cells are needed to solve medical problems

- Stem cell research is today a public spectacle in which data wrestle dogma

ethical frontiers
Ethical frontiers

- science is dense and the values tangled

- adult-stem-cell research is morally fine but clinically limiting

  • embryonic cells possess the power to replicate indefinitely
  • Researchers extract knowledge from embryos that would otherwise be wasted but a much larger supply of fresh, healthy embryos than fertility clinics could ever provide is needed – less support from people
the red tape slowed the science
The red tape slowed the science

- Bush (prime-time speech, 2001): federal money to ESC lines – no new lines

- states support labs while private biotech firms are free to create (no regulations)

- scientists who work with the approved “presidential” lines are in frustration

- can't do what newer cell lines can do

- presidential lines are wasting money as well as time

- Even if Bush hadn't vetoed the bill, it wouldn't have solved the supply problems – embryos of infertile couples tend to be weaker


- in wake of Bush's original order, Harvard decided to use private funding to create 100 new cell lines – diversity is needed

- new technique: develop new cell lines through somatic cell nuclear transfer (therapeutic cloning)

  • cells would match the patient's DNA
  • another technique: yield embryos that serve as the perfect disease in a dish, revealing how a disease unfolds from the very first hours

- no real success


- scientists are searching for another source of cells that is less ethically troublesome - gene is removed before cell is fused with egg

 critics

- Method: taking an adult skin cell, exposing it to four growth factors in a petri dish and transforming it into an embryo-like entity that could produce stem cells

- biotech industry is closest to human trials

the risk on the new frontier
The risk on the new frontier

- patient safety

- regulators want data on how the cells will behave in the human body

- stem cells have a talent from turning into tumors

adult stem cells
Adult stem cells

- cord-blood cells have a lot of promise for tissue repair and regeneration – it will take 10 to 20 years

- scientists could transform adult stem cells from fat tissue into smooth-muscle cells, which assist in the function of numerous organs

- ability to self-renew - theoretically immortal and can continue to divide forever if provided with enough nutrients


- exist in many major tissues, including the blood, skin and brain

- can be coaxed to produce more cells of a specific lineage and do not have to be extracted from embryos

- can generate only a limited number of cell types

- difficult to grow in culture

nuclear transfer embryos
Nuclear-transfer embryos
  • stem cells can be custom-made by inserting a patient's skin cell into a hollowed human egg

- process has not yet been successfully completed with human cells

- requires an enormous amount of fresh human eggs

umbilical cord cells
Umbilical-cord cells

- made up of blood stem cells

- contain stem cells that can turn into bone, cartilage, heart muscle, brain and liver tissue

- harvested without the need for embryos

- not very long and doesn't hold enough cells to treat an adult