Q:

Why is genetic engineering important?

A:

Quick Answer

Genetic engineering is important because it provides benefits in the areas of agriculture, production of valuable proteins, production of vaccines and disease-resistant plants. These benefits are often realized with a lower cost, quicker production time and higher production volume than alternative solutions.

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Genetic engineering in agriculture offers crops that have improved nutritional quality, resistance to disease and fewer post-harvest losses. These crops also use the minerals in the soil more efficiently and have better nitrogen fixation, which reduces the exhaustion of the soil's nutrients.

The proteins produced by genetic engineering include human insulin, growth hormone and an antiviral called interferon. Before the production of human insulin, diabetics relied on insulin taken from the pancreas of a pig. Due to the difference in the gene sequencing, some patients had trouble tolerating it. As of 2014, human insulin in the market is available at a cheaper rate than pig insulin. Interferon stimulates immune processes that function to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells.

Genetically engineered vaccines provide safer choices as they don't contain live viruses. These vaccines are produced by copying the DNA of a virus instead using of the method of using weakened forms of live viruses. This eliminates the possibility of accidental infection due to the virus.

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Related Questions

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    Why is the genetic code important?

    A:

    The genetic code is important because it provides instructions for protein synthesis. All organisms on Earth utilize proteins in chemical reactions to facilitate physiological functions. Differences in genetic code result in different proteins, and thus different genetic variations in organisms.

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  • Q:

    What types of vectors are used in genetic engineering?

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    To introduce individual genes into bacteria or eukaryotic cells, the most widely used vector is a plasmid, according to Scitable. Plasmids consist of a circular piece of double-stranded DNA that replicates one or more times during each reproductive cycle of its host cell.

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    What is genetic material?

    A:

    Genetic material is the medium by which instructions are transmitted from one generation of organisms to the next. In life on Earth, it takes the form of nucleotide sequences that are organized into genomes. A genome is all of the DNA contained within the cell of a living being. Each molecule of human DNA has billions of nucleotides arranged like steps on a ladder.

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    What is genetic variation?

    A:

    Genetic variation generally refers to the differences in genes between individual members of a population, or the frequency in which the various gene types are expressed. Genetic variation is incredibly important for the survival and adaptation of a species, as it helps in terms of natural selection and evolution.

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