Introduction to Biology
Mr. James Cox
March 3, 2013
Gene technology is the term given to a range of activities concerned with understanding the expression of genes, taking advantage of natural genetic variation, modifying genes and transferring genes to new hosts. Gene technology sits within the broader area of biotechnology – the use of living things to make or change products. Humans have been using biotechnology for centuries in activities ranging from plant and animal breeding through to brewing and baking. All living things have genes. Genes are coded instructions that determine what an organism will look like and how it will function. A gene is made up of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), a long, thread-like molecule that contains the blueprint for an organism. DNA is found in nearly all cells. In plants and animals it is bundled up into chromosomes. Each cell contains the entire DNA blueprint for that organism. The complete set of genes for an organism is called the genome. The genome for plants and animals is estimated to contain 25 000 to 50 000 genes. Using gene technology, scientists can introduce new characteristics into an organism such as a plant, or enhance existing characteristics or delete characteristics depending on whether they are considered desirable or undesirable. The topic at hand which I chose to explore is genetically modified animals. I chose this topic because these days’ animals are being used and tested for many different reasons and they are being genetically modified whether it be for health, safety, extinction, or even just for experiment.
Several terms are used to describe genetically engineered animals: genetically modified, genetically altered, genetically manipulated, transgenic, and biotechnology-derived, amongst others. In the early stages of genetic engineering, the primary technology used was transgenesis, literally meaning the transfer of genetic...