Artificial Cloning is the production of an identical copy of a gene or entire animal. Natural cloning is when bacteria undergo binary fission (asexual reproduction) to produce identical offspring. With identical twins one fertilized egg is split into two identical embryos. Cloning is used now on animals but has not been used on humans. There are some ethical issues involved with cloning. There is possible genetic damage to the clone and health risks to the mother. There is also a very low success rate with a loss of large numbers of embryos and fetuses. There can also be complex altered family relationships, physiological damage, and commodification of human life. Benefits cloning stem cells can help build, maintain, and repair the body. Problems can include interfering with your religion, and other ethical issues.
High tech Genetics: Bioformatics and Microarrays
Bioformatics and microarrays are tools used to determine whether or not the DNA from a particular individual contains a mutation in the genes. It is used today to study gene mutations and growth in certain diseases. It also helps doctors to determine what medications to prescribe their patients. Scientists get a mutated blood sample with a control blood sample to closer see the mutations they might have. The DNA sample is next denatured. After being broken down they are dyed two different colors and put into a computer chip and then are hyperozed.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
GMOs are organisms or microorganisms whose genetic makeup has been altered or tampered with to have a piece of DNA from a different organism. They are used today in food such as soy, corn, canola, and also on cotton. It is used in pesticide and herbicide resistance. Most scientists believe that GMOs are safe however ther are still concerns about the chemicals used to modify the organisms and foods. There is concern that they could be very unhealthy for people and cause major health problems. There are some people who want all genetically modified foods to be labeled so they can know what they are eating have the opportunity to chose to eat the modified foods or not. DNA is "stitched together" in labs and make copies of genes and proteins to understand the functions and patterns of the DNA and to make models so scientists can better understand how it works.
Stem Cell Research- Adult vs. Embryonic
Stem Cell research includes adult and embryonic DNA. Embryonic stem cells can be grown very easily with very few to no problems. The same is not for adult stem cells. They are very rare and they have maturing issues. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent and have to potential to become any type of cell in the body used to repair tissues or organs or other cells. Adult stem cells however are only able to change into different types within their tissue organ. Large numbers of these stem cells are needed for stem cell replacement and repair therapies. There are very few clinical trials that have been tested regarding the safety of of transplanting cells derived from hESCS. Adult stem cells and tissues derived from them are not likely to initiate rejection after transplanting the DNA.
Gene Therapy and Genomic Medicine
Gene Therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to prevent or cure different types of harmful diseases. It is used now but is still experimental and not used on many cases. In the future doctors and scientist are hoping to have the ability to use gene therapy in place of drugs and medicine. Scientist replace mutated genes that are sources of diseases with a copy of a gene that is healthy. It is only being used in extreme cases with diseases that don't have any other cures or limited treatment. Patients are concerned with the cost. It is still experimental and can be very costly. There is a concern about it affecting fetuses as well. There is the possibility of it causing genetic mutations and other health problems. A carrier gene called a vector is genetically engineered to deliver a healthy gene to replace the unhealthy gene that is causing diseases or other health problems.
Designer Babies and Bioethics
Designer Babies are genetically modified fetuses. It is modified to have certain traits that the parents pick out. The doctor can find out what physical features will have and if the baby will have any diseases or disordered. Having this knowledge, they can change the features that are undesirable and cure the diseases and disorders before they are born so their child will be healthy and look how they want. There are many ethical issues with this. Many people think that it is unnatural because you are altering what the child was born with. It can interfere with religion because it can take away god given features. In order to achieve designer babies the Mothers eggs are extracted and so is the fathers sperm. The eggs are fertilized in a lab and next the embryo is transferred back into the mothers uterus after the parents have chosen to cure the diseases and disorders and creating their ideal child.
The study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itsleef. It has been associated with various toxic chemicals, airborne pollutants, and pesticides that can be very harmful. These harmful substances can not only harm the individuals exposed but also their generations after them.
DNA Fingerprinting and crime scene investigation
Collecting samples of DNA and using them to match with other samples of DNA used in crime scenes to determine who was involved. Also called genetic fingerprinting. It can also be used in paternity tests. It is currently used in crime scene investigation to identify an attacker or assailant who left behind body fluid or blood when no visual evedince is availiable. It was first used in the 1980s to identify murder suspects. The AFPL technique is a powerful technology used in DNA fingerprinting. It involves selective PCR amplification or restriction fragments of a total digest of genomic DNA obtained with a mix of two restriction enzymes. Two sets of AFPL primers are enough to generate large numbers of primer combinations which have unique fingerprints. To view these you use an automated LI-Cor system. It has been used mostly for figuring out variability among plant cultivars. Fragments may be used as physical markers to determine overlap and positions of genomic clones. DNA fingerprinting can be used to find criminals when they have left no visual evidence but they have left DNA evidence. It is used for solving criminal justice cases. In paternity tests it identifys who the childs true biological parents are.
Personal Ancestry and Paternity Kits
Personal ancestry is using a persons DNA to find where and who they are descenede from. Paternity tests are used to find a persons family using DNA. Both are currently used to find peoples parents and anscestors. Using blood samples or buccal swab samples the test starts by extracting DNA and preparing it for PCR. it amplifies the ammount of DNA extracted. After all the people participating in the tests DNA have been generated DNA looks for matches between them. Personal Ancestry is done very similarly by exctracting DNA and looking for matches among many other samples. Both can be found using the technology in DNA fingerprinting. Benefits; finding out who someones parents are or where and who you came from. These test are not always accurate and some can not be accurate at all and just be trying to get your money if they are not approved
PCR and Gel Electrophoresis
Gel Electrophoresis estimates the size of DNA fragments. It seperates fragments by charge, size, weight, and shape. It is currently used to closer study DNA. An electric current is applied across the gel so one end is positive and one end is negative. The gel has a permeable matrix that molecules can move through when an electric current is applied. Benefits are being able to closer study DNA
Plasmids, Recombinant DNA and Transgenic organisms
Plasmids are genetic structures in a cell that can replicate independently of the chromosomes. They are typically a small circular DNA strand in the cytoplasm of a bacterium or protozoan. Recombinant DNA is DNA that has been artificially formed by combining constituents from other different organisms. Transgenic organisms are genes from ones pieces that can be modified or genes that can be transplanted from one organism to another no matter the species. All of these are used today. Ethical concerns include that anything containing this DNA can be potentially very dangerous. There are many scientist that say they are perfectly safe however some health groups have major concern and think they need more research before used. Benefits include crop advancement, advances in modern medicine and the medical field, the possibility of transgenic animals and other industrial purposes. However there are problems. This could cause destruction of the original native species, recombinant organisms could contaminate the outside world and the natural environment, and disease can also wipe out all of these clones. The technology used is only possible because of the recombinant DNA techno. This is created in labs and the technology does the rest.