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Flashcards in Genetic Engineering Deck (18):

What does genetic engineering use to cut and paste genes?



What is the 'basic idea' of genetic engineering?

To copy a USEFUL GENE from one organism's chromosomes into the cells of another


What are the 2 steps to cutting and copying a gene?

1. A useful gene is 'cut' from one organism's chromosome using ENZYMES

2. Enzymes are then used to CUT another organism's chromosome and then to INSERT the useful gene


Name a use of genetic engineering

The human insulin gene can be inserted into BACTERIA to produce HUMAN INSULIN for people with DIABETES


Describe the 4 steps of producing human insulin

1. Enzymes cut the insulin gene out of the human chromosome

2. Enzymes used to cut the DNA of bacteria, and then the insulin gene inserted into the DNA

3. The bacteria then grown like mad

4. The insulin is produced and PURIFIED and used by people with DIABETES


What can the same method be used to do?

Transfer useful genes into ANIMALS and PLANTS at the VERY EARLY STAGES of their development (i.e. shortly after FERTILISATION). This means they'll develop USEFUL CHARACTERISTICS


Name 2 examples of genetic engineering in plants and animals

1. GM crops

2. Sheep


How have GM crops been genetically modified?

To make them resistant to VIRUSES, INSECTS, or HERBICIDES


How have certain sheep been genetically engineered? Why?

To produce substances, like DRUGS, in their MILK that can be used to treat HUMAN DISEASES


Describe and give an example of 'gene therapy'

1. Scientists trying to treat genetic disorders by inserting WORKING GENES into sufferers

2. Treating cystic fibrosis


Why could genetic engineering be described as a good thing? (2)

1. It's an exciting and new area of science

2. Has the POTENTIAL for SOLVING many of our problems (e.g. treat diseases, more efficient food production etc)


Why is genetic engineering a controversial topic?

1. Worries about the LONG TERM EFFECTS

That changing a person's genes might ACCIDENTALLY create unplanned PROBLEMS, which could get passed onto FUTURE GENERATIONS


What are 3 pros of GM crops?

1. Can INCREASE the YIELD of a crop - making more food

2. Engineering food to contain NUTRIENTS that are MISSING from the diets of people in developing countries

3. Already being grown elsewhere in the world (not UK) often WITHOUT any PROBLEMS


Name an example of a GM crop being tested containing nutrients and what it's for

'Golden Rice'

Contains beta-carotene - lack of this substance causes BLINDNESS


What are 3 cons of GM crops?

1. Could effect number of WEEDS and FLOWERS (and so population of INSECTS) that live in and around the crops - reducing farmland BIODIVERSITY

2. Could not be SAFE. Possible risk of developing ALLERGIES - though no more so than for eating usual foods

3. Transplanted genes may get out into NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.


Give an example of a transplanted gene that could get out into the natural environment

The HERBICIDE RESISTANT gene may be picked up be weeds, creating a new 'SUPERWEED' variety


At the end of the day, it's down to the ____ to weigh up all the ____ for the pros and cons before ____ ____ ____ on how this scientific knowledge is ____ .

At the end of the day, it's down to the GOVERNMENT to weigh up all the EVIDENCE for the pros and cons before MAKE A DECISION on how this scientific knowledge is USED .


All that scientists can do is make sure the Government has all the ____ that it needs to ____ ____ ____ of what to do with their knowledge of GM crops

All that scientists can do is make sure the Government has all the INFORMATION that it needs to MAKE THE DECISION of what to do with their knowledge of GM crops