Methods of Genetic Modification

Genetic modification is considered as a relatively new technology employing a number of methods in order genetic modification methodsto modify an organism’s genetic make-up in order to produce ideal and even better characteristics. This new technology makes use of genes on learning how to modify them in order to bring about change or modification of certain characteristics. Genes in every organism contain the code that controls how we look like, how we behave as well as all the resulting characteristics of every living thing. Whether it be a plant, animal or human, every living thing in this planet has their own set of genes that govern how they come out to be.

It is by learning how to control or modify these genes in plants that scientists are able to produce new breeds of modified plants with somewhat better and more ideal characteristics, if successful. Genetic modification in plants specifically are being developed in several stages. Scientists first try to find and isolate the gene that contains the code for the desired characteristics that they want to transfer to another plant host. This is what scientists call as gene mapping.

Once the scientists are able to identify and isolate the desired gene, they begin copying the said gene in a process known as Polymerase chain reaction or PCR. This technique allows scientists to replicate a small part of the DNA to multiply in number quickly. The replicated genes are then made ready and introduced to the plant host. The process of transferring the isolated gene into the host plant can be done in three different options. One option that scientists can use is by using a so-called “gene cannon”. A bacteria can also be used to transfer the gene to the new plant. The third option is by using a material called a protoplast in introducing the new gene material.

The scientist then is able to create a new plant after introducing the new gene. He or she then checks if the inserted gene is functioning after being transferred into a plant host. The scientists also make sure that the inserted gene material is also being developed by the plants seeds when they are formed. Success is dependent on how the new plant is able to reproduce the newly inserted genes into the next generation of the new breed. Successful gene modification also depends on how the new plant is able to develop the ideal characteristics contained in the code of the inserted gene.

This new method of genetic modification is a departure from the traditional methods that has been in use for decades. Traditional processes used by farmers then in modifying plants to create better breeds have limited scope when it comes to developing better plants. Farmers then do it by cross breeding plants displaying the best characteristics in the hopes that the next generation is able to produce plants that have the ideal characteristics being looked for. But such traditional practices are limited only to cross breeding plants belonging to the same species. In the new methods of genetic modification being employed today, it is now possible to transfer genes from one plant of a different species to another.



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