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Genetic Engineering and Cloning

Genetic Engineering and Cloning

Cloning In today’ world of advanced technology and even faster progress of this technology one has to stop and examine what we have accomplished. How far do we want to go with this technology of genetic engineering, particularly in the field of cloning. Examining genetic engineering and its many possibilities holds great hope for the future. Centrally the issue of cloning has been a hot topic in the media mainly because its has become a technological as well as a medical breakthrough. The possibilities of cloning are innumerable that is, if it works. But the other side of the coin are the ethics of the process. What happens when we master cloning of body parts and venture out to clone humans? Will this clone be someone who has feelings, and mind and a spirit of its own? Will it have a soul? Genetic Engineering, the alteration of an organism's genetic, or hereditary, material to eliminate undesirable characteristics or to produce desirable new ones(Brennan, 57) . Genetic engineering is used to increase plant and animal food production; to diagnose disease, improve medical treatment, and produce vaccines and other useful drugs.(Brennan, 58).

Included in genetic engineering techniques are the selective breeding of plants and animals, and recombinant DNA. The first genetic engineering technique, still used today, was the selective breeding of plants and animals, usually for increased food production. In selective breeding, only those plants or animals with good characteristics are chosen for further breeding. Corn has been selectively bred for increased kernel size and number and for nutritional content. More recently, selective breeding of wheat and rice in an effort called the green revolution has helped supply the world's ever-increasing need for food(Clarke, 1211). This is also another aspect of technology that has improved over the years. Production has proved that we can grow more with less land mass. Cattle and pigs were first domesticated about 8000 years ago and through selective breeding have become main sources of meat for humans. Dogs and horses have also been selectively bred for thousands of years for recreational purposes. Over the past 20 years, genetic engineering has been revolutionized by a new technique known as recombinant DNA, or gene splicing, with which scientists can directly alter genetic material (Encarta, 03).

Genes consist of the chemical deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). In recombinant DNA, the DNA of one organism is joined to the DNA...

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