GMOs | Genetics | Biology | FuseSchool


genetically modified organisms or GMOs

have had their DNA artificially modified

by humans using modern genetic

manipulation techniques by changing the


so changing the genome of an organism

means we can change its characteristics

humans have been artificially altering

the genomes of plants and animals for

thousands of years by selective breeding

today with advances in genetic

engineering techniques means we can

speed this process up by incorporating

specific new genes from one species into

a completely unrelated species crops

farm animals and soil bacteria are three

of the most common uses of genetic

engineering to make GMOs the cotton

plant that grows the cotton for your

t-shirt might have been genetically

modified to be pest resistant or the

bacteria modified to produce life-saving

medicines as well as the better known GM

crops that we eat and then there's some

wacky organisms like spider goats and

glow-in-the-dark mice firstly let's find

out how genetic modification happens the

short answer is there are a couple of

different ways there are several

techniques that can be used to modify a

genome but the main one relies on

bacteria bacteria are single-celled

organisms that don't have a nucleus like

our cells but instead have one main

circle of DNA called the circular

chromosome and lots of tiny circles of

DNA called plasmids in GMOs it's all

about the plasmids they are really

useful tiny bits of DNA that can contain

one or several genes the cool thing

about plasmids is that they can be

passed between bacteria as easily as

shaking hands

so plasmids are a super important part

of how to netic modification happens

let's go through the steps using the

human insulin gene as an example

first we cut the gene for human insulin

for a human cell using an enzyme we then

use the same enzyme to cut the circular

bacterial plasmid open and stick the

insulin gene and the plasmid together

then we put the modified plasmid back

into a bacterial cell and we wait but

not for too long as bacterial cells

divide roughly once every 30 minutes and

a little while later we have millions of

bacteria producing the human insulin

protein and excreting it the human

insulin is filtered out and purified and

can then be used by people with diabetes

how simple is that for saving lives

spider goats are also a great example of

a genetically modified organism they

aren't as scary as they sound

their goats have had the spider silk

gene inserted into their DNA so when

female goats lactate

reduced breast milk the milk contains

spider silk the spider silk is pretty

incredible it's as strong as steel but

so light their strand long enough to

circle the earth would weigh less than

500 grams so there are thousands of uses

for such a unique material scientists

have used genetic modification to

introduce genes that glow under UV light

such as from jellyfish into other

animals for medical research

this may seem totally useless but

actually being able to see certain cells

in the dark has led to a lot of

scientific discoveries glow-in-the-dark

mice and fish have helped scientists

make new breakthrough research into

treating cancer Parkinson's and spinal

cord injuries and glow-in-the-dark cats

have been used for HIV research crops

can also be genetically modified to make

them more pest resistant to have a

nutritional benefit like additional

vitamin A

to learn about GM crops watch this video

so there we have genetically modified

organisms that have had their DNA

modified some different uses

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