Our Health and Genetically Modified Organisms

Essay by dustymonkey17High School, 12th gradeA+, March 2008

download word file, 6 pages 4.0

A genetically modified organism is "an organism whose genetic structure has been changed by incorporating a gene that will convey a wanted trait, many times called gene splicing" (1). The transferred gene allocates the organism to express a trait that will usually add to its desirability to the producer. To modify the organism, scientists usually use recombinant DNA technology, which uses DNA molecules from different sources are combined in vitro into one molecule to create a new gene, and then this DNA is transferred into an organism and causes the expression of the trait or traits. Genetically modified foods are very prevalent in today's society, ranging from simple genetically modified bananas to edible vaccines and antibiotics. Even though these foods might seem perfectly normal and natural at first glance, they are different and have various positive and negative health impacts to the consumer.

Genetically modified organisms are generally created with recombinant DNA technology, which is "a form of artificial DNA that is engineered through the combination or insertion of one or more DNA strands, thereby combining DNA sequences that would not normally occur together" (2).

Stanley Norman Cohen and Herbert Boyer first engineered the Recombinant DNA technique in 1973, when the two "discovered a technique to isolate and amplify genes or DNA segments and insert them into another cell with precision, creating a transgenic bacterium" (2). Werner Arber, Daniel Nathans, and Hamilton Smith received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1978 when they discovered restriction endonucleases, making recombinant DNA technology possible.

To create a genetically modified organism the user would choose the sequence that was of concern and then would isolate it. When the gene is isolated it is than inserted into a vector, which acts as a transport for the genetic material into the desired cell. The vector is...