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Much is currently being said about transgenesis, a topic that is causing much controversy in the world. But ... what is transgenesis? Transgenesis is a modern genetic technology that can be used to modify the genomes of living organisms. This process is also known as genetic engineering. In transgenesis the genes of a species can be modified, or transplanted from one species to another. Genetic engineering is possible thanks to recombinant DNA technology. Organisms that have been genetically altered are known as transgenic. Most transgenic organisms are generated in the laboratory for research purposes. In this article we will know a little more about these techniques, their uses, their benefits and the controversies that it has generated.

Transgenic techniques Transgenic processes in bacteria, plants and animals Transgenesis is the process of introducing foreign deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) into the genome of a host organism. The foreign DNA, or "transgene", that is transferred to the recipient may be from other individuals of the same species or even unrelated species. In multicellular organisms, this is often done through the experimental manipulation of early gametes or embryos. Generally, the transgene is incorporated at a very early stage in embryonic development, so that cells throughout the organism contain the transgene. A wide range of species can be made transgenic including plants, insects, worms and vertebrates. The most commonly genetically manipulated vertebrate animal is the mouse, because a variety of techniques exist to produce transgenic mice.

There are several techniques for introducing a gene into an organism. Microinjection is one of these techniques. It is the process of injecting the transgene into the nucleus of a cell where it is inserted randomly into the host genome. In mice, transgenes can also be introduced with cultured embryonic stem cells. Altered cells are injected into early mouse embryos. Natural genes are deleted by being replaced by a transgene that has been altered in vitro, either by adding a sequence in the gene of the same or by removing part of the gene. Gene replacement occurs when the interrupted transgene is introduced into a cell. Here, it is recombined with the copy of the recipient of that gene, inserted into the chromosome by homologous recombination. This method allows scientists to study the effects of mutations on genes.

Using Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Plant and animal genomes have been altered for many years using traditional culture techniques, in the last decades, however, advances in the field of genetic engineering have allowed a precise control on the genetic changes that are introduced in an organism. Today, we can incorporate new genes from a species into a completely alien species through genetic engineering, optimizing agricultural yield or facilitating the production of valuable pharmaceutical substances. Crops, farm animals, and soil bacteria are some of the most prominent examples of organisms that have been genetically engineered.

Transgenic plant technology

Benefits of transgenesis

A number of animals have also been genetically modified to increase yield and decrease susceptibility to disease. For example, salmon has been designed to grow in size and ripen faster, and livestock has been improved to exhibit resistance to mad cow disease. Scientists are also looking at producing other commercially valuable proteins in plants, such as spider silk protein and polymers that are used in surgery or tissue replacement. Genetically modified animals have even been used to grow tissue transplantation and transplantation of human organs, a concept called xenotransplantation. The rich variety of uses of GMOs offers a number of valuable benefits to humans, but many people also worry about potential risks. There is a debate about ethics in the genetic alteration of plants and animals, and the impact that these alterations can have on the environment and the human being.

Risks and controversies around to the use of GMOs

Despite the controversy that has generated the use of transgenic products, it must also be understood that genetic modification can bring benefits to the human being if this can end the world's hunger. If these techniques could be planted in the deserts or in areas of great drought, and even so the plants could grow and feed, this would be a very great advance for the benefit of the population. But on the other hand, we must study well the effects that transgenesis can cause in the environment and in the human before the negative effects are irreparable.

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