Creation and alteration of living things was once the stuff of science fiction and horror stories. But with modern technology, we are finding that cloning has some very real and practical applications. There’s a good chance that you’ve eaten the product of cloning!
What is Recombinant DNA Technology?
Recombinant DNA Technology is a fairly new science that uses foreign DNA to change the molecules and alter their functions. For example, Recombinant DNA Technology has been used to create a new variety of soy beans that need lower levels of pesticides for healthy growth. Over half the American soy bean crop is now the result of Recombinant DNA. Farming is only one area that will be affected by the use of this new technology, of course.
Forensics is another area where Recombinant DNA Technology can be useful. It enables the identification of trace evidence with much smaller samples. The recombinant molecules can be designed to attach themselves to specific other molecules and make them easier to locate. This enables scientists to isolate a particular bacteria, enzyme or protein on the molecular level.
In the pharmaceutical industry, Recombinant DNA Technology is proving to be very valuable. Scientists are able to produce single human proteins for the generation of specific antibodies or for therapeutic benefits. Insulin, for example can be cloned with Recombinant DNA Technology.
Research and Studies
UCC, University College Cork, Ireland has an EPA sponsored study which began in Oct. 2007 and will continue until Oct. 2009. The goal of the study is to create a bacteria that will degrade styrene which is now considered a pollutant.
According to the UCC, “The current project seeks to enhance the ability of P. putida CA-3 to degrade styrene by investigating the flux through the pathway, identifying bottlenecks and applying recombinant DNA approaches to overcome them. Research outputs from this study will include recombinant strains with enhanced styrene degradation profiles and increased PHA accumulation capacities."
Recombinant DNA Overview
Gene splicing, Recombinant DNA Technology and molecular engineering are rapidly growing fields of research and promise great benefits for mankind. From catching criminals to curing diseases, to cleaning out landfills, to improved agriculture, the possibilities are endless.