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Gene Splicing

Applications Of Gene Splicing

Using gene-splicing technology, vaccines have been produced. DNA from a virus can be spliced into the genome of a harmless strain of bacterial strain. When the bacteria produced the viral protein, this protein can be harvested. Since bacteria grow quickly and easily, a large amount of this protein can be extracted, purified and used as a vaccine. It is introduced into an individual by injection, which will elicit an immune response. When a person is infected with a virus by natural exposure, a rapid immune response can be initiated due to the initial innoculation. Another application of gene spicing technology is related to the gene involved in Vitamin B production. This gene has been removed from a carrots genome and spliced into the genome of rice. The genetically engineered recombinant rice strain therefore, is modified to produce Vitamin B. This can have many health-related benefits, particularly in third world countries that rely on rice as a major food source and do not have access to food sources rich in vitamins.

Gene splicing technology, therefore, allows researchers to insert new genes into the existing genetic material of an organisms genome so that entire traits, from disease resistance to vitamins, and can be copied from one organism and transferred another.

Resources

Books

Lewin B, ed. Genes V. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Nussbaum, Robet l., Roderick R. McInnes, Huntington F. Willard. Genetics in Medicine. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2001.

Rimoin, David L. Emery and Rimoin's Principles and Practice of Medical Genetics. London; New York: Churchill Livingstone, 2002.


Louise Dickerson

KEY TERMS


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Antibody

—A molecule created by the immune system in response to the presence of an antigen (a foreign substance or particle). It marks foreign microorganisms in the body for destruction by other immune cells.

Antigen

—A molecule, usually a protein, that the body identifies as foreign and toward which it directs an immune response.

Capping

—A modification to the 5' end of a mature mRNA transcript.

Cytoplasm

—All the protoplasm in a living cell that is located outside of the nucleus, as distinguished from nucleoplasm, which is the protoplasm in the nucleus.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)

—The genetic material in a cell.

Exons

—The regions of DNA that code for a protein or form tRNA or mRNA.

Gene

—A discrete unit of inheritance, represented by a portion of DNA located on a chromosome. The gene is a code for the production of a specific kind of protein or RNA molecule, and therefore for a specific inherited characteristic.

Genome

—The complete set of genes an organism carries.

Introns

—Noncoding sequences in a gene that are spliced out during RNA processing.

Mitochondria

—Intracellular organelle that is separate from the nucleus, has it's own genome and is important for producing energy for various tissues.

Polyadenylation

—A modification to the 3' end of a mature mRNA transcript.

Recombinant DNA

—DNA that is cut using specific enzymes so that a gene or DNA sequence can be inserted.

Splicesome

—The intracellular machinery that processes RNA by removing introns from the sequence.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Gastrula to Glow dischargeGene Splicing - Alternative Splicing, Spliceosomes, Splicing Out Introns, Other Splicing Events, Recombinant Dna Technology, Applications Of Gene Splicing