Genetic engineering – vectors, plasmids, transgenics

  • define the term recombinant DNA
  • explain that genetic engineering involves the extraction of genes from one organism, or the synthesis of genes, in order to place them in another organism (of the same or another species) such that the receiving organism expresses the gene product
  • describe the properties of plasmids that allow them to be used in gene cloning
  • explain why promoters and other control sequences may have to be transferred as well as the desired gene
  • explain the advantages of producing human proteins by recombinant DNA techniques (reference should be made to some suitable examples, such as insulin, factor VIII for the treatment of haemophilia and adenosine deaminase for treating severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID))
  • explain the significance of genetic engineering in improving the quality and yield of crop plants and livestock in solving the demand for food in the world, e.g. Bt maize, vitamin A enhanced rice (Golden riceTM) and GM salmon
  • outline the way in which the production of crops such as maize, cotton, tobacco and oil seed rape may be increased by using varieties that are genetically modified for herbicide resistance and insect resistance
  • discuss the ethical and social implications of using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food production