Human Genetic Engineering

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Genetically Engineering the Human Genome
Genetically modifying the human genome, also known as the complete set of genetic material, is now more than just science fiction. After 25 years of collecting and analyzing scientific research, altering the human genome is becoming a concrete reality (Yu-Wai-Man 1322). Genetically modifying the human genome is deliberately altering human genes for the purpose of producing offspring with those genetic changes. Majority of the research being conducted for genetically modifying the human genome is being conducted on mice. Likewise, using mice to study genetic engineering is a “powerful method for studying gene function and creating animal models of human diseases” (Liu, Xie, Gui, Du 217). Understanding
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One of the beginning procedures for genetic engineering is pronuclear microinjection. Pronuclear microinjection is a technique that is “intrinsically simple, although it requires expensive equipment and high levels of skill” (Smith 78). The discovery of pronuclear microinjection was attributed to Dr. Jon Gordon, as he was the one that “demonstrated that exogenous, or foreign, DNA could be introduced into the genome simply by the physical injection of a solution of cloned DNA into a fertilized egg” (Smith 77). Furthermore, the first step in the procedure of pronuclear microinjection is loading a glass needle with foreign DNA (Smith 78). Secondly, using a microscope, the loaded glass needle is “guided through the cytoplasm” towards a fertilized egg (Smith 78). The next step includes injecting a nanoliter, one billionth of a liter, of the DNA solution into the fertilized egg, which distributes on average “two hundred DNA molecules” into the nucleus of the zygote (Smith 78). Finally, all of “microinjected eggs are implanted” into the fallopian tube of a foster mother where they could perhaps “develop into a viable individual” (Liu, et al. 217). In order for this technique to be executed efficiently, the DNA solution that is injected into the fertilized egg must …show more content…
Viruses are effective in modifying the human genome because they can “replicate inside cells and therefore have evolved mechanisms to enter the cells and use the cellular machinery to express their genes,” and retroviruses, “viruses that contain a single-stranded RNA,” “were the first viruses to be modified for gene delivery” (Hu, Pathak 494-95; ). Likewise, the idea behind using retroviral gene transfer is to “engineer the virus” in a way that that it will obtain the foreign DNA and deliver the DNA to “target” cells (Hu, Pathak 494). The procedure of retroviral gene transfer is relatively simple; zygotes, also termed as fertilized eggs, are “incubated” in a substance that contains high concentrations of the engineered retroviruses that contain the foreign DNA, thus the zygotes will be infected by the infected retroviruses (Smith 79). In order for this gene transfer technique to be effective, the procedure needs to be “efficient, cell-specified, regulated, and safe” and it was declared that safety was a main issue because “most viruses are either pathogens of have pathogenic potential” (Hu, Pathak 495). Subsequently, it was documented that two young patients were treated for a severe immune disease using a retroviruses and both of the patients developed leukemia because the retroviruses integrated into a mutated gene that created leukemia cells (Smith

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