Essay on Somatic Cell Manipulation, Germline Manipulation And Cloning

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Genetic engineering, in the simplest terms, is the process of manually manipulating genes, tiny units within DNA that hold the information that makes up a being. Although this has been happening since the invention of breeding many thousands of years ago in both animals and plants, it gained an official start in 1973 when technology allowed for the creation of the first genetically modified organisms (GMO) – bacteria. This field has been rapidly progressing since then, even in only basic research, and has now come full-circle to the manipulation of human genes in the form of three approaches: somatic cell manipulation, germline manipulation and cloning.
The first term, somatic cell manipulation, refers to the somatic cells of the body, all the cells that do not pass DNA on to the next generation. This is the only of the three that has been used in humans. This practice is called “gene therapy” and was first attempted on humans in 1990. The most common form of this involves the delivery of DNA that encodes therapeutic genes to replace or fix genes that have been causing problems (clear up). The second term, germline manipulation, concerns the cells that do pass DNA on to the next generation, the germ cells (sperm or ovums). The idea behind this is to pass on good genes and get rid of the bad ones so that the successive generations will benefit. One of the biggest claims of this field could be the eradication of hereditary disease while simultaneously continuing on a…

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