The Historical Context Of Genetic Engineering Essay

1130 Words Dec 2nd, 2015 5 Pages
Kristin Horton
Bioethics in Historical Context
Position Paper
12/01/2015
Genetic Engineering
Genetic Engineering, though it sounds complicated, is actually quite simple. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the science of making changes to the genes of a plant or animal to produce a desired result.” 1 In fact, Genetic Engineering is not even a new development. Humans have been using it for thousands of years, through artificial selection, selective breeding, and more recently through mutagenesis. Selective breeding is among the most commonly used types of genetic engineering and is where all of domesticated pets, especially purebreds, come from. The term ‘genetic engineering’ was first used in a book in 1951. However, genetic engineering as we think of it today didn’t really come around until the 1970s. Scientists were making break through with animals in genetic engineering. In 1976 the first genetic engineering company, was founded. Soon after its founding, they created a human protein in E. coli. But it wasn’t until 1978 that the company really made it first impact. Genentech announced the production of genetically engineered human insulin and began marketing it in 1982 as humilin. This was huge step in the field of medicine.
Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, were also introduced in around the same time period. Steven Lindow was a graduate student who made the discovery of an ice-minus strain. He later was able to use that strain to genetically alter…

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