By Prakriti Sapkota
In the simple term, Genetic engineering is the process of manually adding new DNA to an organism. It is used by scientists to enhance or modify the characteristics of an individual organism.
In the past, humans may not have been able to directly modify the DNA of a plant or animal in a laboratory, but they still practiced genetic engineering through selective breeding and cross-species or cross-breeding. People would identify specific traits, seek out other plants or animals that had similar traits, and then breed them together to create a specific result. Genetic engineering just speeds up this process and can predict an outcome with greater regularity.
Genetic engineering has a number of useful applications, including scientific research, agriculture and technology. This technique can be applied to any organism, from a virus to a sheep. For example, genetic engineering can be used to produce plants that have a higher nutritional value or can tolerate exposure to herbicides.
Disease could be prevented by detecting people/plants/animals that are genetically prone to certain hereditary diseases and preparing for the inevitable. Also, infectious diseases can be treated by implanting genes that code for antiviral proteins specific to each antigen.
Animals and plants can be ‘tailor made’ to show desirable characteristics. Genes could also be manipulated in trees, for example, to absorb more CO2 and reduce the threat of global warming.
Genetic Engineering allows for plants or animals to be modified so their maturity can occur at a quicker pace. Engineering can allow this maturity to occur outside of the normal growth conditions that are favorable without genetic changes as well.
Plants and animals can have specific traits developed through genetic engineering that can make them more attractive to use or consumption.
With all these advantages, being a field of Biotechnology, Genetic engineering has a greater impact in the scientific revolution. It is going to become a very mainstream part of our lives sooner or later, because there are so many possibilities.