Stem Cell Research Genetic Engineering, Genetic Modification Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1336 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Genetics

Stem Cell Research

Genetic engineering, genetic modification, and gene splicing are terms used for the process of manipulating genes in an organism, generally outside the organism's normal reproductive process (Genetic pp). This usually involves the isolation, manipulation and reintroduction of DNA into model organisms, most often to express a protein, in order to introduce new characteristics to an organism that will increase its usefulness, such as increasing the crop yield of a species, introducing a novel characteristic or producing a new protein or enzyme (Genetic pp). Examples are the production of human insulin through the use of modified bacteria and the production of new types of experimental mice such as the "OncoMouse," cancer mouse, for research, through genetic redesign (Genetic pp). One of the most well-known application of Genetic engineering is the creation of genetically modified organisms (Genetic pp). There are potentially profound biotechnology application of genetic modification, such as oral vaccines that are produced naturally in fruit at very low cost (Genetic pp).

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Genetic engineering has become the gold standard in protein research, and major research process has been made using a wide variety of techniques, including loss of function, such as in knockout experiment, in which an organism is engineered to lack one or more genes (Genetic pp). Such an experiment involves creation and manipulation of a DNA construct in vitro, which consists of a copy of the desired gene which has been altered to cripple its function (Genetic pp). Then the construct is taken up by embryonic stem cells where the copy of the gene replaces the organism's own gene (Genetic pp).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Stem Cell Research Genetic Engineering, Genetic Modification, Assignment

Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into numerous different cell types within the body serving as a repair system in which they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive (Stem pp). Whenever a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a red blood cell, brain cell, or muscle cell (Stem pp). Stem cell research continues to learn how an organism develops from a single cell and how healthy cells replace damaged cells in adult organisms, leading scientists to investigate the possibility of cell-based therapies to treat disease, a field referred to as regenerative or reparative medicine (Stem pp).

Stem cells contain two important characteristics that distinguish them from other types of cells:

First, they are unspecialized cells that renew themselves for long periods through cell division.

The second is that under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, they can be induced to become cells with special functions such as the beating cells of the heart muscle or the insulin- producing cells of the pancreas (Stem pp).

Primarily, scientists work with two types of stem cells from animals and humans, embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells (Stem pp).

More than two decades ago, scientists discovered ways to obtain or derive stem cells from early mouse embryos, resulting in how to isolate stem cells from human embryos and grow the cells in the laboratory in 1998 (Stem pp). These are called human embryonic stem cells, which are embryos created for infertility purposes through in vitro fertilization procedures and when no longer needed were donated for research with the informed consent of the donor (Stem pp).

In the three to five-day-old embryo, called a blastocyst, stem cells in developing tissues give rise to the multiple specialized cells types that make up the lung, skin, heart, and other tissues (Stem pp). In some adult tissues, such as bone marrow, muscle, and brain, "discrete populations of adult stem cells generate replacements for cells that are lost through normal wear and tar, injury or disease (Stem pp). Scientists believe that stem cells may become the basis for treating diseases such as Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and heart disease (Stem pp). As scientists expand their knowledge of about stem cells, it may become possible to not… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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