GENE TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH
Gene Technology and Health
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GENE TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH 2
Genetically modified organisms are animals, microorganisms, and plants whose genetic
makeup have been altered through natural recombination or by mating such that the genetic
material does not appear as in the regular, natural plant. This process of changing the DNA of the
organism is called Genetic Engineering. The plant or organism whose genetic material has been
altered by artificially introducing a gene or genes in the plant’s genetic makeup is referred to as a
Transgenic plant or organism. This process uses the biotechnology techniques that transfer the
genes to the host plant or organism either from the same species or different kind and species. A
vector that may contain other elements like antibiotic resistance, marker genes, viral promoters
and transcription terminators is used to insert the gene of interest into the host plant (In Norer,
2016). The transferred gene affects the functioning of the plant or organism and its characters.
After transgenic is created, it can pass on the newly adopted characteristic to its off springs that
will follow through reproduction or pollination.
The technique uses the biolistic (gene gun) which shoots the gene of interest in the cells
of the plant. The gene gun usually shoots the DNA in the plant cells or tissue subsequently and
under high pressure (Halford, 2012). The accelerated particles are produced by the gun at high
pressure, and they penetrate the cell membrane and cell wall of the plant cells. The separation of
the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) occurs, and it is integrated into the host plant inside the
nucleus of DNA. The method has been successful especially in monocots like maize, but the
main limitation of this technique is that it damages the cellular tissue.
The main aim of this technology is to introduce new plants and organism characteristics
that do not exist in natural plants and organism. In most cases, the genetically modified plants
GENE TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH 3
usually have more and better traits than the natural plants. One of its objectives is to increase the
crop protection. The modified plants can withstand harsh weather conditions making them more
preferred in the present days since the weather has become unpredictable.
Secondly, the plants can germinate and grow at a higher rate than the natural plants hence
there are useful tools for fighting drought. The transgenic plant has another distinctive trait of
been resistance against insects. Pest like aphids and cutworms attacks the crop and farmers are
required to spray their plants against this insect. The new plants contain a gene that produces
toxin and does not need spraying as the pest does not attack them as compared to the natural
plants. The world as a whole has been facing the challenge of food crises, and this has been the
primary objective that has contributed to the invention of this technology.
Application of Gene technology
Gene technology has been used globally to produce the genetically modified organism,
micro-organisms, and plant. The invention has been of benefits to the people in ways like fight
hunger, improving health, production of preventive vaccination, treatment of diseases among
others. The biotechnology has been used in medical industry, Agriculture, environmental among
others. Gene technology is being applied in the following fields.
Production of pharmaceuticals which are medically useful human proteins and peptides,
for example, somatostatin, insulin, interferon, and growth hormones. Biotechnology is used to
produce recombinant human growth hormone (hGH). This hormone is injected to the children
who have stunted growth due to deficiency of pituitary gland hormone. The hormone has been
found successful in solving the problem dwarfism. The technology is also used to produce
recombinant insulin which is injected to people who are suffering diabetes. The technology is
also applied in the production of the recombinant vaccine such as Hepatitis B virus, foot and
GENE TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH 4
mouth disease vaccine among others. Hepatitis B vaccine is used to treat people with the varying
amount of antigens in the Plasma.
Secondly, it is used for diagnosis of diseases where DNA probes are used in this process
of diagnosis. It also uses PCR in disease diagnosis. PRC can detect the presence of infectious
micro-organisms even when they are at the low count. Thirdly the technology is used in insect
pest control such as mosquitoes. There has been an invention in the production of microbial
insecticides that are environmental friendly. These microbial insecticides include Bio
insecticides (bacterial Bio-Pesticides). Transgenic plants secrets lethal toxins which have been
used to kill predators such as bollworm. The gene technology is also used to produce Viral
Pesticides which are used in greenhouses to prevent and control infections. Finally, Gene
technology is used in producing Genetically modified Microorganisms that are used to control
pollution. The genetically modified organism has an environmental benefit of degrading
environmental pollutant, for example, toluene, acids, pesticides, Chloro-benzene and other waste
which are toxic to the ecological system.
Genetic engineering of organisms and crop plants has both negative and positive health
and social impacts. One of the positive impacts of GMF is that they help to reduce air pollution
from the human. Natural plants usually require regular spraying which pollutes water, air, and
the soil. Environment conservation has been an issue that everybody should put in mind.
Pollution has caused harm to the environments examples is some animals have come to extinct
due to the changes of the environment, increase in water levels in seas and oceans due to global
warming and unpredictable weather conditions (Ferry & Gatehouse, 2009).
GENE TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH 5
Secondly, this technology has introduced more varieties of horticultural products that are
more designed to fit the expectation of the consumers and are more nutritious since they contain
mixed traits. Some of these crops have been sources of vitamins example the Golden rice which
has high enrichment of vitamin A. Bio Cassavas were found to have a high concentration of
proteins and other nutrients. These Genetically modified organisms and crop products are also
cheaper than the natural products which offer them an added advantage to the society. The
technology has also played a significant role in fighting the issue of food shortage ("Transgenic
Crops: An Introduction and Resource Guide," 2017). The genetically modified crop plants are
found to be more productive, and they can grow within a shorter period. Hunger has been a
major problem facing the developing countries, and through the efficient application of this
technology, it can help to reduce this issue.
However, although the genetically modified crops and organisms have been beneficial to
the society, on the other hand, it has posed some risks and negative implications associated with
it. One of the negative implication is that these crops are found to be carcinogenic. According to
various research conducted concerning this foods, found that some genetically modified crops
can cause cancer. Secondly, the plants produce an allergic reaction to some people the first
incident was identified in 1990’s where soybeans developed by HI-Bred were allergic to some
people (In Norer, 2016). Also from the introduction of this new crops, many people have
abandoned their staple foods, and their taste is on these new plants food. These new crops have a
negative effect on the immune system.
A Biblical concept related to Gene technology.
The bible has outlined the creation theory and the will of the almighty God on matters
pertaining His creation specifically life. The technology has been highly criticized by the
GENE TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH 6
believers that it is against the will of the God. According to Genesis 1:27 “so God created man in
his image, in the image of God created he Him; male and female created them.” If God created
humans, it would be against His will to change the creation. Gene technology is altering the
creation of God by trying to come up with new Organisms and plants. Genesis 1:31 says that
“And God saw everything He had made and, behold, it was very good.” This verse stress that
nobody should alter the creation of God since everything He made was good. The bible also
criticizes the issue of vasectomy since reproduction in human beings should be as a result of man
and women making love. Also Jeremiah 1:5 says that “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew
thee; and before you camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.” This verse stresses that a
child should grow and develop in the mother’s womb and not incubation tubes for the case of
Summary and conclusion.
In conclusion, Genetic engineering like any other innovation it has both the positive and
the adverse impact. The technology has more benefits than the negatives that it causes to the
society, and the technology has been adopted by many nations both developed and developing. I
support the program since it has resolved some of the challenges like food shortage facing many
developing countries. The government should regulate this technology to avoid introduction of
unverified new crops that may have an adverse impact on human health and the society.
GENE TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH 7
Ferry, N., & Gatehouse, A. M. (2009). Environmental impact of genetically modified crops.
Halford, N. G. (2012). Genetically modified crops. London: Imperial College Press.
In Norer, R. (2016). Genetic Technology and Food Safety. Cham: Springer International
Rogowski, W. (2007). Current impact of gene technology on healthcare. Health Policy, 80(2),
Strong, J. (2004). The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Showing Every Word of the Text of
the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each
Word in Regular Order, Together with Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek Words of
the Original, with References to the English Words. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson
Tasmania. (2001). Transgenic Poppies: Report to Government on the Issues Raised by the
Application of Gene Technology to Opium Poppies in Tasmania's Primary Industries.
Hobart, Tas: Dept. of Primary Industries, Water and Environment.
Transgenic Crops: An Introduction and Resource Guide. (2017). Retrieved from