Gene Technology – Biological basis

Gene Technology

Biological basis
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 normal, natural plant. This process of changing the DNA of the
organism is called Genetic Engineering. The plant 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. 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,
p.76). The transferred gene affects the functioning of the plant and its characters. After
transgenic is created, it can pass on the newly adopted characteristic to its off springs that will
follow through pollination or reproduction.
The technique uses the biolistic (gene gun) which shoots the gene of interest in the cells
of the organism or plant. The gene gun usually shoots the DNA in the organism/plant cells or
tissue subsequently and under high pressure (Halford, 2012, p.164). The accelerated particles are

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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
The main aim of this technology is to introduce new plants characteristics that do not
exist in natural plants. In most cases, the genetically modified plants 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.
Ethical and Social Implications
Genetic engineering of crop plants and organisms has both negative and positive social
and ethical implications. One of the positive impacts of Genetically Modified Food 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 a lot of harm to the environments examples

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is some animals have come to extinct due to the changes of the environments, increase in water
levels in seas and oceans the due to global warming and unpredictable weather conditions (Ferry
& Gatehouse, 2009, p.184).
Secondly, this technology has introduced more varieties of horticultural products that are
more designed to fits 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 are found to have a high concentration of
proteins and other nutrients. This 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, p.2-6). 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 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 organism and plants produce an allergic reaction to some people the first
incident identified in 1990’s where soybeans developed by HI-Bred were allergic to some people
(In Norer, 2016, p.82). Also from the introduction of this new crops and organisms, many people
have abandoned their staple foods, and their taste is on these new organism and plants food.
These new modified products have an adverse effect on the immune system.

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Personal view point
In my own opinion, 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.

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Works Cited

Ferry, N., and A. M. Gatehouse. Environmental impact of genetically modified crops.
CABI, 2009.
Halford, N. G. Genetically modified crops. Imperial College Press, 2012.
In Norer, R. Genetic technology and food safety. 2016. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
"Transgenic Crops: An Introduction and Resource Guide." 2017,