What is Recombinant DNA Technology?

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Recombinant DNA technology is the latest biochemical analysis that came about to satisfy the need for specific DNA segments. In this process, surrounding DNA from an existing cell is clipped in desired amount of segments so that it can be copied millions times. Recombinant DNA technology engineers microbial cells for producing foreign proteins and its success solely depends on the precise reading of equivalent genes made with the help of bacterial cell machinery. This process has been responsible for fuelling many advances related to modern molecular biology in recent times. The last two decades of cloned DNA sequences studies have revealed detailed knowledge about gene structure as well as its organization. It  has provided hints to regulatory pathways with the aid of which gene expression in myriad cell types is controlled by the cells, especially in those organisms having body plan with basic vertebrae structure.

 

How does Recombinant DNA Technology works?

Let us understand how the recombinant technology is performed stepwise:

  • At the start, a gene of interest is isolated and then put into a vector for cloning. This vector is nothing but DNA fragment that has the capacity to grow independently. Some of the most regularly used vectors are viral phages and bacterial plasmids. This gene or foreign DNA is combined with plasmid or phage and is termed as recombinant DNA.
  • Cloning of vector is must before it is introduced to host cells for obtaining protein expression. It is necessary because cloning helps to produce innumerable replicates of DNA as the initial samples of vector are not sufficient for introducing into host cells.
  • When vector is cloned in innumerable measure it is then introduced to selected host cells. These host cells are mostly of mammal, bacteria or yeast. The foreign protein present in the recombinant DNA is then synthesized by the host cells. Once the cells are produced in huge quantities, the recombinant protein is then isolated and purified.

 

What are the Recent advances in the Recombinant DNA Technology?

  • Recombinant DNA technology apart from being an important tool of scientific research has also played a vital role in the diagnosis as well as the treatment of various diseases, especially those belonging to genetic disorders. Some of the recent advances made possible by recombinant DNA technology are:
  • Isolating proteins in large quantities: Many recombinant products are now available including follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), Follistim AQ vial, growth hormone, insulin and some other proteins
  • Making possible mutation identification: Due to this technology, people can be easily tested for mutated protein presence that can lead to breast cancer, neurofibromatosis, retino- blastoma
  • Hereditary diseases carrier diagnosis: This test uses recombinant DNA technology if a person is carrying cystic fibrosis gene the Tay-Sachs diseases gene, Huntington’s disease gene or Duchenne muscular dystrophy gene
  • Gene transfer from one organism to other: The advanced gene therapy can benefit people having cystic fibrosis, vascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and specific type of cancers

 

What are the Benefits of Recombinant DNA Technology?

Apart from the field of medicine, recombinant DNA technology has also proved beneficial in other sectors, such as, agriculture. Some of them are:

  • Producing heat resistant and drought proof crops for better yield
  • Producing different recombinant vaccines like hepatitis B
  • Preventing and curing sickle cell anemia
  • Preventing and curing cystic fibrosis
  • Producing cloning factors
  • Producing insulin
  • Producing recombinant pharmaceuticals
  • Generating plants having the ability to produce insecticides for themselves
  • Somatic and germ line gene therapy

 

What are the Concerns regarding Recombinant DNA Technology?

Some of the concerns more recently voiced out by the recombinant DNA technology analysts are:

  • Viruses can develop antibiotic resistance due to which safety may be at risk
  • Fungi resistance can cause environmental concerns
  • Ethical dilemmas especially while treating humans such as choosing the genetic makeup of an embryo

     
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