Unit 4 – Genetics, Background Paper 4-9 Genetic Engineering In ...

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Dec 10, 2012 (4 years and 8 months ago)

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Name ____________________________ Date
______________ Period ________

Background 4
-
9, GeneticEngineering2012


Text 2009

Greg Ballog

Page
1


Biology

Unit 4



Genetics
, Background Paper

4
-
9


Genetic Engineering



In nature mutations occur at regular intervals.
Most mutations have no effect on
the organism. Those few
mutations that do cause some change in an organisms’ phenotype are
then tested for usefulness by the environment the organism lives in. If the mutation is not
detrimental, or offers some advantage, the mutation is passed on to the mutated organisms’
offspr
ing. This is the way that nature has worked for millions of years.


With the knowledge of how the cell works humans have learned to use the natural system of
mutation to ‘engineer’ life. We can now make changes in the genome (total DNA code) of an
individu
al organism to repair damage to DNA, introduce new characteristics, and even combine the
DNA of two very different organisms. Consider the following
scenario.


Researchers find that a protein produced by a rare
tree growing in the

Pacific

Northwest limits the gr
owth of
breast cancer in cases that other
treatments do not seem to
help. A drug industry grows up utilizing the protein extracted
from the tree. The slow growing tree is rare, 30 pounds of bark
are needed to extract the drug is extremely expensive and not

enough
can be made to meet demand. Even though the drug produced from the tree is a
promising cancer treatment it is not practical and production of the drug halts.
Genetic engineering enters the story at this point. The gene that produces the
lifesaving

protein is identified, removed, and inserted into the DNA of an easily
grown bacterium (
E. coli
). The bacteria now read the instructions inserted into its
DNA and begin churning out the cancer killing protein. The drug becomes cheap
and plentiful offering

cures for many women with breast and ovarian cancer.


The above scenario closely follows the career of the drug
Taxol. Taxol was found in the bark of the Pacific Yew tree. Trials
showed it to be highly effective in treating cancer and it received
FDA app
roval. Taxol soon became the drug of choice in treating
several cancers. Sales of Taxol peaked in 2001 at 1.6 billion dollars.
Early on it was apparent that the Yew would become extinct in just
a few short years. Bioengineers continue working to produce th
e
drug as described in the scenario above.

In lab you will perform a transformation (insertion of a
segment of DNA into
E.coli

) in the same way that researchers
produce new drugs such as Taxol, Human Growth Hormone, and
even Human Insulin.
Name ____________________________ Date
______________ Period ________

Background 4
-
9, GeneticEngineering2012


Text 2009

Greg Ballog

Page
2


Title of Reading
:
4
-
9 Genetic Engineering


A)
What one question do I have about this article?







B)
Show or describe the reading to a parent or
guardian

(Name ___________________)
.


What comments or questions did they have concerning the reading?




(
Biology Homework Time __________
)



#

A
nswers

1


2


3


Concept Map of Reading

(
3

point
s
)

1 P
oint

A & B

Points
Earned

1 2


3


4

5


6


7

Main Idea