Genetic engineering is a set of techniques, methods and technologies that help to produce recombinant RNA and DNA; isolate genes and perform genetic manipulations with them, f.e. insert them into other organisms. It is not a science in the broad sense, but it is a branch of biotechnology, which uses the methods of biological sciences such as molecular and cell biology, genetics, microbiology, virology. Genetic engineering allows turning individual genes on and off, thus controlling the activities of organisms. With the help of it, genetic instructions from one organism can be carried to another, even to organisms of other species. The genetics are learning more and more about the work of genes and soon it will be possible to program the genotype arbitrary.
Gene transfer provides the opportunity to overcome the barriers between species, and send individual hereditary characteristics of one organism to others. Despite the obvious benefits of genetic research and experimentation, the concept of “genetic engineering” has given rise to various suspicions and fears. It has been the subject of concern and even political disputes. Since genetic engineering appeared not so long ago, many scientists are skeptical of this panacea for all diseases.
Those, who argue against genetic engineering, consider it fundamentally different from the cultivation of new varieties and breeds. Artificial addition of foreign genes strongly violates the precisely regulated genetic control of normal cell. Manipulation of genes differs radically from the combination of maternal and paternal chromosomes, which occurs during the natural breeding.
Furthermore, the artificial addition of a foreign gene can produce dangerous substances, such as toxic fumes, allergens and other harmful substances. The current requirements for the verification of harm of genetically modified products are extremely scarce. They are quite clearly drawn up in such a way as to simplify the approval process. They allow the use of extremely insensitive testing methods, and as a result, there is a significant risk that food products that are hazardous to health will remain unnoticed.
New and dangerous viruses may appear, due to genetic engineering. These novel viruses may be more aggressive than the original and less species-specific. For example, plant viruses can be harmful to insects, animals, and even humans.
Of course, genetic engineering has some advantages as well. In the future, with the help of genetic engineering it will be possible to cure previously hopeless illnesses, with which children are born because of failure in the genes. Even patients with HIV will receive hope for the cure. The world’s population is increasing every year, so genetically modified products are designed to save the planet’s growing population from starvation. The future depends on genetically modified products. Still, a lot of progress and testing has to be done before scientists could fully trust genetic engineering.