Development History of Transgenic Technology

Transgenic technology refers to the use of DNA recombination, transformation and other technologies to transfer specific foreign target genes into recipient organisms, and make them produce predictable and targeted genetic changes. Transgenic technology is a core component of modern agricultural biotechnology.

A series of genetic research work has opened a new era for humans to transform organisms. This kind of technical system that uses modern biotechnological means to achieve the desired goals according to engineering design principles is called “genetic engineering” or “genetic engineering”. Plant genetic engineering is often referred to as “transgenic technology”, and the products obtained are called transgenic plants or transgenic crops, and sometimes names such as “genetically modified organisms” or “engineered crops”

The development history

In 1953, Watson JD and Crick FHC first proposed the double helix structure model of DNA and the semi-reserved replication hypothesis.

In 1966, the American scientist Nirenberg (MW) and others deciphered all the genetic code, proclaiming the birth of molecular biology. With the successive discovery of tool enzymes such as DNA restriction enzymes and DNA ligases, it provides a convenient tool for in vitro genetic manipulation.

In 1972, American scientists Boyer HW and Berg P successfully completed the work of splicing together two pieces of DNA from different sources, marking the birth of DNA recombination technology.

In 1974, Morrow JF et al. took the lead in expressing eukaryotic genes in E. coli.

In 1978, human brain hormone and human insulin genes were expressed in E. coli.

In 1983, scientists completed the genetic modification of plants (tobacco) for the first time.

The technical principles

Transgenic technology is the use of modern biological technology to artificially separate and recombine the desired gene into the genome of the organism, thereby improving the original traits of the organism or giving it new excellent traits.

In addition to the transfer of new foreign genes, the genetic characteristics of organisms can also be modified, such as processing, knocking out, and masking of organism genes through transgenic technology, to obtain the desired traits. The main processes of this technology include cloning of foreign genes, construction of expression vectors, establishment of genetic transformation systems, screening of genetic transformants, analysis of genetic stability, and backcrossing.

The technical classification

  1.  Plant transgenic technology

Plant transgene technology adopts cloning and other methods to insert foreign DNA into recipient cells. Typical methods of use include vector-mediated method and direct DNA uptake method. At present, the most widely used and the most ideal effect is the Agrobacterium-mediated method. This method uses Agrobacterium rhizogenes as a carrier to implant Agrobacterium in plant cells to achieve the purpose of cell transformation.

  1.  Animal transgenic technology

Microinjection method is to use a glass needle to inject DNA into the animal embryo cell nucleus, and then transplant the DNA into the animal body to make it develop normally. Somatic cell nuclear transfer method is to first cultivate cells in vitro, select high-quality genes, and then transplant them to egg cells, and then transplanted into the mother.

Technical advantages and disadvantages

Advantage

1. Food quality is improved: genetically modified products have a certain degree of stress resistance, and some biological properties are strengthened, which improves the taste quality and nutritional value of foods, and some insect-resistant plants not only reduce the use of pesticides, but also It can ensure that the food surface is non-toxic and pollution-free, and will not cause pesticide accumulation in the human body. There have been no cases of diseases caused by the consumption of genetically modified products in the world. The approved genetically modified rice in China has fully met the food safety standards in the safety evaluation for more than ten years, and the food safety evaluation indicators of some genetically modified crops are even high In accordance with international standards.

2. Significant achievements in environmental protection: the GM planted in China has insect resistance, drought resistance, and salinity resistance, which reduces the use of pesticides, and the negative impact of planting GM rice may be far less than planting non-GM crop. In the future, the advantages of “biological agriculture” will far exceed that of “chemical agriculture”. This trend is inevitable and irreversible.

3. Has inestimable social benefits: In the social economy, genetically modified technology can increase material productivity and become a new driving force for economic growth and quality improvement. At the same time, GM technology also has certain advantages in the field of medicine. The health industry dominated by GM technology will gradually become a pillar industry in the world economy. In terms of social culture, genetically modified culture is also an important part of advanced social culture. It also reflects to a certain extent the economic strength of a country and the international status of a country.

Disadvantages

1. Food safety issues: While genetically modified products bring huge economic and social benefits to people, the threat to human health cannot be ignored. First, changes in crop genes may cause undesirable effects. Newly introduced proteins may have toxicity or allergic problems; antibiotic marker genes in genetically modified crops may cause antibiotic treatment to fail. Taken together, genetically modified products are still unknown and uncertain.

2. The impact of genetically modified products on the ecological environment: the genes of genetically modified organisms will flow to the natural biological community, for example, the genes for the resistance to herbicides may escape to the weeds, making the weeds super resistant to weeds. The difficulty of removing this weed, and the mutual transfer of genes between these organisms, may affect the fair competition between species, destroy the original ecological balance, and thus turn some of the original dominant species into disadvantages or even extinction. .

3. Impact on biodiversity: Genetically modified organisms bring convenience to humans while destroying the laws of natural genetic evolution. While inhibiting the normal growth of harmful organisms, they may also affect or exterminate beneficial organisms; second, the genes of genetically modified organisms may also promote the evolution of insects, viruses, and bacteria. Studies have shown that cotton bollworm has developed resistance to transgenic insect-resistant cotton.

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