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Genetic Engineering - Human Genetics

Human Genetics:
Genetic engineering includes the study of genetic material DNA and RNA and its basic functioning to bring desirable characters together in the species. Human has a different anatomy then animal and plant anatomy. So, the study of human genetics is different then animals and plants due to long life span of human being and birth of single offspring. Human genetics includes the study of chromosomal behavior and use of micro-organism, animal cells and plant cells for development of new and valuable products which are used in management of various diseases.

Biotechnology:
The field of biotechnology is very vast. Biotechnology is of recent origin but it itself is very old. There are many processes in our kitchen which is based on biotechnology but we hesitate to refer them as biotech such as making of curd from milk. Biotechnology is the integration of natural and engineering science and is includes cell culture, tissue culture, bioprocess, protein engineering, monoclonal antibody production etc.

Biotechnology helps to produce valuable medicines in a pharmaceutical field by cell culture and uses genetic modification to increase the amount produced or to make entirely new medicines.


Gene Therapy:
Biotechnology leads to the development of gene therapy. Earlier gene therapy was limited into bacterial cells or isolated cells but now been extended to living animals. It is used to cure blood diseases like thalassemia and sickle cell anemia as well as inherited diseases like hemophilia, phenyl ketonuria etc. It helps in prevention of cancer and diabetes.

Micro organism and plants are both being genetically modified to produce large number of medicines safely and cheaply such as genetically modified micro organisms containing the gene for human insulin produce a large number of insulin for diabetic patients.

Application of Gene therapy:


  1. Gene therapy is a novel approach to treat, cure and ultimately prevent diseases by changing the expression of a person’s gene.
  2. It involves isolation, recombination and introduction of modified gene into germ line cells or somatic cells either by physical, chemical or biological methods.
  3. It provides a normal copy of a gene to the cells to synthesize required protein for normal physiological functions of the body.


Stem Cells:
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that are present in blood, liver, muscle and other specialized organs in body and have capacity to develop new cells in the body. Stem cells are of two types
  1. Human embryonic stem cell (HESCS)
  2. Adult stem cell.

HESCS are unique due to their capacity to develop other cells in the body, where as adult stem cells produces only one type of specialized cells. In this way, stem cells are used to develop the part of body like liver, brain, bone marrow and transplant that into patient suffering from such diseases. Stem cells are the potential renewable source for manufacturing of all cells and tissues of body and holds hope for the treatment of myriad diseases such as Parkinson’s diseases, Alzheimeis, Spinal cord injuries, diabetes, stroke etc.

Advantage for use of stem cells:


  1. It gives new life to patient without use of chemical molecules which gives toxic effect
  2. It obviates problem of tissue rejection.

However the stem cell research has become controversial as human embryos are to be destroyed for extracting of master cell. Even though, Britain has become the first country that allows the use of human embryo in stem cells research and the reproduction of human stem cells.

Self study:
Example-1: Name the country which has become the first to allow the use of human embryonic stem cells.
a)  United States
b)  Britain
c)  India
d)  Japan

Answer: Britain has become the first country that allows the use of human embryonic stem cells.


Example-2:  What is HESCS?
a)  Human Embryonic stem cells
b)  Human Engineering of Somatic cells
c)  Human Engineering of Systematic cells.
d)  None of above

Answer: HESCS means Human embryonic stem cells.


Example-3: Isolation, recombination and introduction of modified gene is studied under the …………………..
a)  Biotechnology
b)  Bioinformatics
c)  Gene therapy
d)  None of above

Answer: Isolation, recombination and introduction of modified gene is studied under the Gene therapy.


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