3. Therapeutic Use of Cells

What you need to know...
  • What is genetic engineering?
  • What are some useful products of genetic engineering?
  • To investigate other therapeutic examples such as stem cell technology or using cells to grow artificial organs.
The genetic code is common to all forms of life
One of the most amazing things about life on earth is that all life uses the same DNA code to store its information and make proteins.
Because all life uses the same DNA code, we can now take DNA from one species and add it into another species. We can use this to create species with new characteristics or which make new proteins for our benefit.


Genetic Engineering

This process of genetic engineering is revolutionising science and medicine.

Scientists have already used genetic engineering to create glow in the dark pigs, tomatoes that do not rot, crops that are resistant to pests and more.

People are often surprised, however, that one of the most common organisms to genetically modify are bacteria.

Bacteria are useful because they are relatively simple to modify, they grow and multiply easily, and can quickly produce lots of a particular protein. We have seen in class that bacteria can be used to quickly produce important proteins that some people are not able to produce naturally. Examples include growth hormone for people with genetic dwarfism, factor VIII for people with haemophilia and insulin for people with diabetes.