Virtual Genetics Education Centre

Recombinant DNA and genetic techniques

Increasingly scientists are using new molecular techniques to investigate the structure and function of DNA. Whole genes and parts of genes can be extracted from chromosomes, linked to other DNA molecules to form recombinant DNA and introduced into living cells.

In a process known as gene cloning, the host cell's biochemical processes are used to make many copies of the inserted gene and the protein it codes for.

These technologies have produced transgenicplants and animals; where a gene from one species is introduced into another species. Transgenics have brought the possibility of specific gene therapies for human diseases such as diabetes.

Genomics attempts to understand the genome of a species as a whole, including mapping the complete nucleotide sequence for every gene. The most ambitious of these projects is the Human Genome Project, which has mapped every gene on every chromosome in the human genome.

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