What are the most significant applications of recombinant DNA technology?
Recombinant DNA is used for a wide range of applications that improve people’s lives. From preventing diseases and improving food production, to helping solve crimes, DNA plays a huge role in the world around us.
The most common application of recombinant DNA is genetic engineering, which involves modifying or interacting with genes to strengthen their characteristics or create new organisms. Genetic engineering allows scientists to produce recombinant antibodies, which are key in medical diagnostics and therapies.
A good example of this is the hepatitis B vaccine. To make it, recombinant DNA is used to add a hepatitis B surface antigen to yeast cells. The yeast cells then grow and produce large amounts of the recombinant antibody. The recombinant antibody can then be used to test for hepatitis B in blood samples.
Another recombinant DNA application is the identification of DNA evidence. Police departments across the country have successfully used DNA to link suspects in murder and robbery cases. In one case, a New York City detective used DNA evidence to connect a man to a string of 22 rapes and robberies.
The technology is also being used to modify crops to improve their nutritional content and resistance to disease and environmental stresses. However, concerns have been raised about the impact of this on crop diversity and the potential for modified bacteria to escape from laboratories. In addition, many of the early transgenic animal experiments produced animals with a variety of unexpected side effects.