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Kathleen Morrison-Inquiry Project

Kathleen Morrison-Inquiry Project

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Published by: Kathleen Morrison on Dec 05, 2012
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Morrison 1Kathleen MorrisonInstructor: Malcolm CampbellEnglish 1103Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Genetic Engineering Advancements Leading to Super Humans or Split Society?
Have you ever looked into the mirror and noticed the similarities between yourself andyour parents? This is because you are a mixture of the genetic makeup given to you by yourMother and Father. What if, in the future, when someone looked at themselves they noticed nosimilarities between how they look and how their parents look because they were given the
“desired” traits. What if you never got sick or hurt? Genetic engineering is evolving
, it hasbecome more popular in certain crops to make them grow faster and be resistant to pesticides.Not only has it become popular in plants, but animals and humans as well. What couldadvancements in genetic engineering hold for the human race in the future? A possible answer isa new race or a split in society of haves and have-nots.Before genetic engineering became known there was a question of what held ourhereditary material. In the year 1869, Friedrich Miescher discovered DNA. He used cloths
stained in soldier’s blood to study the proteins within white blood cells. White blood cells are
cells a part of the immune system that digests bacterium. While examining the protein s he cameacross something unfamiliar, nucleic acid (DNA). After the research of Miescher, PhoebusLevene continued the investigation by studying the structure of DNA.
 
Morrison 1Levene is credited with many firsts. For instance, he was the first todiscover the order of the three major components of a singlenucleotide(phosphate-sugar-base); the first to discover the carbohydratecomponent of RNA(ribose); the first to discover the carbohydratecomponent of DNA(deoxyribose); and the first to correctly identify theway RNA and DNA molecules are put together.(Americanradio)Erwin Chargoff furthered the research and determined that the same nitrogenous basesalways paired up with each other. Adenine + Thymine and Cytosine + Guanine. Then, in the year1953 all of this data was compiled by James Watson and Francis Crick to create a model of DNAstructure. The structure is a double helix that can be explained as being a ladder. The rails of theladders are sugar and phosphates, which alternate, and the steps are nitrogen-containing basesheld together by hydrogen bonds (Figure 1). This discovery helped to guide scientists to DNA
splicing. This is the procedure of “cutting” out a section of DNA and placing it into another 
organism.Figure 1
 
Morrison 1Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer used the model made by Crick and Watson to proceedwith gene splicing (Figure 2)
in 1973. This technique “laid the foundations for today’s moderngenetic engineering industry.” (thinkquest). Not only was the model important in the evolution of genetic engineering but Gregor Mendel’s genetic theory as well. Mendel studied the theory of 
 how characteristics are inherited. Through his study he examined pea plants, he determinedthrough observation that differentversions of the same gene result invariation. He also determined thateach organism inherits two genes,one from each parent. The scientistsin Europe used this information tobreed two plants together to producedesired traits.To fully understand genetic
engineering you must understand your genetic “makeup”. Humans are composed of 46 pairs of 
chromosomes. Chromosomes are strands of DNA that carry genetic material. 23 of thesechromosomes are given from your Mother while the other 23 from your Father. 22 pairs of chromosomes are autosomes (regular chromosomes which transmit genetic traits) and the other 2pairs are sex chromosomes (XX-female, XY-male). You are given two alleles (alternate versionsof a gene), one from your Mother and one from your Father. Which of the two is expressed isdetermined through dominance. A trait that is dominant will appear over a trait that is recessive.For example, in eye colour you may receive a gene for blue eyes while your father gives you agene coding for brown eyes. Since brown is dominant over blue, you will have brown eyes. ThisFigure 2

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