What are the uses of Recombinant DNA technology ?
Recombinant DNA technology is the process of joining together of DNA molecules from two different species that are inserted into a host organism to produce new genetic combinations that are of value to science, medicine, agriculture, industry and so on….
USES OF RECOMBINANT DNA TECHNOLOGY:
The three important uses are:
(1) Applications in Crop Improvement
(2) Applications in Medicines
(3) Industrial Applications.
(1) Applications in Crop Improvement:
Recombinant technology has several potential uses in crop improvement as listed below:
- Distant Hybridization:
With the advancement of recombinant technology, it is now possible to transfer genes between distantly related species. The valuable genes can be transferred from lower organisms to higher organisms through recombinant DNA technology.
- Production of Transgenic Plants:
Transgenic plants are genetically transformed plants which contain foreign genes.
These examples explained below can be achieved through this recombinant DNA technology:
-Resistance to diseases, insects and pests, herbicides, drought
– metal toxicity tolerance
– induction of male sterility for plant breeding purpose
– improvement of quality , for example: BT-cotton.
- Production of Root Nodules in Cereal Crops:
Leguminous plants have root-nodules which contain nitrogen fixing bacteria called Rhizobium. It converts the free atmospheric nitrogen into nitrates in the root nodules. The bacterial genes which is responsible for this nitrogen fixation can be transferred now to cereal crops like wheat, rice, maize, barley etc. through the techniques of recombinant technology and making these crops capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen.
- Making of C4 Plants:
By improving the photosynthetic efficiency of crop plants leads to improvement in yield. The rate of photosynthesis can be increased by conversion of C3 plants into C4 plants
It can be achieved either by protoplasm fusion or recombinant DNA technology. C4 plants have higher potential rate of biomass production than C3 plants.
(2) Applications in Medicines:
Biotechnology, especially recombinant DNA technology play an important role in the production of antibiotics, hormones, vaccines and interferon.
- Production of Antibiotics:
Penicillium and Streptomyces fungi are used for production antibiotics penicillin and streptomycin respectively. Genetically efficient strains of these fungi have been developed to increase the yield of antibiotics.
- Production of Hormone Insulin:
Insulin hormone which used by diabetes, is extracted from pancreas of cows and pigs. This insulin has slight different structure from human insulin. Therefore can cause allergic reactions in about 5% patients. Human gene for insulin production has been transferred into bacterial DNA and this genetically engineered bacteria are used for large scale production of insulin.
- Production of Vaccines:
Now vaccines are produced by transfer of antigen coding genes to disease causing bacteria. These antibodies provide protection against the infection by the same bacteria or virus.
- Production of Interferon:
Interferons are virus-induced proteins which are produced by virus-infected cells. Interferon act as first line of defense against viruses causing infections, including breast cancer and lymph nodes malignancy. Natural interferon is produced in very small quality from human blood cells and is very costly also. It is now possible to produce interferon by recombinant DNA technology at cheaper rate.
- Production of Enzymes:
Some enzymes can also be produced by recombinant DNA technique. For example , enzyme urikinase, is used to dissolve blood clots and has been produced by genetically engineered microorganisms.
- Gene Therapy:
Recombinant technology is used to replace the defective genes responsible for hereditary diseases (e.g., haemophilia, phenylketonuria, alkaptonuria) with normal genes. This system of therapy is called gene therapy.
- Solution of Disputed Parentage:
Cases of parentage which are disputed as well can now be solved most accurately by recombinant technology than by blood tests.
- Diagnosis of Disease:
Recombinant DNA technology has provided a effective tools in the diagnosis of diseases. Most of these involve the construction of probes: short Segments of single stranded DNA attached to a radioactive or fluorescent marker. Such probes are now used for identification of infectious agents, for instance, food poisoning Salmonella, Pus forming Staphylococcus, hepatitis virus, HIV, etc. By testing the DNA of prospective genetic disorder carrier parents, their genotype can be determined and their chances of producing an afflicted child can be predicted.
- Production of Transgenic Animals:
Animals that carry foreign genes are called transgenic animals.
For example :
Cow, sheep, goat – therapeutic; human proteins in their milk. Fish such as common carp, cat fish, salmon and gold fish contain human growth hormone (hGH).
(3) Industrial Applications:
In industries recombinant DNA technique has tremendous used. This technology will help in the production of chemical compounds of commercial importance, improvement of existing fermentation processes and production of proteins from wastes. It can be achieved by developing more efficient strains of microorganisms. Specially developed microorganisms can also be used to clean up the pollutants. Thus we can say, biotechnology, especially recombinant DNA technology has many useful applications in crop improvement, medicines and industry.