Recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) technology facilitates the creation and engineering of DNA variations from numerous species. Although recombinant DNA has become the go-to for scientific research nowadays, its history began in the 1970s. For most, it was regarded as the most exciting creation since the development of transistors (products released 20 to 30 years earlier).
The advantages of recombinant DNA can’t be overemphasized in the healthcare system. This stellar technology has engineered the development of insulin, growth hormones, monoclonal antibodies, and antibiotics. Recombinant DNA technology has also fostered the creation of multiple recombinant protein production services committed to curating efficient treatment modes for a vast array of illnesses.
In the subsequent paragraphs, we’ll cover the advantages of recombinant DNA technology and why it has become a focal point in humanity.
Recombinant DNA Development
Although the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) concept came to the fore in 1953, recombinant DNA made its way to the scene in the 1970s. However, this was no coincidence, and the rise of recombinant DNA technology came from the discovery that plasmids — little bits of DNA — could replicate into large quantities without the chromosomal bacteria DNA structure and transfer genetic data accordingly.
But uncovering this plasmid attribute wasn’t the only thing that facilitated recombinant DNA technology. In the 1960s, Werner Arber (Swiss microbiologist) and Stuart Linn (American biochemist) discovered that bacteria could shield themselves from viruses by producing a unique restriction enzyme — endonucleases. These enzymes would cut viruses precisely and place them in one place, thereby preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria death.
This discovery would lead to the isolation and purification of the first restriction enzyme — Escherichia coli K — by Robert Yarn and Matthew Malselson at Harvard University (1968).
The early 1970s saw the first recombinant DNA creation protocol, developed by Peter Lobban and Armin Dale Kaiser, put forward to Stanford University Medical School. In 1971, a Stanford University attendee, Paul Berg, demonstrated the novel possibility of separating and recombining genes. Two years on, Stanley Cohen (University of California) and Herbert Boyer (Stanford University) successfully integrated recombinant DNA for seamless bacteria replication.
Advantages of Recombinant DNA Technology
Recombinant DNA has a truckload of history to back up its affluence. Here are some notable advantages facilitated by recombinant DNA technology:
Mutations are the root causes of severe genetic conditions like cystic fibrosis and acquired life-threatening illnesses such as cancer. Recombinant DNA technology stands out as a valid treatment form as its replication process can precisely detect mutated genes.
When recombinant DNA is injected into the patient’s bloodstream, it seeks out the healthy gene and makes several copies of it. Afterward, defective genes become healthy, and the person begins to function normally.
Recently, the world was ravaged by COVID-19. Although it didn’t make the news, recombinant DNA was at the epicenter of vaccine creation. When recombinant DNA is injected into the body, it identifies the foreign gene and immediately feeds proteins to it via plasmids.
These proteins are crucial as they boost the body’s immune system and target the illness-causing antigens. If the DNA produced by a recombinant protein expression service is used to treat illnesses, they prove cost-effective and efficient in the long run.
Acts as a Fertility Booster
Worldwide, infertility has become a nagging issue for most women. However, recombinant DNA technology sets the records straight by producing hormones that can facilitate childbearing.
Notable hormone variations like the recombinant human follicle stimulating hormone (r-hFSH) and recombinant luteinizing hormone (r-hLH) are crucial for increased ovulation function and follicular maturation — bodily attributes necessary for childbearing.
Recombinant DNA technology has proven advantageous in the creation of genetically-modified plants. The presence of recombinant DNA in a plant’s genome generates resistance to insects and other harmful substances.
A typical example of recombinant DNA technology infusion in plants is the BT Corn. This genetically-modified crop has a gene that generates internal insecticides — bacillus thuringiensis. When a pest eats BT Corn, they die immediately.
Moving on, other plants can survive and thrive in the harshest conditions. Scientists have also designed plants that can yield fruits in the face of severe droughts via recombinant DNA technology.
However, recombinant DNA technology extends its benefits to livestock. Like the mammalian recombinant protein expression process, cows are injected with a hormone called bovine somatotropin — vital in boosting milk production.
Although recombinant DNA technology might seem significant in cancer treatment, this technique also comes in handy for diabetes treatment. Most recombinant protein expression service agencies can develop lab-made insulin similar to those created in the body’s pancreas.
Recombinant DNA technology is here to stay. Its advantages are numerous, ranging from disease treatment to food cultivation. But with science improving rapidly, the next big thing could happen in a fortnight. Till then, recombinant DNA will lead the way.
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