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University of Bristol
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GM Proteins

Now that the Human Genome Project has identified all human genes, it is possible through genetic engineering technology, by modifying various organisms, to produce specific human proteins, which can then be used for various research and treatment purposes. Examples of this include insulin, for the treatment of diabetes, human growth hormone, for the treatment of development disorders and collagen, for the treatment of skin and connective tissue problems.

Recombinant DNA technology

  • Once the DNA sequence of the gene is known, restriction enzymes are used to cut that gene from the length of DNA.
  • The gene is inserted into a bacterial plasmid (small, circular, self-replicating extra pieces of DNA in normal bacterial cells).
  • The recombinant plasmid is transferred to a bacterial cell, which starts to synthesise the protein for which the new gene codes. This is known as bacterial transformation.

In 1982, a licence was granted for the use in treatment of human diabetes of insulin produced by bacterial transformation. Nowadays most human insulin is made in this way.


Although it seemed to be a great step forward in the treatment of diabetes, not all diabetics get on well with GM insulin, and need insulin produced from animals. Research  the pros and cons from the point of view of the diabetics themselves.
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Artemis 23-02-09 11:24
As a long-term strict vegetarian I don't think that chymosin qualifies as non-vegetarian. The whole purpose of the lifestyle is to avoid hurting animals or supporting an industry whereby animals are cruelly treated before being slaughtered. This is the case with rennet; calves are taken from mothers who are forced to rapidly produce at most 8 calves before being slaughtered as they have become inviable.

Chymosin is an ethical alternative which is improving drastically the life quality of cows and calves in the UK, and for that reason is vegetarian.
NOT RATED lidz 13-05-10 12:45
this person hurt me inside slightly. Please DELETE that comment.I have never been a vegetarian and I dont like them. So leave me alone and I dont know what im saying now but it seems relevant.
NOT RATED Veggie 24-09-12 15:47
Er... Excuse me I am a vegetarian and I LOVE cows.
NOT RATED I agree 24-09-12 15:49
I agree
20-08-15 03:53
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Part of an AAT molecule

Although genetic modification of bacteria relies on natural gene transfer methods, the range of genes that it is possible to transfer is much wider than would occur naturally. What are the pros and cons of interfering with nature at this most basic level?

Nobody expects the Health and Safety Executive!

In the UK the Health and Safety Executive may inspect at any time a laboratory where GM experiments are being carries out.