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The Importance Genetic Engineering And Biotechnology

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The purpose of my essay is to address the importance of deepening our understanding within genetic engineering and application of biotechnology, in particular the application of CRISPR and how it can be used to treat genetic disease. This is done through the conjunction of a secondary review article about the ethical and social issues regarding genetic engineering and a primary research article detailing an example within the secondary article in more depth. A secondary article provides us with a wide range of research and studies whereas a primary article includes original research through the use of experiments and scientific reports. Neither is better but instead they contribute to one’s own research and opinions around a specific topic, in this case Genetic engineering and biotechnology focusing on the application of CRISPR.

The secondary article titled, “Cutting edges and weaving threads in the gene editing revolution: reconciling scientific progress with legal, ethical and social concerns” written by A.Nordberg, T.Minssen, S.Holm, M.Horst, K.Morensen, and B.Lingberg Moller was published in the Journal of law and Biosciences, January 18 2018. The article is written from a European perspective but for a global audience and is a joint research project with contributions by various groups such as lawyers, biologists, philosophers, social scientists and physicists. The article details applications and examples of genetic engineering using the applications of biotechnology in particular Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic repeats (CRISPR), (an example using mosquitos is detailed further later in the essay). It focuses on the recent advances and breakthroughs of biotechnology, which is a technology involving the use of a living organism in order to modify or create a new product and through genetic engineering we are able to see the direction towards eradicating or preventing genetic diseases. Due to this being a relatively new topic, the article proposes different opinions, regarding the legal, ethical and social challenges through debates, legislations, recitals from the Biotechnology Directive, and scientific research and opinion. The main purpose is highlighting the main conundrum within using this advanced technology is that human dignity and integrity should be protected and that just because we can it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is ethically and morally correct.

The Review article is from the Journal of Law and the Biosciences and the editors- in- chief N.arahany, H.Greely and G.Cohen and is joint work between the Duke University, Harvard University Law School and Stanford University, published by Oxford University press. The journal focuses on the interaction between Biosciences and Law containing original and review articles on diverse range of topics such as bioethics, genetics, biotechnology, stem cells, patent law, food and drug regulation. As the journal is published worldwide from a University department, it involves mainly university level research therefore the main audience would be University students studying or interested in the areas of biosciences, bioethics and law. Biosciences is a collection of sciences that deal with living organisms from molecules to populations including, nutrition, botany, zoology, genetics, microbiology and molecular biology. The study of bioethics involves the debate regarding the protection of human nature medical research and advanced applications technologies are ethically and morally correct and safe to future generations.

The primary research paper found from the review article titled, A CRISPR- Cas9 gene drive system targeting female reproduction in the malaria mosquito vector Anopheles Gambiae written by A.Hammond, R.Galizi, K.Kyrou and many more. It involved the identification of three genes- AGAP00598, AGAP011377 and AGAP007280 which grant a recessive female- sterility phenotype when disrupted which was then inserted into each locus CRISPR- Cas9 gene drive constructs. These gene drive systems have the potential to select specific genes to be inherited and passed along more frequently than others. This idea would be used to target and edit each of these genes to limit the transmission of these genes. The process of CRISPR has made the process of engineering nucleases that can split specific genomic sequences much simpler. The aim of the experimental research is to use CRISPR- Cas9 to slow development of gene drive systems to help with the control of insect vectors of disease with the hypothesis being that when targeting and the confinement of homing a germline it should lead to a super- mendelian inheritance within a somatic female fertility gene it will reduce the number of fertile females. It was important to house the mosquitos in a containment facility due to the potential for them to show gene drive activity.

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The experiment was undertaken by utilising CRISPR- cas9 nuclease and TALENS to selectively disrupt coding sequence and analyse the suitability of these genes through reproductive phenotypes. Drosophila, fruit flies were used as models on the basis of gene expression and its head, carcass, testis and ovary were ranked accordingly. PRC was used to confirm the targeted loci as well as those homozygous and heterozygous. The mosquitos then were mated to an equal number of wild- type mosquitoes (WT) for 5 days and for each female, eggs and larvae were counted. 16 of the larvaes were screened for the expression of the GFP using a Nikon inverted fluorescence microscope, where the presence of GFP confirmed heterozygotes. Females who did provide larvae were dissected and looked at under the microscope to see where there was presence of sperm and those that didn’t mate were excluded from the experiment. This was repeated for a number of generations and results recorded.

The results were measured by the homing rate, which is the proportion of non- Crispr alleles converted to CRISPRh in the gametes which showed that these rates were high in both genders. In females the allele AGAP011377 had 4.6% of the larvae be WT, 9.3% of WT for AGAP007280 and lastly AGAP005958 did not have a single larvae from females heterozygous for CRISPRh. The trends of the results were that homozygous females carried two disrupted alleles of either AGAP005958 or AGAP011377 and failed to lay eggs, whereas homozygous mutant females at AGAP007280 laid eggs that didn’t hatch. In males they were heterozygous for CRISPRh allele showed normal fertility. Generation 1 had transmission rates of 94.4%- 100% for Super- mendelian inheritance of the RFP- marked crispr allele whereas Generation 2 had high rates ranging from 87.3%-99.3% across all 3 target genes. However there was more variability across mosquito generations over time. Therefore the findings in the report could speed the development of gene drives and slow the population levels of mosquitos to levels that don’t support the transmission of malaria.

The secondary article details the uses and application of the Biotechnology, CRISPR and benefits that it has to the society and future generations. One benefit that it has is the ability to genetically engineer mosquitos to modify their genes resulting in its ability to resist the parasite that causes malaria and possibly combating the disease entirely. This is explicitly explained further in the primary article which addresses the method and results of an experiment regarding this. Therefore by utilising the primary article, the secondary article is able to utilise the research done by other scientists in order to contribute to their own research and perspectives written through their review article. The primary article is just one example of a piece of research that helped the authors create this review article regarding the issues, perspectives and opinions regarding the topics of genetic engineerings and biotechnology focusing on application of CRISPR

Therefore through the use of the two types of scientific journals, we can clearly see that not only are they related but the primary article did in fact contribute to the research and perspectives written throughout the review article. If we read only one type of article we would not nearly know as much information than we do now because we were able to read and articulate both articles. The primary articles provide the groundwork, experimental data and research regarding the topic however the secondary article lays out various legal, social and ethical issues regarding these new technologies. Once reading both we are able to both learn about the application of CRISPR and build upon our own opinion regarding human integrity and benefits to both present and future generations.



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The Importance Genetic Engineering And Biotechnology. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
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