A genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically engineered organism (GEO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques are generally known as recombinant DNA technology. With this technology, DNA molecules from different sources are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes. This DNA is then transferred into an organism, giving it modified or novel traits.
Examples of GMOs are highly diverse, and include transgenic (genetically modified by recombinant DNA methods) animals such as mice, fish, transgenic plants, or various microbes, such as fungi and bacteria. The generation and use of GMOs has many reasons, chief among them are their use in research that addresses fundamental or applied questions in biology or medicine, for the production of pharmaceuticals and industrial enzymes, and for direct, and often controversial, applications aimed at improving human health (e.g., gene therapy) or agriculture (e.g., golden rice). The term "genetically modified organism" does not always imply, but can include, targeted insertions of genes from one into another species. For example, a gene from a jellyfish, encoding a fluorescent protein called GFP, can be physically linked and thus co-expressed with mammalian genes to identify the location of the protein encoded by the GFP-tagged gene in the mammalian cell. These and other methods are useful and indispensable tools for biologists in many areas of research, including those that study the mechanisms of human and other diseases or fundamental biological processes in eukaryotic or prokaryotic cells.
For More Information: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
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