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  Section: General Biotechnology / Genes & Genetic Engineering
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Genetic Engineering for Human Welfare


Abatement of Pollution through Genetically Engineered Microorganisms

For detoxification and degradation of toxic chemicals, enzymes are encoded by specific genes present on plasmids. Chakraborty and coworkers (1979) succeeded in isolating the microbial culture which could utilize a number of organic chemicals, toxic in nature, such as salicylate, 2,4-D, 3 chlorobenzenes, ethylene, biphenyls, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, 2, 4, 5-trichlorophenoxy-acetic acid, etc. (Chatterjee et al, 1981; Kellogg et al., 1981).

  Creation of a superbug (Diagrammatic).  

Fig. 5.12. Creation of a superbug (Diagrammatic).


Genes responsible for degradation of environmental pollutants, for example, toluene, chlorobenzene acids, and other halogenated pesticides and toxic wastes have been identified. For every compound, one separate plasmid is required. It is not like that one plasmid can degrade all the toxic compounds of different groups. The plasmids are grouped into four categories:


OCT plasmid which degrades, octane, hexane and decane,


XYL plasmid which degrades xylene and toluenes,


CAM plasmid that decompose camphor, and


NAH plasmid which degrades naphthalene.

Dr Anand Mohan Chakrabarty (an Indian borne American scientist) produced a new product of genetic engineering called as superbug (oil eating bug) by introducing plasmids from different strains into a single cell of P. putida. This superbug is such that can degrade all the four types of substrates for which four separate plasmids were required (Fig 5.12).

The plasmids of P. putida degrading various chemical compounds are TOL (for toluene and xylene), RA500 (for 3,5-xylene) pAC 25 (for 3-cne chlorobenxoate), pKF439 (for salicylatetoluene). Plasmid WWO of P. putida is one member of a set of plasmids now termed as TOL plasmid. WWO is propagated in E. coli (Chatterjee et al, 1981; Kellogg et al 1981).

For a detail discussion see Environmental Biotechnology .



Cloned genes and production of chemicals


Human peptide hormone genes














Human interferon genes


Genes for vaccines



Vaccine for hepatitis-B virus



Vaccines for Rabies virus



Vaccines for poliovirus



Vaccine for foot and mouth disease virus



Vaccines for small pox virus



Malaria vaccines



DNA vaccines


Genes associated with genetic diseases














Enzyme engineering


Commercial chemicals

Prevention, diagnosis and cure of diseases


Prevention of diseases


Diagnosis of diseases



Parasitic diseases



Monoclonal antibodies



Antenatal diagnosis


Gene therapy



Types of gene therapy



Methods of gene therapy



Success of gene therapy



Potential of gene delivering system



Future needs of gene therapy in India

DNA profiling (fingerprinting)


Methods of DNA profiling


Application of DNA profiling



Genetic databank



Reuniting the lost children



Solving disputed problems of parentage, identity of criminals, rapists, etc



Immigrant dispute


Hurdles of DNA profiling

Animal and plant improvement


Transgenic Farm Animals


Crop Improvements



Transgenic plants



Nif gene transfer



Phaseolin gene transfer



Conversion of C3 plants to C4 plants



Herbicide resistant plants



Insect pest resistant plants



Plant improvement through genetic transformation


Crop Protection



Use of antagonists



Use of insecticides

Abatement of pollution



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