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


Animal and Plant Improvement

Transgenic Farm Animals
Production of transgenic animals through microinjection techniques will play a significant role in veterinary sciences as well as for human welfare. A farm animal can produce milk containing tens of gram of protein per liter, many times more than a liter of bacterial culture. The possibility of producing human pharmaceutical demonstrated when lactating mice secreted the active tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) in their milk. The t-PA is an enzymes which dissolves the blood clots responsible for coronary artery blockage that results in heart failure. John Me Pherson at Genzyme Co., in collaboration with K. Elbert and colleagues of Tuft University produced the first transgenic goat by using a goat beta-casein promoter gene linked to t-PA gene. The transgenic goat produced t-PA in quantities as compared to cell culture derived material. But goat peptide is slightly different from the culture derived t-PA. The goat peptide has two chains of peptide, whereas a single chain peptide was found in culture derived t-PA. Therefore, much work is needed in future.

Recently, Pharmaceutical Proteins Ltd. has made contract with Bayer Co. (Germany) to produce alpha-1 antitrypsin by using transgenic sheep. Alpha-1 antitrypsin, a glycoprotein, has now been approved in the U.S.A. as a replacement therapy. The scientists are of the opinion that about 12 kg sheep/lactation alpha-1 antitrypsin can be produced.

Production of transgenic cow has also been demonstrated in the Netherlands but unsuccessful. The eggs of cow collected from ovaries from slaughter houses were fertilized in vitro and microinjected with transgenes containing lactiferous gene. The embryos were implanted in the uterus of surrogate mothers. Out of 102 injected embryos, 21 animals were pregnant and 10 calves were borne. Two of these, one male and the other female, carried transgene. The male showed the presence of lactoferrin gene but not the female. A male never gives out milk. Till the animal secretes milk, the experiment is incomplete. But this experiment has given a hope for future.

Caseins are the major proteins of the milk. By transferring genetically manipulated casein genes to farm animals, the texture of cheese and heat stable dairy products can be improved. Casein genes have already been cloned and introduced into bovine genome.

Recently, T.J. Pandian and colleagues of Madurai Kamraj University have succeed in producing transgenic fishes by microinjecting growth hormone gene (human or bovine). A fish produces a large number of eggs at a time. It is much easier to work on eggs for gene manipulation. In developing countries like India, where majority of people suffer from malnutrition, the aquaculture programmes can be intensified for production on a large scale of good quality fishes.



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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