Q: Recombinant DNA

Keith Robison robison at lipid.harvard.edu
Wed Dec 13 10:23:35 EST 1995

Tim Taylor (timt at aisb.ed.ac.uk) wrote:
: I'm interested in the question of whether it is possible to implant
: recombinant DNA which has been engineered to, say, produce insulin,
: into an organism so that the new ability will be maintained by future
: generations of the organism 

Yes. Mice, fruit flies, plants, etc can be stably transformed so
that the recombinant DNA behaves as a simple Mendelian trait.
The recombinant DNA either segregates separately from the other
genes (as a plasmid or artificial chromosome) or is integrated
in the chromosome.  

: in an evolutionarily stable manner. 

That, of course, is a different fish -- whether the new material
confers a long-term advantage or disadvantage in the wild isn't
readily obvious.  This is, of course, a significant concern --
it may not be desirable for human-modified species to survive
in the wild.

You could probably find a good article in Scientific American,
New Scientist, American Scientist, etc. by doing a literature
search for "transgenic".

Keith Robison
Harvard University
Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
Department of Genetics / HHMI

robison at mito.harvard.edu 

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