Genetically Engineering Cotton for Insect Resistance Essay

Genetically Engineering Cotton for Insect Resistance Essay

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Genetically Engineering Cotton for Insect Resistance

The DNA code mostly contains instructions for protein synthesis. The code is read in groups of three nucleotides and each triplet of nucleotides codes for one of the twenty amino acids which link together in a polypeptide chain to form a protein. The code is universal, so the same code applies in nearly all living organisms. Some triplets have special functions and direct protein synthesis to start or stop. Protein synthesis occurs in ribosomes where a copy of the gene coding for a protein (mRNA) is translated to produce a protein. Some proteins may be consist of several polypeptide chains and the genes required to do this are collectively called a transcription unit.
Fig. 2 Diagram showing how genes code for proteins

Bacterium also contain small circular loops of DNA called plasmids which are not essential to the bacterium but can be useful in certain environmental conditions such as resistance to antibiotics. Because bacterium are prokaryotic and don't have a nucleus plasmids are easy to obtain in pure form and can be introduced into other cells. Plasmids are also capable of independent self-replication, which makes them useful in multiplying useful DNA.
Bacteria also produce restriction enzymes, which can cut DNA at specific base sequences. Different restriction enzymes cut different base sequences and some make staggered cuts which leaves unpaired DNA ("sticky ends") and other cut leaving no unpaired DNA ("blunt ends").

Techniques used in genetically engineering cotton for insect resistance
The first step in inserting the Bt gene into the cotton plant is determining the Bt protein's amino acid sequence. Using the principles of the genetic code it ...

... middle of paper ...

...rce and Activity Manual, Tutor Courseware, 1997
ANDERSON, Ian, Killer cotton stalks pests, New Scientist, 7/10/98
BAILY Jim, Genetics and evolution, Andromeda Oxford Ltd., Oxfordshire, 1995
EVANS Babara K. et al, Biology Two: 2nd edition, Heinemann Educational Australia, 1995, pg. 238
HERINGTON Jenny, Interview with Dr Marilyn Anderson, Internet WWW page, at URL:, (version current at 17/7/98)
HERINGTON Jenny, Interview with Dr Gideon Polya, Internet WWW page, at URL:, (version current at 27/7/98)
LLEWELLYN Danny and FITT Gary, GMAC -- PR36 Public Information Sheet, Internet WWW page, at URL:, (version current at 3/8/98)
MESTEL Rosie, Cotton patent left hanging by a thread, New Scientist, 17/12/98

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