Genetic engineering

Genetic engineering refers to a set of technologies that are being used today to alter the genetic makeup of cells, and to move genes across species boundaries to produce novel ‘transgenic’ organisms. The technologies involve highly sophisticated manipulation both of genetic material and other biologically important chemicals.

Genes are the chemical blueprints that determine an organism’s traits — i.e. how it looks, functions and behaves. By moving genes from one organism to another it is possible to transfer traits.

This means that genetic engineers can create organisms with combinations of genes/traits that would not develop naturally.
One strand of a DNA helix contains many genes. Photo: Rothamstedt Experimental Station