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Career In Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification or genetic manipulation, is the direct manipulation of an organism's genes using biotechnology. It is a set of technologies used to change the genetic makeup of cells, including the transfer of genes within and across species boundaries to produce improved or novel organisms. New DNA is obtained by either isolating and copying the genetic material of interest using recombinant DNA methods or by artificially synthesising the DNA. A construct is usually created and used to insert this DNA into the host organism. The first recombinant DNA molecule was made by Paul Berg in 1972 by combining DNA from the monkey virus SV40 with the lambda virus. As well as inserting genes, the process can be used to remove, or "knock out", genes. The new DNA can be inserted randomly, or targeted to a specific part of the genome.

An organism that is generated through genetic engineering is considered to be genetically modified (GM) and the resulting entity is a genetically modified organism (GMO). The first GMO was a bacterium generated by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen in 1973. Rudolf Jaenisch created the first GM animal when he inserted foreign DNA into a mouse in 1974. The first company to focus on genetic engineering, Genentech, was founded in 1976 and started the production of human proteins. Genetically engineered human insulin was produced in 1978 and insulin-producing bacteria were commercialised in 1982. Genetically modified food has been sold since 1994, with the release of the Flavr Savr tomato. The Flavr Savr was engineered to have a longer shelf life, but most current GM crops are modified to increase resistance to insects and herbicides. GloFish, the first GMO designed as a pet, was sold in the United States in December 2003. In 2016 salmon modified with a growth hormone were sold.

Genetic engineering has been applied in numerous fields including research, medicine, industrial biotechnology and agriculture. In research GMOs are used to study gene function and expression through loss of function, gain of function, tracking and expression experiments. By knocking out genes responsible for certain conditions it is possible to create animal model organisms of human diseases. As well as producing hormones, vaccines and other drugs genetic engineering has the potential to cure genetic diseases through gene therapy. The same techniques that are used to produce drugs can also have industrial applications such as producing enzymes for laundry detergent, cheeses and other products.

The rise of commercialised genetically modified crops has provided economic benefit to farmers in many different countries, but has also been the source of most of the controversy surrounding the technology. This has been present since its early use; the first field trials were destroyed by anti-GM activists. Although there is a scientific consensus that currently available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food, GM food safety is a leading concern with critics. Gene flow, impact on non-target organisms, control of the food supply and intellectual property rights have also been raised as potential issues. These concerns have led to the development of a regulatory framework, which started in 1975. It has led to an international treaty, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, that was adopted in 2000. Individual countries have developed their own regulatory systems regarding GMOs, with the most marked differences occurring between US a Europe.

What do they do

Genetic engineering comprises multiple techniques for the intentional manipulation of genetic material (primarily deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA) to alter, repair, or enhance form or function. Recombinant DNA technologies, developed in the latter half of the twentieth century, include the chemical splicing (recombination) of different strands of DNA generally using either bacteria (such as Escherichia coli) or bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria, such as λ phage), or by direct microinjection. In recent years, these traditional tools have been supplemented by new techniques to design and build – literally, to engineer – novel life forms, generally referred to as synthetic biology.

Genetic engineering, writ large, raises a number of significant ethical issues. In agriculture, for instance, ethicists have highlighted potential human health hazards associated with genetically modified crops and livestock, as well as normative concerns about the treatment of animals and the ecological consequences of genetic engineering. In medicine, there has been significant ethical controversy about the putative distinction between protocols meant to restore function and those meant to enhance function beyond species-typical norms. Additionally, ethicists have attended to the potential human health risks associated with germ-line genetic engineering, as distinct from somatic genetic engineering. Finally, in the context of reproduction, ethicists have argued that genetic engineering raises ethical issues involving the screening and manipulation of embryos to eliminate or introduce various medical and/or cosmetic characteristics.

In relation to public health specifically, genetic engineering raises additional ethical issues concerning not only the potential societal consequences of genetic engineering, but also the wisdom of genetic manipulation of plants, animals, and humans. In pursuit of the goals of health promotion and illness prevention, public health initiatives have traditionally sought to improve sanitation, ensure the availability of clean water, and identify the source of, and develop vaccines for, infectious disease. But with the development of genetic engineering techniques and the sequencing of the genomes of plants and animals (including humans), the scope of possible public health interventions has increased dramatically – but so too have the threats to public health.

Genetic engineering, also called recombinant DNA technology, involves the group of techniques used to cut up and join together genetic material, especially DNA from different biological species, and to introduce the resulting hybrid DNA into an organism in order to form new combinations of heritable genetic material. These achievements led to concerns in the scientific community about potential risks from genetic engineering. To address these concerns, a meeting was held in 1974 at the Asilomar Conference Center in California. The conference was a milestone in the development of social awareness and of public responsibility among scientists. A few of the innovators of the new technology realized its commercial potential and established private biotechnology companies. One of the first to do this was Boyer who founded Genentech Inc. The company developed the production of human insulin in bacteria. Genetically engineered human insulin has provided a reliable, expandable, and constant supply for diabetics around the world. The methods for genetically engineering bacteria, plants, and animals are discussed, as well as the arguments, pro and con, for GM plant and animal products.

Preferable Institution

Applications of Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering is used in medicine, research, industry and agriculture and can also be used on a wide range of plants, animals and micro organisms.Medicine – Genetic engineering in the field of medicine is used in manufacturing drugs. The concepts of genetic engineering have been applied in doing laboratory research and in gene therapy.

Bachelor Courses:

 Bachelor of Engineering in Genetic Engineering

 Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Genetic Engineering

B.Sc in Genetic Engineering

Master Courses:

 Master of Engineering in Genetic Engineering

 Master of Technology (M.Tech) in Genetic Engineering

M.Sc in Genetic Engineering


Here, we are mentioning some specializations available in genetic engineering.

 Clinical genetics

 Behavioral genetics

 Classical genetics

 Genomics

 Population, quantitative and ecological genetics

 Molecular genetics

 Genetic algorithms


For admission in UG courses, students must have passed 12th Science exam. In India, most of the colleges give admission on the basis of ranks secured in JEE Main 2020. Joint Entrance Examination Main (JEE Main) is usually conducted in the month of April. Some institutions also provides admission on merit basis. For IITs, it is necessary for students to qualify JEE Advanced 2020 after clearing JEE Main.

For admission in PG courses, students should hold a bachelor degree in genetic engineering from any recognized university. Mostly GATE 2020 score card will be considered for admission in pg courses. On the basis of GATE scores, candidates can apply for admission in Master of Engineering/ Master of Technology courses.

Top colleges which offers various courses in genetic engineering:

 Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

 Indian Institute of Science, (IISc), Bangalore

 Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

 Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

 All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

 Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore


How much salary should I expect as a genetic engineering?

Salary packages of a genetic engineer are based on qualification, experience, working area, etc. You can get a handsome salary package after gaining the sufficient experience in this field.

The average salary of a well-qualified genetic engineer is Rs. 20,000 to 35,000 per month. They can earn more in the private sector as compared to the public sector.

Books & Study Materials

Which are the best books for genetic Engineering?

Here we have listed some books which will help you throughout your studies:

 Genetic Engineering by Desmond Nicoll

 Principles of Gene Manipulation: An Introduction to Genetic Engineering” by Old RW, Primrose SB

 Molecular cloning by Sambrooks and Russel

 Current Protocols in Molecular Biology by Ansubel FM, Brent R

 Methods In Enzymology by Berger Sl, Kimmer AR

 Introduction to Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering by A.J. Nair

 Techniques in Genetic Engineering by Aksan Kurnaz

 The Practical Handbook of Genetic Algorithms Applications by Chapman and Hall/CRC

Top Engineering Colleges in India

SRM University, Tamil Nadu

B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD in Genetic Engineering

Bharath University, Chennai

M.Tech in Genetic Engineering

Aryabhatta Knowledge University, Patna

B.Tech and M.Tech in Genetic Engineering

Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai

M.Sc. Certificate course in Plant Genetic Engineering

Indian Institute Technology, Kharagpur

B.Tech, M.Tech in Biotechnology & Biochemical engineering

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

B.Tech. Biotechnology, M.Tech in Biotechnology

Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati

B.Tech Biotechnology

AWH Special College, Calicut

B.Sc. Genetics

Delhi Univeristy, Delhi

M.Sc Genetics

Andhra University

M.Sc Human Genetics

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