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Early Genetic Engineering Experiment

Why are bacteria and viruses used in genetic engineering? Genetic engineering is most frequently used to modify eukaryotes, particularly crop plants and domestic animals. Although eukaryotes are most frequently the target organisms, prokaryotes and non-cellular entities such as viruses are used in most forms of genetic engineering. Bacteria and viruses are used because their biology makes them very useful for the lateral transfer of genes. Viruses inject DNA or RNA into host cells. If genes are added to viral DNA those genes can be added to the genome of the host cell. Bacteria transfer DNA to other bacteria through conjugation and can also take up DNA from their environment. These properties of microorganisms make them invaluable tools in genetic engineering

View the animation below, then complete the quiz to test your knowledge of the concept.

1The experiment involved the transfer and expression of ________ DNA into bacterial cells.

2Which of the following were required to produce the recombinant plasmid?
A)restriction endonuclease
B)DNA ligase
C)DNA polymerase
D)A and B
E)A, B and C

3Which of the following Escherichia coli cells did NOT produce colonies on the growth medium containing tetracycline?
A)cells that picked up a recombinant plasmid containing the ribosomal DNA gene
B)cells that picked up a recombinant plasmid containing another gene
C)cells that picked up a plasmid without any foreign genes
D)cells that did not pick up a plasmid
E)all of the above types of cells produced colonies

4The pSC101 plasmid had two restriction sites for the enzyme EcoRI.

5Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer conducted their experiment in the 1990s.

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