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Sullivan Dan Sullivan Sr. Happ A.P.

Biology 1/3/2012 Restriction Enzymes and Related Technologies

Restriction Enzymes are enzymes taken from bacteria and used in many modern technologies. They are capable of cutting DNA sequences at specific restriction sites, breaking the DNA sequence into smaller sections. It is the enzymes ability of slicing the sequence into small sections that makes is valuable in various applications. Two technologies that utilize Restriction Enzymes are DNA Fingerprinting and Gene Splicing.(#5) Gene Splicing is a process that uses restriction enzymes to cut a DNA strand and add a different pair of nucleotides in order to get a desired trait. The Restriction Enzyme is added to a sample of the DNA where it locates a specific sequence in the DNA. When it finds the sequence the enzyme begins to split the base pairs of the DNA apart, leaving the sequence broken. Once the sequence is broken scientists can add base pairs of DNA to the sequence. After the DNA has been successfully added the sequence is repaired with another enzyme called Ligase.(#6) Gene Splicing can be used to benefit humans by allowing scientists to genetically alter organisms. This process, called genetic engineering, has produced some amazing adaptations of organisms that are extremely helpful. One example of this is a pig that has been genetically altered by Canadian scientists. Pigs excrete large quantities of Phosphorus when they defecate and at large farms this is a problem because the buildup of Phosphorus contaminates the local water sources, killing fish and causing health problems for humans. The solution was to splice

Sullivan the genes of a pigs embryo and add mouse DNA and E.coli bacteria into the genes. This allows the pigs to digest most of the Phosphorus and reduces the amount in the excrement drastically.(#3) Scientists have also genetically engineered animals to produce medicines that benefit human with blood clotting and heart ailments. The medical community was looking for a way to control clotting without using chemicals. Scientists experimented with splicing embryo genes of goats and inserted human DNA creating the anti-thrombin protein. The result is a goat that produces the protein in their milk, which is later processed into a medication. The FDA has recently approved this medication for sale, but it is only used on people who have a high risk of blood clots.(#2) DNA Fingerprinting is a process where scientists use gel electrophoresis to determine each individuals genetic pattern. The DNA sections are sorted according to their size through a process called gel electrophoresis. The process begins by using restriction enzymes to break down the DNA sequence into sections. The smaller sections move faster when exposed to the current, therefore the pieces of DNA are sorted by size from largest to smallest. Once the gel electrophoresis is complete the DNA sequences pattern can be compared to the DNA patterns from different people or organisms.(#4) DNA Fingerprinting can be used by scientists and law enforcement to identify someone through just their genetic material. This material could come from blood, hair, and even saliva. Because every person has different DNA, scientists can take a sample and splice it using restrictive enzymes. The resulting pieces are used to make the persons DNA profile, usually using 13 different regions of the DNA. This DNA is then compared to whatever sample they are

Sullivan looking at, usually using gel electrophoresis. This technology has many practical applications today including linking suspected criminals to crimes, exonerating innocent prisoners, and even identifying the parents of a child.(#1) This fingerprinting process can also be used to match organ donors with potential recipients. In the past an organ recipients were faced with a high rejection rate. Often when the new organ was transplanted the body immune system would begin to attack the foreign organism. The recipients body thinks that the replaced organ is a danger and begins to attack the cells of the organ. By using the restrictive enzymes and gel electrophoresis the doctors are able to match up the 13 different sections to find the best fit for the recipient, resulting in a lower rejection rate and faster recovery period.(#1) The use of restrictive enzymes has made many new scientific breakthroughs possible in recent years. The use of gene splicing and genetic engineering has enabled scientists to influence the traits of organisms to help make things safer and easier for humans. DNA Fingerprinting makes it possible for law enforcement to prosecute criminals based on DNA and allows doctors to reduce the chance of an organ rejection in transplant recipients. Through these processes and others restrictive enzymes allowed for breakthroughs in science and have greatly benefited humans.


Works Cited 1. "DNA Forensics." Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Web. 01 Jan. 2012.
<>. 2. "First Drug Made from Genetically Engineered Animals Approved by FDA." TreeHugger. Web. 01 Jan. 2012. <>. 3. Hightower, Jim. "Frankenpig Manure." Pure Water Gazette Online Water Newsletter. Web. 01 Jan. 2012. <>. 4. Mac OS X Server. Web. 01 Jan. 2012. <>. 5. Restriction Enzymes. Web. 1 Jan. 2012. <>.

6. "The Gene School." Http:// Web. 1 Jan. 2012.