Genetic engineering : dreams and nightmares.
About this work
This is a very detailed survey of genetic enginnering, in which Prof. David Cove (Leeds University) explains the basic techniques involved, the ways it which it is used, and assesses some of the hopes, fears and risks associated with it. He begins with an explanation of the structure of DNA, proteins, amino acids and genes, accompanied by graphics and models. Cloning is explained and illustrated by graphics. The uses, benefits and problems of genetic engineering are discussed with reference to diabetes and genetically engineered insulin; vaccine production; cheesemaking, in which the enzyme rennet is replaced by a genetically engineered version, which makes the cheese acceptable to veterians; and tomatoes in which the ripening process is slowed by genetic modification to provide a longer shelf life. It is hoped that medical research using genetic engineering will provide a cure for cystic fibrosis. As for fears associated with genetically modified food, Prof. Cove attempts to put these into proportion. Perhaps the greatest risk is in human genetics where a breakthrough in the treatment of disease might lead to discrimination as to who should benefit, or discrimination against those unable or unwilling to obtain such benefit.