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why do scientist use bacteria in genetic engineering

How E. Coli Makes a Difference
E. Coli is an incredibly versatile tool for genetic engineers; as a result, it has already produced an amazing range of medicines and technologies. It has even, according to Popular Mechanics, become the first prototype for a bio-computer: "In a modified E. coli "transcriptor," developed by Stanford University researchers this past March, a strand of DNA stands in for the wire and enzymes for the electrons. Potentially, this is a step towards building working computers within living cells that could be programmed to control gene expression in an organism. " Such a feat could only be accomplished with the use of an organism that is well understood, easy to work with, and able to replicate quickly.

Genetic engineering involves altering the genetic code The universal code that DNA or mRNA in every living organism uses to carry information about the sequences of amino acids in its proteins. of an organism by inserting a gene The basic unit of genetic material inherited from our parents. A gene is a section of DNA which controls part of a cell's chemistry, particularly protein production. or genes from another organism. bacterium A type of single-celled microorganism. can be genetically engineered (genetically modified) to produce useful human protein Organic compound made up of amino acid molecules.

One of the three main food groups, proteins are needed by the body for cell growth and repair. including human growth hormone and human insulin A hormone that regulates the level of sugar in the blood. It is produced in the Islets of Langerhans in the Pancreas. One advantage of using bacteria is that they can be grown in large fermenter Vessels used to cultivate microorganisms on a large scale. , producing large amounts of these useful proteins.

You should be able to describe the main stages in genetic engineering, and in particular how this works for engineering bacteria to produce human insulin. The animation shows how this works. Notice that enzyme Proteins which catalyse or speed up chemical reactions inside our bodies. Enzymes are a vital in chemical digestion of food in the gut. are needed to cut and insert DNA.

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