Learning to Manipulate DNA
Read the newspaper article. Choose from (A—G) the one which best fits each of (1—5). There are two choices you do not need to use.
After scientists had unraveled the structure and replication mechanisms of DNA, many felt that the major discoveries of genetic research were resolved. They predicted that the only task left in genetics was to sort out the molecular details of how genes work. But in the process of studying gene function, researchers developed powerful new molecular techniques.
A number of discoveries made during the 1960s and 1970s shed light on how distinct fragments of DNA could be isolated. The work of Swiss molecular biologist Werner Arber focused on specialized enzymes that digest, or “restrict,’’ the DNA of viruses infecting bacteria. These enzymes were subsequently dubbed restriction enzymes. In the following decade, scientists learned that restriction enzymes could also act like molecular scissors to cut DNA.
In 1970 American molecular biologist Hamilton Smith and colleagues determined that restriction enzymes could cleave DNA molecules at precise and predictable locations. Hamilton concluded that the enzymes were able to recognize specific nucleotide sequences.
Scientists quickly realized that restriction enzymes could be used in the laboratory to manipulate DNA. In 1973 American biochemist Herb Boyer used restriction enzymes to produce a DNA molecule with genetic material from two different sources. This splicing technique is now known as recombinant DNA. Boyer inserted foreign genes into plasmids and observed that the plasmids could replicate to make many copies of the inserted genes. In subsequent experiments, Boyer, American biochemist Stanley Cohen, and other researchers demonstrated that inserting a recombinant DNA molecule into a host bacteria cell would lead to extremely rapid replication and the production of many identical copies of the recombinant DNA. This process, known as cloning, gave scientists the power to make many copies of desired DNA for molecular study.
The speed and efficiency of DNA cloning were vastly improved in the 1980s with the invention of polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Developed by American biochemist Kary Mullis, PCR enables scientists to produce large amounts of DNA sequences in a test tube.
In a matter of hours, the process can produce millions of cloned DNA molecules. Yet all of the advances in isolating and replicating DNA would not be possible or be of much use if researchers could not determine the nucleotide sequence of genetic material. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, British biochemist Frederick Sanger and his associates developed DNA sequencing techniques. With the use of automated equipment, the new techniques transformed genetic sequencing into a speedy, routine laboratory procedure.
Many of the new techniques for isolating, sequencing, and replicating DNA have been put to practical use through the field of genetic engineering. The Human Genome Project and the new field of proteomics have both benefited from continuing technical advances and have accelerated the development of new genetic technologies.
Modern genetics is poised to radically change the practice of medicine and the biotechnology industry.
A DNA discovery is the most important one. B Development of DNA cloning. C Putting the ideas into effect. D Prolific ten years. E The results of using alien genes. F Molecules split in particular order. G Chemistry.
1.D; 2.F; 3.E; 4.B; 5.C