Backgrounders

This is the second in a series of three articles on workforce development and quality jobs - with a focus on state and regional support for bioscience industry development. Read part one. Read part three.
What is genetic engineering?   Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genes.  Genetic engineering is different from traditional breeding, where the organism’s genes are manipulated indirectly.  Thanks to this technology, scientists can precisely transfer beneficial genes from one animal species to another.     What animals are being genetically engineered?
Naturally Replicating Rubber for Tires Isoprene is an important commodity chemical used in a variety of applications, including the production of synthetic rubber. Isoprene is naturally produced by nearly all living things (including humans, plants and bacteria); the metabolite dimethylallyl pyrophosphate is converted into isoprene by the enzyme isoprene synthase. But the gene encoding the isoprene synthase enzyme has only been identified in plants such as rubber trees, making natural rubber a limited resource.
Synthetic biology is a new interdisciplinary area that involves the application of engineering principles to biology. It aims at the (re-)design and fabrication of biological components and systems that do not already exist in the natural world. Synthetic biology combines chemical synthesis of DNA with growing knowledge of genomics to enable researchers to quickly manufacture catalogued DNA sequences andassemble them into new genomes.
1. Is biotechnology less safe than other plant breeding techniques? No. Biotechnology is safe. It is a refinement of breeding techniques that have been used to improve plants for thousands of years. Biotechnology is simply a more precise science, so scientists are able to isolate a specific gene to make exact changes to a crop (for example, to make a corn plant resistant to the corn borer insect.)
Agricultural Biotechnology: A range of tools, including traditional breeding techniques, that alter living organisms, or parts of organisms, to make or modify products; improve plants or animals; or develop microorganisms for specific agricultural uses. Modern biotechnology today includes the tools of genetic engineering. Allergen: A substance, usually a protein, that can cause an allergy or allergic reaction in the body.
Drugs versus Biologics
Agricultural biotechnology is a science that allows plant breeders to make precise genetic changes to place beneficial traits – such as pest resistance, disease resistance or herbicide tolerance – into plants. Since the introduction of biotechnology-derived commercial crop in 1996, farmers have used this science to grow plants that yield more per acre with reduced production costs while being resistant to disease and pests and also beneficial to the environment.