Genetic engineering, also called biotechnology, is when scientists use something called recombinant DNA technology to make organisms that produce products people want or need. DNA technology is being used in basic research, medicine, forensics, and agriculture.
The first commercially successful use of genetic engineering was the cloning of human insulin. As shown in the illustration below, insulin was cloned by bacteria (See how this technique works in “Cloning DNA.”). The bacteria made a large amount of insulin that is identical to insulin made by humans.
In human medicine, biotechnology has been used to develop new medicines, make antibodies, and new vaccines.
Collaborative consultation on website genetics and genomics from Dr. Stephen M. Carleton, Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn.