Bacteria are commonly used in the development of the DNA found inside cells. This process is referred to as bacterial transformation because of the replication of DNA and protein synthesis. Bacteria usually gets a bad reputation; however, it is incredibly useful thanks to its versatility. These microorganisms have a unique ability to absorb foreign DNA and duplicate it. The bacterial transformation has made it possible to clone or slightly alter the DNA of a living organism. As a result, there are many areas where this information can be applied. One of them is the genetic modification of plants.
This is why bacteria are the oldest known organism. Their evolutionary process allows them to adapt and change to the current environment. One of the most important aspects of bacterial transformation is the ability to mass-produce therapeutic chemical compounds. The most common one is the ability to conjure antibiotics that cure or treat humans when they are sick. For instance, diabetes patients in need of insulin are medically prescribed synthetic insulin that is derived from bacterial transformation. The following are some of the practical applications of bacterial transformation.
1. DNA cloning
This is the most common use of bacterial transformation. Researchers and scientists can manipulate the DNA of living organisms with the help of bacteria. Transformation can be used to retrieve linkage. During the transformational process, DNA from the donor is removed and inevitably broken down into small pieces. In the event, two donors have their genes located close on the chromosome, and then there is a considerable chance that the DNA will be double transformed on the same piece.
Consequently, if the genes are widely distributed on the chromosome, then most likely, they will be approved on separate transforming segments. However, the frequency of double transformants will be equal to the product of a single gene. As a result, DNA linkage can be tested by examining the departure of the product rule.
As mentioned above, the characteristics of all living things are deeply embedded in their genetical makeup, combined with their interaction with the environment. The genetic makeup consists of DNA that ultimately makes up the genome. Both plant and animal DNA comprises of proteins that give the plant its characteristics. The genetical composition is Besides similar in plants as well as animals. For instance, the color of a flower is determined by its petals. The genes in the flower’s petals contain a protein that is responsible for the outcome of the flower’s color pigmentation.
Recent technology has enabled the cutting of DNA at precise positions with the use of enzymes that are restrictive and isolate DNA fragments. Besides, the same technology has enabled testing of various bacterial chromosome fragments, that are useful in transformational tests as well as mapping. This has resulted in the development of better DNA that is genetically engineered in plants and other living organisms, as explained below.
2. Genetic Engineering of Plants
Genetic engineering of plants is technology derived from bacterial transformation. The process involves inserting DNA into the genome of the organism, in this case, a plant. To produce plants that are genetically modified, new DNA is typically transferred into the plant cells. The cells, using transformational technology, are then allowed to grow in a culture. Here the plant cells are then monitored as they grow into plants. The seeds of the cultured plant develop having new DNA in them.
The advantage of genetically engineering plants is that these plants will inherit new DNA that has been bred to be resistant to disease, to bear more yield, and to have more nutrients than its predecessors. The plant will become a ‘super-plant.’ Using this information, scientists and other researchers can be able to come up with plants that can thrive in extreme weather conditions such as drought and high salt levels. As global warming continues to intensify, more and more farmers will find it challenging to coop with extreme weather conditions. Genetic modification through bacterial transformation is a way out of this persistent problem.
3. Making Medicine Animals-, Human proteins, Hormones, and Other Enzymes.
Not long-ago people who were diagnosed with diabetes were at a higher risk of death because of the lack of insulin. There was no way to engineer a hormone that was produced exclusively by human organs. However, technology, through bacterial transformation, has made it possible for such patients to get treatment. These treatment options can be biologically engineered by using a special kind of bacteria called transgenic bacteria. These single-celled bacteria have alien genes alongside their DNA. Besides, they have demonstrated features that resemble ‘normal bacteria’. However, they produce human proteins that are used for vaccinations and medicines. As a result, bacteria transformation has proven once more to be extremely useful to humans.
Not only that, farm animals, through bacterial engineering, have been used by human beings to make medicine. For instance, during surgery, a person’s blood might clot. The compound responsible for preventing blood clots is antithrombin III. Consequently, this compound is secreted in the milk of transgenic goats. Scientists modify such animals by using human DNA obtained from the hair and then injecting the animal’s eggs, particularly the DNA sequence that matches antithrombin III.
With the advancement of technology, scientists hope to use genetic technology to develop ‘magic bullets’ that are designed to target specific disease-causing substances called antigens, while sparing healthy and normal functioning tissues.
4. Medicine Making Plants
The bacterial transformation has had a hand in engineering medicine, antibodies, hormones, enzymes and blood clotting factors that are important to human beings. For instance, bananas are being genetically modified through transformational technology to produce vaccines. The process of making transgenic plants is merely identical to making transgenic animals. However, scientist mix foreign DNA with bacteria and plant cells which have had their sturdy walls detached. Then they pass a relatively small electrical current through the mixture. The purpose of the electric current is to make tiny incisions in the cell to allow the foreign DNA to enter. Once the cell develops into a plant, the medicine has been tricked into developing and as a result, can be extracted from the seeds of the plant.
5. Manipulation of Soil bacteria
There are certain bacteria in soils that possess properties that make them advantageous to plants growing there. Not only do they increase aeration in the ground, but they reduce the damages caused by other pathogens and bacteria while limiting the number of pests. Agrobacteria is an excellent example of bacteria that has traditionally been released by farmers in their fields as seed inoculants. To the advantage of many, such forms of bacteria is has increased the yield of different crops. Technology has made it possible for the bacterial transformation of soil bacteria making it easily traceable and highly beneficial to the plants growing in the same soil.
The bacterial transformation has been recently applied to our ecological systems through bioremediation. Bioremediation is the utilization of distinctive forms of transgenic bacteria and other microbes to break down plastic and other petroleum products in addition to garbage. The use of such micro-organisms is critical in reducing pollution through the organic breakdown of pollutants, especially plastic, in our ecosystem. Two types of microorganisms can do this; aerobic and anaerobic.
The world’s population is spring at an alarming rate. In fact, estimates are predicting a surge of 3 billion people to 9 billion people by 2050. With population increase, comes a strain on the resources that are currently available. As a result, the agricultural sector has been more aggressive than any other time in history. The industrial sector is mass-producing commodities at an alarming rate. This has led to the pollution of the soil, water, and air, in a desperate bid to cater to the surge in population.
Pollution has been an ecological problem since the industrial revolution. Estimated have claimed that pollution claims the lives of approximately 62 million people every year. This makes up 40% of the world’s mortality factors. In addition, 7 million people are killed every year because of the air they breathe. The world generates approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of waste products annually. Most of this trash is dumped in the sea or landfill sites. Waste management is an epidemic that could be solved by bacterial transformation through bioremediation. With the increase in technological use, microbes can be genetically altered to break down waste materials such as plastic and convert them into harmless products in the environment. Not only that, these microbes can achieve this without being monitored or consuming precious energy when compared to other methods of waste management. This technique can be the future of restoring our ecological systems while preserving dear life.
The process is highly dependant on the metabolism of the microorganism. As a result, scientists have found a way of genetically transforming the DNA of the organisms and bacteria to be highly effective in eradicating harmful environmental pollutants. In addition, the microbes are not limited to one geographical or ecological location but can survive anywhere thanks to bacterial transformation.