Designer genes: the science and the ethics
Since its discovery in 1953, mankind has been increasingly fascinated with DNA, the genetic blueprint. From the selective breeding of plants and animals in agriculture, through to the production of recombinant proteins for medical purposes and, more recently, the cloning of animals, science has investigated ways of manipulating the basic genetic code. This program outlines the basic tools/techniques for manipulation of DNA and how these are being used to ask fundamental questions about how genes work. From a more applied angle we take a tour of the myriad ways these advances are being utilised in medicine, agriculture and the environment. Together with its applications, we discuss the range of ethical questions arising from genetic engineering and the manipulation of DNA to produce so called 'designer genes'.