The technology entailing all processes of altering the genetic material of a cell to make it capable of performing the desired functions, such as producing novel substances.
Genetic engineering covers all various experimental techniques that manipulate the genes of the organism. It uses recombinant DNA, molecular cloning and transformation. At present, it is applied in improving crop technology, manufacturing synthetic human insulin (using modified bacteria), production of erythropoietin (using Chinese hamster ovary cells), and production of new types of experimental mice for research (such as cancer mouse). It also has the potential of being used in humans by changing their appearance, intelligence, character and adaptability; however, there are ethical concerns and controversies it has to resolve before it can be widely accepted.
Related forms: genetic engineer (noun).
Synonym: recombinant DNA technology, genetic modification, genetic manipulation (GM), gene splicing.
See also: bioethics, biotechnology, cloning, genetic pollution.