noun, plural: transgenes
A segment of DNA from one organism introduced into the genome of another organism (from a different species)
A transgene is a gene or a segment of DNA that is introduced into the genome of an organism. It comes from an organism especially of another species. This gene is introduced to another organism that makes the latter acquire new property or capability. For instance, the transgenic mice that were dubbed as super mice in the 1980s became capable of producing human protein tPA, which was used to treat blood clots. Transgenes are therefore became an essential means to come up with therapeutic value to treat certain diseases. They are also used for research purposes as they can be observed through experimental studies in order to gain knowledge on the function and pathology of a particular disease on transgenic models.
A transgene can be introduced artificially into an organism through recombinant DNA techniques. A segment of DNA that has a gene sequence is isolated from one organism and then introduced into a different organism. One way to introduce the foreign DNA is to inject it into the nucleus of a fertilized ovum.
Word origin: Latin trāns (across, on the far side, beyond) + Greek genea (generation, race)
- recombinant DNA technology