chapter  4
49 Pages

Transgenic Engineering

The term genetic engineering, also called transgenic engineering, was fi rst coined by American science writer Jack Williamson in his science fi ction novel Dragon’s Island, published in 1951 [Stableford 2004], just a year before DNA’s role in heredity was confi rmed by Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase and two years before the double-helix structure of DNA was revealed by James Watson and Francis Crick. It took two decades before Paul Berg’s group created, in 1972, the fi rst recombinant DNA molecules by combining DNA from the monkey virus SV40 with that of the Lambda virus [Jackson et al. 1972]. The following year saw the creation of the fi rst transgenic organism by inserting antibiotic resistance genes into the plasmid of E. coli bacterium by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen [Arnold 2009; Cohen and Chang 1973]. They spliced the gene from one organism into the DNA of another to produce recombinant DNA which was then expressed normally, and this formed the basis of transgenic engineering.