Genetic engineering

The term «genetic engineering» is used to describe processes with which the genetic material of organisms can be artificially altered. For example, the genetic material of the organism can be recombined or parts of the genetic material of another organism can be transferred. The genetic transfer of genetic information is carried out either directly (for example by microinjection, microprojectile bombardment) or via so-called vectors, such as viruses and bacteria.

The discovery that the genetic code is universally valid for (almost) all living beings opened up the possibility of transferring DNA across biological species boundaries. This is then referred to as the transfer of foreign genes, which results in a transgenic organism - in contrast to transfer within the same species (cisgenesis). The goals of genetic engineering applications are, for example, the improvement of seeds, the use of genetically modified microorganisms in food production and the production of medicines for humans and animals.