Microbes and Genetic Engineering

Brief History
How Does It Work?
WebMicro 2000
Genetic researchers have investigated gene structure for many years and know exactly the sequence of animal, plant, and bacterial genes, and the regions which allow the gene to be expressed. Genetic engineering allows one to actually change the sequence of the DNA at these important regions to allow a human gene for example to be expressed by bacteria. One can get this gene into the chromosome of a bacterium. Then, this human gene will be expressed in a bacterium, and a human protein can be made. This protein can then be produced in great quantity, isolated, purified, and given to people who need it.

This process has taken almost 30 years to be refined and continues to develop. A historical timeline appears below. Feel free to follow the links for more detailed information.


Examine the early stages of genetic engineering, including early discoveries made with bacteria, and the scientists who made the discoveries.

Learn about the first major companies who made genetic engineering an industry.

Discover the current trends and future of genetic engineering. Are there limits to what can be done?


© 2000 Jody Becker, Robin Norwood and Brad Greenspan. All Rights Reserved, except for the images, which retain their own copyrights.
This site was designed by Jody Becker, Robin Norwood and Brad Greenspan for MBI 699.W in August of 2000.