• Question: can zou use the DNA you have coppied and incert it in other organism's body? if so, will it change the DNA of that organism?

    Asked by noag to Amelia, Jim, Liz, Prateek, Richard on 15 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by tylerburrans.
    • Photo: Amelia Markey

      Amelia Markey answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      Well the DNA I copy is human DNA and I have no plans to insert it in any other organisms but you can insert DNA from one organism into another.

      There’s a fancy thing called recombinant DNA technology. What this means is that you can insert bits of DNA into another organism. So you can put human DNA into the DNA of a mouse or pig cell for example and you can put rabbit DNA into mouse DNA. A lot of nasty viruses like HIV can insert their DNA into your DNA.

      This type of work raises a lot of “ethical” questions which mean people ask is it right to do this? Scientists have to show that what they are doing is safe and put peoples’ fears to rest before they carry out their work.

      This technology is used a lot today to make human proteins such as insulin. I found a really good website with cartoon videos that show how it’s done:


      You can also make animals that glow in the dark! There’s a protein that is made in jellyfish called green fluorescent protein which glows green. Scientists can take the gene that has the code for this protein and insert it into animals so that they also glow green. Glofish are a good example of this and here’s a link if you want to find out more (there’s also some videos):


      It doesn’t change the DNA of that organism but it means that the protein that DNA codes for can be produced in the organism you insert it into. That’s why the glofish glow!

      Hope that answers your question 🙂