Bioengineering program has the wide application areas ranging from genetic engineering, tissue engineering to biomaterials, artificial implants, and biomedical instrumentation. Amongst these sub disciplines of Bioengineering, Genetic engineering is having remarkable contributions in the development of agricultural, food, biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industries in the last century.
Genetic engineering is the manipulation of genetic material by either molecular biological techniques or selective breeding (I. Schildkraut, Encyclopedia of Genetics, 2001). Selective breeding which is the earliest technique has been used over thousand years until the advent of in vitro gene manipulation (manipulation of DNA within a test tube) techniques. The journey of genetic engineering started mainly in 1970s and now, the field has developed so much that the ideas and resources are the only limitations. In this method, the DNA is taken out of the cell, then manipulated using a series of reaction, and then transferred back into a cell in order to control/modify the processes/characteristics of a cell or organism. Simply, nowadays, a molecular biologist has the capability to combine or swap any particular region of DNA from different organisms encoding different characteristics.
Genetic engineering has huge application in the production of pharmaceuticals, mainly therapeutic proteins such as insulin, human serum albumin, human papilloma virus vaccine, and hepatitis B vaccine. One of the major contributions of genetic engineering is the development of genetically modified foods and crops, which has been used to develop the desirable characteristics such as pest resistance, anti-ripening properties. This field also possesses the potential to be used in the production of monoclonal antibodies, which are being used to treat specific types of cancer.
Scope of Genetic engineering is very high in India as well as abroad. There is huge scope of pursuing research in this area. The Bioengineers with the expertise in Genetic engineering are in high demand in both private and government biotech sectors, agricultural and medicine industries.