Genetic Engineering and Anthropology

Genetic Engineering and Anthropology

Genetic engineering is one of the principles of biotechnology. Genetic engineering is the branch that deals with the modification of the genetic material of an organism. It is the DNA that is the genetic material in most organisms (in the remaining ones the genetic material is RNA for example- in some viruses).

The other branch of biotechnology is Chemical engineering where chemicals are used for the growth and maintenance of cell cultures.

Biotechnology is the branch of science where living organisms or products of living organisms are used for the human benefit to make products or solve a problem.

For now, we are going to discuss genetic engineering in anthropology.

Meaning of genetic engineering  

According to Merriam- Webster dictionary- Genetic engineering is the group of applied techniques of genetics and biotechnology used to cut up or join together genetic material and especially DNA from one or more species of organism and to introduce the result into an organism to change one or more of its characteristics.

Genetic engineering is such a process with the help of which we modify or change the genes of living organisms. Genes are small units that carry information about living organisms. These are the genes that get transferred from one generation to the next generation. These genes are made up of DNA material which is found in every living organism.

It can be done by introducing or eliminating or both of a particular gene.

Image source- Genetic Literacy Project

Applications of Genetic engineering

In Agriculture

The application of genetic engineering helps to produce nutritious and stronger crops. Examples are Bt cotton and Bt brinjal, Golden rice, tomatoes etc. It decreases the use of pesticides. It increases the quality and variety of crops. It improves the quality of the soil. It increases the supply of food for a growing population.

In Medicine

Genetic engineering is used for the production of vaccines, human insulin and other hormones. This technique is used in gene therapy and for curing various diseases. It increases life expectancy. It reduces the cost of drug production. It increases the growth rate.

In Industries

Scientists developed such bacteria which can further produce biodegradable plastics. It decreases the use of resources.

Besides these applications, genetic engineering has many other uses also.

Future possibilities of Genetic engineering

In today’s world, superheroes are just fictional characters. But who has seen tomorrow? Superheroes might get real.

Image source- SuperhumanTalks

For the treatment of cancer genetic engineering was performed but still, we need a proper method to treat cancer. There is a possibility to cure various other deadly diseases with the applications of genetic engineering.

One day the medical field will surely become the most advanced field of study with the help of genetic engineering techniques.

Anthropology and Genetic engineering

Anthropology is concerned with the past, present as well as with our future. Physical or Biological anthropology explores genetics. It includes the study of principles of genetics along with other biological concepts like cell division, the study of genetic diseases, forensics etc.

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The relationship between the biology of man and his culture is an important area of study in biological anthropology. Genetic engineering may change this relationship with a view of a better humanity.

It is not only Biological anthropology which concerns genetic engineering but Social and Cultural anthropology also explore the implications of genetic engineering on society.

Harmful effects of Genetic engineering on Humans

  • It might create injustice
  • It Increases the economic risk
  • It brings misery to the lives of people
  • It damages health and the surrounding environment
  • It causes displacement of the general public
  • It might bring unwanted side effects and outcomes
  • It could create resistant bacteria and viruses
  • It could create new deadly diseases during the process of finding a new cure

Social concerns, safety, health and environmental issues are the main problems that keep on revolving around genetic engineering.

It is more moral than technical. It is seen as unwanted, undesired or evil by the common public. People are not aware of the benefits of genetic engineering. There is a lack of awareness.

No doubt it has some disadvantageous impacts but if the application of genetic engineering is performed with care then it will benefit the human race. People need awareness. Better Assessment of any programme related to genetic engineering is important. Before conducting any experiment its side effect must be predicted. Scientists should consider all its disadvantageous effects along with its benefits.


The direct application of genetic engineering to humans is still a problem. This needs to be explored more for the betterment of humans.

Not only do Artificial intelligence and block technology play an important role in our lives but also genetic engineering will help us a lot for better-advanced life. This might helps in bringing a great future ahead.

All we need is a good knowledge of the applications of genetic engineering techniques by doing research in the concerned field.


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