One example of the early applications of genetic engineering since its discovery is in the creation of transgenic mice by a scientist known as Rudolf Jaenisch back in early 1974. Jaenisch introduced an external DNA into the embryo of a normal adult mouse in his study of if and how the SV40 (Simian Virus 40) actually affects mammalian cells, thereby coming up with the very first transgenic animal in the universe (Moloney, 1998). Some scientists and citizens, who argued that it was a great step to discover how and when exactly the virus takes to integrate itself into the mice, appreciated the use of genetic engineering in here. However, some criticize the step saying it was going against the natural orientation of the animal life.
Tobacco is yet another good example of genetic engineering, being the first plant to be considered genetically engineered. In 1983, Mary-Dell Chilton, Richard B. Flavell and Michael W. Bevan were the masterminds behind the development of this hybrid tobacco, generating a chimeric gene joining the T1 plasmid to a given antibiotic (Sakamoto & Murata, 2000). Whereas some supported the initiative for its good cause of producing healthier plants, to others it was unethical since much more chemical components added to the natural organisms could bring undesirable health consequences to the consumers of the same.
The third and perhaps the primary example of genetic engineering in early periods is the Gregor Mendel’s popular discovery of the genetic inheritance concept. In 1965, the renowned scientist crossed different breeds of peas to come up with a hybrid type. Even though he did not receive much attention from the citizens and fellow scientists, some argued that this scientific work was beneficial in developing better and healthier plants, which could easily resist harsh environmental challenges.
Moloney, M. M. (1998). U.S. Patent No. 5,792,922. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Sakamoto, A., & Murata, N. (2000). Genetic engineering of glycinebetaine synthesis in plants: status and implications for enhancement of stress tolerance. Journal of Experimental Botany, 51(342), 81-88.