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​Genetic Engineering

updated: May 30, 2024


Genetic engineering (also called genetic modification) is a process that uses laboratory-based technologies to alter the DNA makeup of an organism. This may involve changing a single base pair (A-T or C-G), deleting a region of DNA or adding a new segment of DNA. For example, genetic engineering may involve adding a gene from one species to an organism from a different species to produce a desired trait. Used in research and industry, genetic engineering has been applied to the production of cancer therapies, brewing yeasts, genetically modified plants and livestock, and more.


Genetic engineering. Genetic engineering has changed over the years, from cloning for analysis and laboratory use to truly synthetic biology for understanding and new biomedical capabilities.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith, Ph.D.

Former Program Director, Genome Technology Program

Division of Genome Sciences