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genetic engineering

techniques by which the genetic contents of living cells or viruses can be deliberately altered, either by modifying the existing genes or by introducing novel material (e.g., a gene from another species). Genetic engineering is undertaken for many different reasons, including basic research on genetic mechanisms, the large-scale production of particular gene products (e.g., medically useful proteins), and the genetic modification of crop plants. There have also been attempts to modify defective human body cells in the hope of treating certain genetic diseases. There remains, however, considerable public concern about the risks and limits of genetic engineering in plants and animals, including humans. See also gene splicing; recombinant DNA.

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Psychology term of the day

May 30th 2024

recurrent collateral inhibition

recurrent collateral inhibition

a negative-feedback system that prevents rapid, repeated firing of the same motor neuron. To accomplish this, one branch of an axon loops back toward the cell body of the neuron and communicates with an inhibitory Renshaw cell. The Renshaw cell in turn inhibits the neuron.