Bacterial pathogens are responsible for causing many human infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, leprosy, syphilis and more.  In order to efficiently identify and design products that treat, diagnose, and prevent infectious bacterial diseases, scientists should distinctly understand the pathogenicity of bacteria. Genetic engineering can act as a potential tool to study the genome of these pathogenic microbes. This article will elucidate the efforts made by scientists in developing a novel genetic engineering methodology to study bacteria.

To detect pathogenic genes in bacteria, scientists are engaged in inserting human DNA into the bacterial genome. Unfortunately, this technique isn’t feasible since bacteria is found to possess defense mechanisms that target foreign particles. To combat this issue, scientists from the Forsyth Institute have discovered a new technique to genetically modify pathogenic bacteria making the human DNA invisible to the defense system of bacteria. A part of the genetic arrangement of bacteria (motif) responsible for the recognition of the foreign particle is eliminated and due to this, the bacteria are deceived that the human DNA introduced into its genome is a component of its actual genome.

This technique considerably reduces time and resource consumption when compared to the previous methodologies practiced. With this new discovery, scientists can now profoundly study the genome and pathogenicity of these omnipresent beings. It is also great that they have successfully banished some of the significant barriers in exploring various clinically important bacteria.

“The capability to engineer bacteria has profound consequences for medicine, for agriculture, for the chemical sector, and for the environment”– Dr. Gary Borisy (Forsyth Institute)

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