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From the United Kingdom:

Where can I find out about diabetes and the genetic engineering of insulin? I need to know how genetic engineering helped develop Insulin production.


sense that your question has to do with a science project. So, whilst we don' t normally tackle these because the purpose is for you yourself to discover the information here are some guidelines.

The first step was to laboriously dissect out the part of the human chromosome that was actually is responsible for insulin. The next time that you are in London you should go to the new National Portrait Gallery and look at Dr Dorothy Hodkin's which will give you an idea of the huge complexity of the task when it was first done some thirty years ago. Once a tiny amount of the specific DNA had been isolated it should then be multiplied using an enzyme called DNA polymerase. The next stage was to introduce this human DNA into a vector, which is usually a retrovirus and this virus is used to transfect a yeast or bacterial culture which now will carry in their nucleus the information to produce human insulin. These primitive organisms can now be grown rapidly, for generation after generation and in huge quantities and the human insulin is then isolated from all the other proteins by a series of column chromatogaphy separations. The next stage in this remarkable achievement was to alter the DNA sequence to produce new insulins with more precise modes of action like Humalog and Lantus (insulin glargine).

The details of all of this are of course proprietary, but any modern textbook of genetics is likely to have chapter on the principles of genetic engineering.


Original posting 29 Nov 2001
Posted to Insulin


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:28
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