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Case Studies:
HIV Resistance
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Applied Genetic Modification
Applied Genetic Modification

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Although they are best known for their use in agriculture to increase yields and fight crop diseases, genetic modification techniques are used in many different areas of biological research, including medicine. In this case study, we'll follow the process of developing an edible vaccine for the hepatitis B virus and explore practical details of genetic engineering techniques.

The current hepatitis B vaccine is a recombinant subunit produced in yeast. Subunit vaccines are viral proteins that elicit an immune response without viral genetic material. The current vaccine is effective, but cost-prohibitive for economically challenged areas. A better option that is more easily administered might be an edible vaccine from a plant genetically modified to express a hepatitis B protein. No needles are required — the vaccine is just eaten.

Before beginning this case study, you may want to review these related materials:
  • Genetically Modified Organisms Video
  • Genetically Modified Organisms Online Text

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