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•  Production of human insulin in bacteria as an example of the universality of the genetic code allowing 

   for gene transfer between species

The genetic code is universal – almost every living organism uses the same code (there are a few rare and minor exceptions)

  • As the same codons code for the same amino acids in all living things, genetic information is transferrable between species

The ability to transfer genes between species has been utilised to produce human insulin in bacteria (for mass production)

  • The gene responsible for insulin production is extracted from a human cell
  • It is spliced into a plasmid vector (for autonomous replication and expression) before being inserted into a bacterial cell
  • The transgenic bacteria (typically E. coli) are then selected and cultured in a fermentation tank (to increase bacterial numbers)
  • The bacteria now produce human insulin, which is harvested, purified and packaged for human use (i.e. by diabetics)

Insulin Production via Recombinant Gene Transfer

insulin production