How did they make insulin from recombinant DNA?

Introduction screen titled How did they make insulin from recombinant DNA.

Recombinant DNA is a technology scientists developed that made it possible to insert a human gene into the genetic material of a common bacterium. This “recombinant” micro-organism could now produce the protein encoded by the human gene.



Illustration of human insulin gene, plasmid loop of bacterial DNA, bacterium.

Scientists build the human insulin gene in the laboratory. Then they remove a loop of bacterial DNA known as a plasmid and…



Illustration of human insulin gene, broken plasmid loop of bacterial DNA.

insert the human insulin gene into the plasmid.



Illustration of human insulin gene combined with the broken plasmid loop of bacterial DNA.



Illustration of human insulin gene and plasmid loop of bacterial DNA returned to the bacterium.

Researchers return the plasmid to the bacteria and…



Illustration of recombinant bacterium entering a fermentation tank.

put the “recombinant” bacteria in large fermentation tanks.



Illustration of recombinant bacterium in a fermentation tank producing insulin.

There, the recombinant bacteria use the gene to begin producing human insulin.



Illustration of recombinant bacterium in a fermentation tank that has had insulin harvested from it.

Scientists harvest the insulin from the bacteria and…



Illustration of insulin purified and placed into a medicine bottle.

purify the substance for use as a medicine for people.