Genetic engineering is the artifical, direct manipulation of DNA to modify an organism's phenotype. This can also be known as Transformation and may occur in many different processes, i.e. changing a base pair, or inserting and deleting a section of that DNA. The most commonly known genetically engineered organism is Dolly the Sheep. However, a bacterium was the first genetically modifidied organism, and was created in 1973.
The main technology used for genetic modification is CRISPR, which stands for 'Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats' and was first discovered in archae, then later in bacteria. CRISPR allows scientists to quickly and more efficiently manipulate the genome of their studied organism to further research into the development of disease and their treatments.
Because of genetic engineering, we have developed our understanding of gene function, but as a result, many ethical concerns have been raised, especially the idea of 'designer babies'.