Any organism can acquire a new ability or property, or “gain” a “function.” This can happen through natural selection or a researcher’s experiments. In research, many different types of experiments generate functions, and some pose certain safety and security concerns.
Scientists use a variety of techniques to modify organisms depending on the properties of the organism itself and the end goal. Some of these methods involve directly making changes at the level of the genetic code. Others may involve placing organisms in environments that select for functions linked to genetic changes.
Gain of function can occur in an organism in either nature or the laboratory. Some lab examples include creating more salt- and drought-resistant plants or modifying disease vectors to produce mosquitoes that are resistant to transmitting dengue fever. Gain of function can also be useful for environmental reasons, such as modifying E. coli so that it can convert plastic waste into a valuable commodity.
Read full article: https://theconversation.com/why-gain-of-function-research-matters-162493