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Introduction to Biotechnology


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Title: Introduction to Biotechnology

Introduction to Biotechnology
  • BTEC3301

What career opportunities are available?
  • Graduates work in
  • pharmaceutical companies and hospitals (e.g
  • medical Lab (e.g insulin, cloning)
  • agricultural industries and dept of Agriculture
    (crops and animals eg the broccoflower, Dolly the
    sheep, cloning)
  • in beverage and food production ( wine and dairy
  • in a range of public and private diagnostic,
    research laboratories covering
  • microbiology, hematology, bioremediation,
  • immunology, forensic science (suspect in crime
  • crop development, pest control (Biological
  • animal production, veterinary services,
  • molecular biology and protein engineering (e.g
    insulin, yeast for fermentation))

What career opportunities are available?
  • The career options are expanding rapidly.
  • Advances in
  • genetic engineering,
  • protein engineering,
  • cell culture and
  • molecular biology have generated a virtually
    unlimited potential for altering the capabilities
    of living systems.

What is Biotechnology?
  • Biotechnology is essentially
  • the use of living organisms (often minute
    microorganisms) and their products
  • for health, social or economic purposes.
  • Biotechnology is widely considered to be the
    growth technology of the 21st Century and this
    will lead to huge growth in the Biotechnology
    industry and exciting opportunities for

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • Applications of biotechnology are widespread,
    including the following
  • diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.
  • improved production of therapeutic agents.
  • development of improved crop plant species.
  • development of improved pest/pathogen control

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • development of biosensors for environmental
  • development of improved waste treatment processes
    and methods for remediation contaminated sites.
  • production of transgenic organisms for production
    of new drugs, improved transplantation success
    and improved animal and plant

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • According to the Academic Standards for Science
    and Technology, Biotechnology is the ways that
    humans apply biological concepts to produce
    products and provide services. 

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • Long before the term "biotechnology" was coined
    for the process of using living organisms to
    produce improved commodities, people were
    utilizing living micro-organisms to produce
    valuable products.
  • History of Biotechnology (Refer pg 2 text bk.).
  • Our ancestors used microorganisms and used
    fermentation to make bread, cheeses, yogurt,
    alcoholic beverages etc.

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • One of the most widespread and commonly
    understood applications of Biotechnology is the
    use of antibiotic Penicillin from the mold
    Penicillium (A.Flemming, 1928).
  • In 1940, penicillin became widely a available,
    scale-up and commercial production of antibiotics
    such as penicillin occurred.

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • About two decades ago, biotechnology became much
    more of a science (rather than an art).
  • Since 1960, rapid development of our
    understanding of genetics and molecular biology
    has led to exciting new innovations and
    applications in Biotechnology.

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • The secrets of DNA structure and functions have
    led to gene cloning and genetic engineering,
    manipulating the DNA of an organism.
  • Regions of DNA (called genes) were found to
    contain information that would lead to synthesis
    of specific proteins

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • A natural gene in simple bacteria such as
    Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacterium living in
    intestines that has become the model organism for
    much of biotechnology, if found in this
    bacterium, scientist can have this bacterium
    make a lot of the protein coded for by the gene,
    regardless its source.

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • Through genetic engineering scientists can
    combine DNA from different sources and this
    process is called recombinant DNA technology
    (Chapter 3).

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • Recombinant DNA technology has led to hundreds of
    applications including development of disease
    resistant crops with greater yield and nutrient
    value or genetically engineered bacteria able to
    degrade environmental pollutant (Discussed under

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • Hence the mid-eighties and early-nineties, it
    became possible to transform (genetically modify)
    plants and animals that are important for food
    production. "Transgenic" animals and plants,
    including cows, sheep, tomatoes, tobacco, potato,
    and cotton have now been obtained.

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • Recombinant DNA technology and genetic
    engineering led to release of genetically
    altered organisms into the environment, this part
    of biotechnology is quite strictly regulated at
    government levels (Biotechnology regulation will
    be discussed).

…….. What is Biotechnology?
  • Completed in 2003, the Human Genome Project (HGP)
    was a 13-year project coordinated by the U.S.
    Department of Energy and the National Institutes
    of Health. During the early years of the HGP, the
    Wellcome Trust (U.K.) became a major partner
    additional contributions came from Japan, France,
    Germany, China, and others.

HGP Project goals were to
  • identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000
    genes in human DNA,
  • determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical
    base pairs that make up human DNA,
  • store this information in databases,
  • improve tools for data analysis,
  • transfer related technologies to the private
    sector, and
  • address the ethical, legal, and social issues
    (ELSI) that may arise from the project

  • Biotechnology can be broadly defined as the
    application of biological systems or processes to
    the manufacturing, agricultural, health and
    service industries.
  • Biotechnology encompasses a wide range of science
    and business disciplines

Areas of application of Biotechnology
  • The following lists the main areas and
    application of Biotechnology from which all
    others stem
  • Fermentation Technology
  • This is, historically, the most important area in
    biotechnology. There has been extensive
    development in progress with new products such as
    medically important drugs, solvents, protein
    enhanced foods, etc.

Areas of application of Biotechnology
  • Enzyme Engineering
  • This area is used for the catalysis of extremely
    specific chemical reactions to create specific
    molecular converters (bioreactors). Products
    formed include amino acids, high fructose syrup,
    semi-synthetic penicillins, starch and cellulose
    hydrolysis, etc.

Areas of application of Biotechnology
  • Waste Technology
  • This has a long array of historical importance,
    but now emphasis is on the coupling of this field
    with the conservation and recycling of resources.
    Examples would include foods, fertilizers, and
    biological fuels.

Areas of application of Biotechnology
  • Environmental Technology
  • Problems like pollution control, removing toxic
    wastes, recovery of metals from mining wastes and
    low grade ores, are just some of the categories
    that fall under this field.

Areas of application of Biotechnology
  • Renewable Resources Technology
  • The use of renewable energy sources, in
    particular lignocellulose to generate new sources
    of raw material and energy - ethanol, methane,
    and hydrogen.

Areas of application of Biotechnology………………
  • Each of these fields utilizes knowledge from
    Biochemistry, Genetics, Chemistry, Applied
    Microbiology, Chemical and Process Engineering,
    and Mathematics and Computer Technology.

Products of Modern Biotechnology
  • Insulin
  • The first product of modern biotechnology made
    use of insulin, a protein hormone produced in the
    pancreas that the body uses to regulate the
    concentration of blood sugar (glucose).

To accomplish this, the piece of foreign DNA is
first inserted into a plasmid a small circle of
DNA which serves as a carrier. The new
"recombinant" plasmid carrying the human gene is
then reintroduced into another bacterial cell, as
shown in the figure above.
Types of Biotechnology
  • Microbial,
  • Agricultural,
  • Animal,
  • Forensic,
  • Bioremediation,
  • Aquatic and
  • Medical Biotechnology.

Types of Biotechnology…………..
  • Selective breeding
  • Selective breeding for new genetic combinations
  • livestock, crops,
  • yogurt, cheese bread, beer.

Types of Biotechnology…………..
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Genetic engineering makes it possible for
    organisms to get genes from different species
    makes products useful in agriculture

Types of Biotechnology…………..
  • Genetically Modified Foods
  • Genetically modified foods - produce plants that
    yield more food, produce new types of food,
    plants prone to diseases and severe weather
    increase the disease resistance, size and growth
    rate of animals, in medicine and industry.

Types of Biotechnology…………..
  • Environmental Biotechnology
  • Environment (bioremediation, heavy metal
    biotechnology, species preservation).
  • Gene Therapy
  • Gene therapy replace defective genes with
    healthy ones (use of viruses).

  • Further Readings
  • Pg 9-12 (Types of Biotechnology)
  • Pg 17 (Jobs in Biotechnology)
  • Browse Web Links pg 21