Biotechnology is the field of biology that makes use of technology as well as application to living beings. Biotechnology is related to developing, modifying, and producing beneficial products for human welfare. It is one of the oldest industrial technologies that have ever been recorded. For example, the application of fermentation in the alcohol production is a biological technique that has grown and expanded into genomics, recombinant gene methodologies, applied immunology, pharmaceuticals and its applications that have extended across many fields like genetic engineering, agriculture, medicine, etc.
Biotechnology is also used in the form of bioinformatics to empower the field of research and development. This research is then used for the extraction and production of living entities through biochemical engineering.
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The biotechnology had advanced to various procedures over time like:
Biotechnology has led to the synthesis of several products and services for the welfare of mankind like:
A few of the important and path-breaking contributions of biotechnology are given below:
Plant tissue culture
Recombinant DNA technique
Production of Humulin
Invitro fertilization or test-tube baby
The basic principles of biotechnology that initiated the inception of biotechnology are:
Genetic Engineering: The underlying principle used in this process is to alter the existing organisms by modifying the genetic makeup of the organism, which involves the recombinant DNA technology. The biotech process involved in genetic engineering is given below:
Isolation of the DNA from the donor organism
DNA fragmentation using the restriction endonucleases
Ligation of the desired DNA fragment into the vector
Recombinant DNA is then transferred to the host
Culture of transformed cells in a nutrient medium
Extraction of the desired product
Chemical Engineering: The main point of distinction between biotechnology and chemical engineering is the scale of operation as mostly the products from the biotechnology are low on the volume of biochemicals and high on value. Biotechnology increased the scope of pharmaceuticals, and its application has given excellent products in terms of quality as well as quantity. Examples include vaccines, enzymes, antibiotics, etc.
Biotechnology has been used in different fields to modify and produce products for human welfare. The applications of the biotechnology include:
Agriculture: The application of biotechnology in the field of agriculture gave way to the Green Revolution. The contribution of biotechnology in the field of agriculture includes organic agriculture, agrochemical based agriculture, genetically engineered crop-based agriculture. Biotechnology has helped with tripling of the food production. It has also proved to be beneficial for the introduction of pest-resistant plants and genetically modified crops that increase food production and help to meet the needs of the growing human population.
Medicine: The involvement of recombinant DNA technology has permitted the mass production of safe and more effective therapeutic drugs. These drugs are produced as a result of genetic engineering. For example, Humulin, which is genetically modified insulin, is used to treat diabetes. Biotechnology has also developed a gene therapy that helps in the removal of genetic disorders in the embryo. Some other applications of biotechnology in medicine include PCR and ELISA.
Transgenic Animals: Transgenic animals are the ones in whom a new and altered gene has been inserted experimentally into the genome by the process of genetic engineering. A few examples of transgenic animals include pigs, sheep, cows, rats, rabbits, fish, etc. The aim that led to the creation of transgenic animals include:
To study the different types of diseases
For testing the safety of vaccines and toxicity of the drugs before they are used on the animals
For the production of biological products
To study the regulation of the genes and how they affect the normal functioning of the body and its development.
To study the contribution of the genes in the development of the genes
Aquaculture: The biotechnology helps in the improvement of life and the quantity of the fish. The gonadotropin-releasing hormone is introduced in the fish to enhance the breeding, which helps in enhancing the growth and the genetic characteristics. It also assists in preventing a number of diseases.
Antibiotics: Biotechnology helps in the production of antibiotics, vaccines, artificial hormones with the use of plants. The Genes with the desired characteristics are induced into the plants to manufacture the encoded proteins. The edible vaccines are cost-effective, can be easily stored, and are administered in the body. They are used in the treatment of diseases like hepatitis, cholera, measles, etc.
Question 1. What is Meant by Gene Cloning?
Answer: Gene cloning or DNA cloning is the process of making multiple identical copies of a piece of DNA. The process of gene cloning is done in the following manner:
Isolation of DNA Fragment or Gene
Selection of the Appropriate Vector
Incorporation of the Isolated DNA Fragment into the Vector
The Recombinant Vector is Transformed in the Host Cell
The Recombinant Host Cell is Isolated
Question 2. Can Exonuclease be Used in the Production of a Recombinant DNA Molecule?
Answer: Recombinant DNA molecules are those molecules that are produced with the help of scientific methods in a laboratory environment. No, an exonuclease cannot be used in the production of the recombinant DNA molecule because exonuclease degrades the DNA. An exonuclease acts on the free ends of linear DNA molecules, and as a result, in turn of creating DNA fragments with sticky ends, it will either completely degenerate or shorten the DNA fragment that contains the gene of interest. Consequently, the circular plasmid will not be cut due to the lack of free strands.