Biotechnology ; A Detailed Account

What is Biotechnology ?

Biotechnology as a science is an essential part of modern biology, which, like physics, became at the end of the 20th century. one of the top priorities in the world of science and economy. A surge of research on biotechnology in the world of Science took place in the 80 ‘s, when the new methodological and methodical approaches to ensure the effective use of science and practice, and there was a real opportunity to achieve the maximum economic effect. Projected in the early 21 century biotech products will account for a quarter of total world production.
In our country a considerable expansion of research and introduction of their results in production was achieved in the 80 ‘s. In this period the country was developed and actively carried out the first nationwide program on biotechnology, have created interdepartmental biotechnology centers, trained qualified personnel specialists-biotechnologists, lab and biotech are organized in research institutions and universities.
With regard to the more modern biotechnological processes, they are based on the techniques of recombinant DNA, as well as on the use of immobilized enzymes, cells or cell organelles. Modern biotechnology is the science of genetic engineering and cell technologies and techniques for creating and using genetically transformed biological objects for intensification of production or new products for various purposes.


There are 3 main areas of biotechnological Sciences:

1.Industrial biotechnology

Red biotechnology (medicine) is considered the most important sphere of biotechnologies. The biotechnological method plays an increasingly important role for the development of new medicines (for example, for the treatment of cancer). Biotechnology is important also for Diagnostics (DNA chips, biosensors). Red biotechnology is recognized in Austria and is considered a key technology and engine for the development of other industries.
Green biotechnology is used in the modern plant breeding. Using biotechnological methods are an effective means of combating against insects, fungi, viruses, and herbicides. Of particular relevance to the scope of green biotechnology is genetic engineering. It creates the preconditions for the transfer of certain genes of one species of other plants and influences the development of stable properties and characteristics.
Grey biotechnology is applied in the field of environmental protection. Biotechnological methods used for soil remediation, sewage treatment, exhaust air and gases as well as for recycling.
White biotechnology encompasses the scope of application of biotechnology in the chemical industry. The white biotechnology are effective and safe for the environment, the production of such substances as alcohol, vitamins, amino acids, antibiotics and enzymes.
Blue biotechnology focuses on the technical application of the organisms and processes in marine biology. In the Centre of the research are biological organisms of the oceans.

2. Cellular Engineering

  • Hybrids.
  • Preparation of genetic maps.
  • Hybrid cells.
  • Study of cellular mechanisms.
  • Cloning.

Beginning of cell engineering dates back to 1960-m, when a method of hybridization of somatic cells. By this time, improved methods for culturing animal cells and the production of cell and tissue culture plants. Somatic hybridization, i.e. hybrids without the sexual process, carried out jointly by cultivating various lines of cells or cells of different types. Using the hybrid cells are derived from human cells and human and mouse and Chinese hamster, had done important work on medicine for mapping genes in human chromosomes. Hybrids between tumor cells and normal cells of the immune system (lymphocyte)-TN-hybridoma cells have properties of both the parental cell lines. Like cancer cells, they could indefinitely divided into artificial nutrient environments (i.e., they are “immortal”) and, like cells, can generate monoclonal antibodies (equal voices) a certain specificity. Such antibodies are used for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes, as sensitive reagents on various organic substances etc.

Another direction of cell engineering-manipulation of the non-nuclear cells, free engines and other fragments, and amounted to combining disparate parts of the cell. These experiments, as well as micro injections into the cell chromosomes, dyes, etc. are to determine mutual influences of nucleus and cytoplasm, factors regulating the activity of genes, and so on. By connecting the cells of different embryos in the early stages of their development are mosaic animals or chimeras, consisting of two distinct gene types of types of cells. Through such experiments studying the processes of cell differentiation and tissue during the development of the organism.
The ongoing decades of experiments on transplanting nuclei of somatic cells in the absence of the kernel (enucleated) egg cells of animals and then grow the embryo into an adult body with Coan. 20 b. widely known as cloning animals.

3.Genetic engineering

  • Increase production of micro organisms.
  • New sources of almost all useful substances.
  • Transgenic organisms.

Having been born in the early 70 ‘s, today it has achieved great success. Methods of genetic engineering will transform the cells of bacteria, yeast and mammals in the “factory” for large-scale production of any protein. This makes it possible to analyse in detail the structure and function of proteins and use them as medicines.
Now E.coli became a supplier of important hormones like insulin and somatotropin. The purpose of the application of genetic engineering is the construction of recombinant DNA molecules, which when embedded in the genetic apparatus attached to the body property useful for a person. For example, a “biological reactors”-micro-organisms, plants and animals, producing pharmacologically relevant to human, creating varieties of plants and breeds of animals with certain valuable to human traits. Methods of genetic engineering allow a genetic certification, to diagnose genetic diseases, create a DNA vaccine to gene therapy for different diseases.

Recombinant DNA technology uses the following methods:

Specific cleavage of DNA restriction nucleus, accelerating the selection and manipulation of individual genes;
The rapid sequencing of nucleotides of DNA fragment pieces, allowing you to define the boundaries of the gene and the amino acid sequence coded them;

Construction of recombinant DNA

Hybridization of nucleic acid sequence-specific that allows for the identification of RNA or DNA with greater precision and sensitivity, based on their ability to bind complementary nucleic acid sequences;
DNA cloning: in vitro amplification using polymerase chain reaction DNA fragment or the introduction of the bacterial cell, which after this transformation plays this piece in millions of copies;

Introduction of recombinant DNA into cells or organisms.

Biotechnology is a necessary human products and materials using cultivated cells of living organisms and biological processes. Biotechnology is extremely high due to the fact that it is conventional methods: they are used under optimal conditions (temperature and pressure), the more productive, environmentally friendly and does not require chemicals, toxic environment, etc.

Objects of biotechnology are numerous representatives of groups of living organisms, microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, protozoa, yeast, etc.}, plants, animals, and isolated from their cells and cellular structures (bodies of nelly). Biotechnology is based on the living systems of physiologic-biochemical processes, which are energy, synthesis and cleavage products of metabolism, the formation of the chemical and structural components of cells.

Objectives, methods and achievements of biotechnology. Mankind must learn to effectively change the hereditary nature of living organisms in an effort to ensure a safe food and raw materials and do not bring the planet to the environmental disaster. It is no accident the breeders in our time is to create new forms of plants, animals and micro-organisms, well adapted to industrial modes of production, sustainably tolerate adverse conditions, effectively use solar energy and, more importantly, to receive organic products without excessive pollution of the environment. Fundamentally new approaches to resolving this fundamental problem is to use in breeding for genetic and cell engineering.

Genetic engineering is a branch of molecular genetics associated with the purposeful creation of new molecules of DNA that can self-replicate in the cage master and control the synthesis of the metabolites of cells. Originating at the junction of nucleic acid chemistry and genetics of micro-organisms, genetic engineering is involved in deciphering the structure of genes, their synthesis and cloning, pasting, allocated from the cells of living organisms or newly synthesized genes in the cells of plants and animals with the aim of changing their hereditary properties.

To implement the transfer of genes (or genome) from one type of organism to another, often very distant origins, you must perform several complex operations:

  • The selection of genes (the separate fragments of DNA) of cells in the test tank, plants or animals. In some cases this operation replaces the artificial synthesis of the desired genes
  • Connection (stitching) separate DNA fragments of any origin in a single molecule of plasmids
  • The introduction of hybrid plasmid DNA containing the gene into the host cell
  • Copy (clone) of this gene in the new host with his work.

Cloned genes by microinjection is injected into an egg or plant protoplasts and mammals (isolated cells cell wall) and have grown as much as animals or plants, in the genome which are built-in (integrated) cloned genes. Plants and animals, the gene which changed by gennoinženernyh operations are called transgenic plants and transgenic animals.

Already transgenic mice, rabbits, pigs, sheep, in the genome which employ foreign genes of different origins, including the genes of bacteria, yeast, mammalian, human, transgenic plants with the genes of other, unrelated species. Transgenic organisms reveal great opportunities of genetic engineering as applied branches of molecular genetics. For example, in recent years a new generation of transgenic plants with such valuable traits like resistance to herbicides, insect etc. Transgenic plants in 1999, the world occupied the area equal to 48.2 million.

There is every reason to believe that in the near future the problem of changing the heredity of higher plants, leading to a revolution in agriculture. First of all it is about creating a symbiosis between cereals and n-fixing bacteria, and this will solve the problem of nitrogen fertilizers. There is already evidence that free-living bacteria are able to associate engineered ones with roots of grasses, allowing the host plant to obtain a quantity of nitrogen by bacterial nitrogen fixation. Now you need to ensure that genetically engineered bacteria is more effectively joined to the roots of crops that would help them more useful and successful Association (symbiosis).

A method of transfer in certain plants more efficient enzyme systems of metabolic ways of fixing atmospheric carbon (dark phase of photosynthesis) that will increase the speed of fixing carbon dioxide and, as a consequence, the productivity of photosynthesis of cultivated plants. The most important step to winning not only on genetic diseases, but also on old age will develop methods for gene-therapy, safe for the cells. Then doctors will be able to replace in the body of the elderly suffered damage as a result of mutations of genes to normal. Today the methods of genetic engineering led to the synthesis in industrial quantities of hormones like insulin, interferon and somatotropin (growth hormone), which are necessary for the treatment of a number of human genetic diseases, diabetes, certain types of malignant tumors, dwarfism. Using genetic methods of microorganism strains were also obtained (Pseudomonas denitrification, etc.) that produce ten thousand times more vitamins (c, B3, 13, etc.) than the original form. At the heart of cell engineering is based on the use of the methods of cultivation of isolated cells and tissues to artificial nutrient medium in a controlled environment. This was made possible by the ability of plant cells as a result of regeneration to form whole plant from a single cell. Regeneration conditions are developed for many cultivated plants, potatoes, wheat, barley, corn, tomatoes, etc. Working with these objects makes it possible to use in breeding of non-traditional methods of cell engineering — somatic hybridization, cell selection, overcome necessarily in culture, etc.

Somatic hybridization is the merging of two different cells in tissue culture. Merge may different types of cells in one organism and cells of different, sometimes very distant species such as mice and rats, cats and dogs, human and mouse. Cultivation of plant cells to be possible, when learned by using enzymes to get rid of a thick cell wall and getting isolated protolayer, which can be cultivated in the same way as the cells of animals. In addition, you can force a merge with other plants and protoplastom get in appropriate circumstances, new hybrids. Protoplast is also an ideal recipient for alien DNA, which allows the formation of genetically modified plants. From protoplast of many plants in suitable conditions are true organisms that can be transplanted into the ground and continue to multiply in the usual way. In this way are hybrids between plants that would otherwise not interbreed, are exempt from viruses or, conversely, are plants different genes. Plants-regenerants identified a wide spectrum of mutations in both qualitative and quantitative criteria. For directed breeding mutants in culture creates a selective von pozvolâûecij, select the cells with the necessary qualities. It is this type of cell selection provides an opportunity to improve the fitness of genotypes, i.e. in the culture can be breeding for resistance to pathogens, herbicide tolerance, salinization, high or low their acidity, drought, etc., on the general principle of selection of plant cells in culture on a nutrient medium is that the sign of a plant that is the selection tends to manifest itself at the cellular level.

For example, if the culture of plant cells add a toxic amino acid analogues, it will breed only those mutants whose own synthesis of these amino acids is higher than usual. So managed to get the cells of plants, and carrots, synthesizing in 20 times more methionine in 30 times is tryptophan, in 5 times is lysine. Such a selection as much as plants would require a huge work for many decades.

A very important aspect of cell engineering is related to the early stages of embryogenesis. For example, in vitro fertilisation of ova now allows to overcome some common forms of infertility in humans. In food animals by injection of hormones cannot get from one cow-champions dozens of eggs, fertilize them with sperm in a test tube Bull’s pedigree, and then implanted into the womb of other cows; as a result, one valuable instance gives 10 times more progeny than was possible in the normal way. Culture of plant cells take advantage of rapid multiplication to slow-growing plants-ginseng, olive trees, raspberries, peaches, etc. So, in normal breeding raspberry Bush gives no more than 50 shoots a year, using cell culture can be obtained more than 50 thousand. plants. This breed sometimes grow plants more productive than the original variety. So were new and valuable varieties of grapefruit and so on.

For many years, to address the problem of environmental pollution used biological methods developed by biotechnology. So, the bacteria Nocardia and Rhodococcus genera successfully apply for emulsification and oil hydrocarbons sorption of the water environment. They are able to separate the water and the oil phase, concentrate the oil, clean the waste water from oil impurities. Assimillated petroleum hydrocarbons, such micro-organisms convert them into proteins, b-group vitamins and carotenes. If the breeding grounds of oil fractions add nitrogenous substance with mineral salts, the process of formation of protein will be extraordinarily intense. Virtually every ton of hydrocarbons in this way, you can get up a ton of protein. This means that less than one per cent of processed crude oil now would be enough to compensate for the shortage of protein on the planet.

Some of the strains of bacteria is successfully apply to remove the fuel oil from the sandy beaches. Received the genetically engineered strains that can Cleave octane, camphor, naphthalene, xylene, effectively utilize crude oil. To extract the metals from waste water can be widely used strains of Citrobacter, able to accumulate uranium, copper, and cobalt. Available high-performance strains of Pseudomonas and the thermophilic bacteria Sulfolobus for sulphur removal from coal; This is one of the most difficult environmental problems; because burning coal is a strong pollution sulphur. Biotechnology into heavy industry, where microorganisms are used for extraction, transformation and processing of natural resources. Already in ancient times first metallurgists were iron from bog ore, produced by železobakteriâmi, which can concentrate the iron. Now developed bacterial concentrations of a number of other valuable metals, manganese, zinc, copper, chromium, etc. These methods are used to develop piles of old mines and poor fields, where traditional methods of mining is economically disadvantageous.

Biotechnology addresses not only the specific tasks of science and production. She has a more global methodological task — it expands and accelerates the scale of human impacts on wildlife and promotes the adaptation of living systems to conditions of human existence, i.e. to the noosphere. Biotechnology, thus, serves as a powerful factor of human adaptive evolution. Biotechnology, genetic and cell engineering promising prospects. Over time, people will be implementing the needed genes into plant cells, animal and human, that will gradually get rid of many hereditary diseases, causes the cells to synthesize necessary medications and biologically active compounds, and then directly to proteins and essential amino acids used in food. Using techniques already mastered nature, biotechnologists hope to gain through photosynthesis, hydrogen is the most ecologically clean fuel of the future, as well as convert atmospheric nitrogen in ammonia, under normal conditions, and so on.