4.3_Biotechnology(1) - OK, weve seen how cells replicate,...

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OK, we’ve seen how cells replicate, pass on genetic information, and use genetic information for cell processes, now for a little introduction to how humans have used these discoveries to further explore biology and to develop technologies that have been used in medicine, agriculture and other fields. 1
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We’ll do a quick overview of techniques and then focus on two specific categories of biotechnologies: cloning and recombinant DNA methods. 2
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Cell cloning is happening in your body right now in the form of normal cell replacement and growth via mitosis. So, it’s not surprising that with the right nutrients and environment, scientists can take cells from an organism and grow them in a flask. This is done routinely; however, if they take cells that have not differentiated or specialized, referred to as stem cells, there’s an opportunity to induce them into forming specific tissue or even a whole organism. Sometimes just specific proteins are of interest. In this case, the gene or genes responsible for that protein can be identified and transferred to easily grown organisms like bacteria or yeast; then we have a biological system to produce the proteins of interest. Often, these proteins are used to treat people for medical conditions. Increasingly, scientists are removing specific genes from one species and inserting then into agriculturally important plant and animal species in order to give the recipient species some advantage in growth, yield, or disease resistance. These organisms are referred to GMO’s for genetically modified organisms. Some efforts are going into genetically modifying humans with severe genetic diseases by injecting viruses that contain normal genes. Finally, the field of forensics has developed a wide range of biotechnology tools for amplifying and matching DNA to solve criminal cases. 3
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molecule in the case of the DNA molecule. Botanists have used tissue cultures from plants for a long time to grow clones of the selected plants. In fact, many people have grown house and garden plants from cuttings, thus accomplishing the cloning of an individual organism. With animals, it’s a bit more difficult. 4
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This note was uploaded on 01/29/2012 for the course BIOL 212 taught by Professor Rockhill during the Spring '08 term at Seattle Central Community College.

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4.3_Biotechnology(1) - OK, weve seen how cells replicate,...

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