Unit – I A
Introduction to Biotechnology
- Biotechnology is a branch of biology, It deals with the different techniques of using live creatures/organisms or enzymes from organisms/produce products and processes useful to humans.
- Microbe-mediated processes like the making of curd, bread, wine can be considered as the form of biotechnology.
- Nowadays, the term biotechnology is used in a restricted sense. It mainly refers to use genetically modified organisms to achieve the same on a larger scale. Further, many other processes/techniques are also included under biotechnology.
- For example, in vitro fertilization leading to a ‘test-tube’ baby, synthesizing a gene and using it, developing a DNA vaccine or correcting a defective gene, are all part of biotechnology.
- The new definition given by (European Federation of Biotechnology) EFB is as follows: ‘Biotechnology is the integration of natural science and organisms, cells, parts thereof, and molecular analogues for products and services’.
PRINCIPLES OF Introduction to Biotechnology
Following are the two core techniques that enabled development in the field of modern biotechnology.
(i) Genetic engineering:
- Genetic engineering is a collection of techniques used to alter the chemistry of genetic material (DNA and RNA), to introduce these into host organisms and thus change the phenotype of the host organism.
- There are advantages of sexual reproduction over asexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction provides opportunities for variations and formulation of unique combinations of genetic setup, some of which may be beneficial to the organism as well as the population. Asexual reproduction preserves the genetic information, while sexual reproduction permits variation.
- Traditional hybridization procedures used in plant and animal breeding, very often lead to inclusion and multiplication of undesirable genes along with the desired genes. The techniques of genetic engineering which include the creation of recombinant DNA, use of gene cloning and gene transfer, overcome this limitation and allows us to isolate and introduce only one or a set of desirable genes without introducing undesirable genes into the target organism.
- Genetic engineering bypasses the restriction in the gene transfer mechanisms between unrelated organisms. These techniques are referred as engineering because they do not occur naturally but they have to design or engineered.
(ii) Maintenance of sterile (microbial contamination-free) ambiance:
- Sterile (microbial contamination-free) ambiance in chemical engineering processes is maintained so that the growth of only the desired microbe/eukaryotic cell in large quantities can take place.
- It is useful for the manufacture of biotechnological products like antibiotics, vaccines, enzymes, etc.