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-the word biotechnology comes from the Greek words bios (life) and technikos (involving human knowledge and skills)

-the manipulation of living organisms are parts of organisms to make products useful to humans

-deals with the manipulation of the genes of organisms to alter their behavior, characteristics, or value


-ancient ways of using living organisms to make new products/modify existing ones

-our ancestors were pioneers of biotechnology

-they lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle

Cross breeding plants or animals – selecting desirable genes from one generation to another

Microbial fermentation – making wine, yoghurt, cheese and breads

Enzymes as food additives – e.g. papain from from papaya to tenderize meat and clarify beverages

-humans also began to notice that some animals were more adaptable to domestication than others

-people began to settle in one place instead of roaming around, they realized that they need to store food

-one of the first methods was storage of fruit juice such as grape juice


-process in which a substance breaks down into a simpler substance

-microorganisms like yeast and bacteria usually play a role in the fermentation process


Plant Biotechnology

-plants that’ve been GM by inserting or moving DNA

-GM (Genetically Modified)

-over 14m producers in 25 countries planted and grew 330m acres of biotech crops in 2009

Animal Biotechnology

Animal Cloning – process of making an exact genetic copy of an animal

Dolly the Sheep – 1st cloned animal (by Dr. Ian Wilnut and others)

-farmed salmon reach mature size in a fraction of the usual time than wild salmon

Goats and Cows – produce therapeutic proteins in their milk

Pigs – produce phytase enzyme in saliva

Medicine Biotechnology

-therapeutic proteins, vaccines, and other medicines may be produced in genetically engineered cell cultures through
biomanufacturing such as human insulin produced in bacteria

Gene Therapy

-has been used to treat and cure genetic disorders and illnesses that were once considered untreatable (Ex: Stem Cells)

Environment Biotechnology


-use of living organisms to remedy an environmental problem

*Phytoremediation – use of plants to remove contaminants


Genetic Engineering(Gene Splicing) – allows for very specific isolation and movement of genes for desirable traits without the
inclusion of less desirable traits

GMO’s – refer to those organisms that had genetic material removed and/or inserted in order to change a particular trait of the

Recombinant DNA Technologies – are molecular tools and techniques that allow the manipulation of DNA Sequences in the laboratory

Recombinant DNA – combination of DNA from different sources

Transgenes – genes of interest that are moved into an organism using recombinant DNA technology


1. Restriction Enzyme/Endonucleases – cut DNA at or near specific nucleotide sequences

- Are found in bacteria
2. Dna Ligase – joins fragments of DNA

- in molecular biology, it can be used to insert genes of interest into plasmid vectors or to create fusion genes by
joining one gene onto another (Ligation, “tying a knot”)

3. DNA/RNA Polymerase:
DNA Polymerase – enzymes that create DNA molecules by assembling nucleotides (building blocks of DNA)
- these enzymes are essential to DNA replication and usually work in pair to create 2 identical DNA strands
from a single oriental DNA molecule
RNA Polymerase(green) – synthesizes RNA by following a strand of DNA
- enzyme that is responsible for copying a DNA sequence into an RNA sequence (mRNA) during the
process of transcription

4. Electrophoresis – used to separate DNA fragments by size

5. PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) – “molecular photocopying”

- fast and inexpensive technique used to “amplify” –copy- small segments of DNA

How it Works:

* sample is heated so DNA denatures or separates into 2 pieces of single-stranded DNA

* “Taq Polymerase” synthesizes –builds- 2 new strands of DNA using the “original strands” as templates

* Each of these strands can be used to create 2 new copies, and so on, and so forth, repeated as many as 30 – 40 times, leading to
more than 1b exact copies of original DNA segment

* the entire cycling process of PCR is automated and can be completed in just a few hours, directed by thermocycler

GMM(Genetically Modified Microorganisms)

Plasmid – independent, circular, self-replicating DNA molecule that carries only a few genes

Enzymes – protein substances that create or speed up chemical processes in the body of an organism

Human Insulin – hormone produced by the human pancreas that helps to regulate metabolism of carbohydrates

Diabetes – if body doesn’t manufacture enough insulin

BST(Bovine Somatotropin) – hormone composed of protein produced in the pituitary gland of cattle

-helps control production of milk


-insert new gene into a plant or animal genome doesn’t always guarantee a predicted downstream biological result

-scientists must spend a lot of time finding aand characterizing genes and gene regulatory DNA segments (Promoters)

Promoters – control the expression of genes by interacting with the transcriptional machinery of the cell

-in order to genetically engineer cells, scientists need a way to “cut and paste” specific pieces of DNA

-restriction endonucleases, recognize specific DNA sequences and cut DNA into pieces

Enzymes – proteins that catalyze or speed up chemical reactions in cells

- discovered in bacteria in 1970

Plasmid – used to describe circular DNA in bacteria

Vector – plasmid engineered by the scientists and used for research or production of biological products


1. In order to deliver recombinant DNA into cells, a passage through the cell membrane and a cell wall must be created
2. Bathing bacterial cells in calcium chloride salts will make them able to receive Vector DNA. Once Treated, these cells are
called Competent cells
3. They are mixed with vectors and exposed to a quick heat shock or electric pulse (electroporation) to create pores in the cell
4. The Plasmid DNA enters the cell through these pores


1. Insect resistance and Herbicide resistance

2. Nutritionally enhanced crops (Golden Rice, BioCassava)
3. Stress tolerance to drought, saline soil & temperature extremes
4. Climate tolerance
5. Disease-resistant crops


-study of microorganisms

-study the relationship between microbes in human life


-organisms that are too small to be seen with the unaided eye

-needs microscope to be seen


-rapidly growing cell

Microorganisms include:

1. Bacteria
2. Fungi (Yeasts and Molds)
3. Microscopic Algae
4. Protozoa
5. Viruses, Viroids, Prions (Non-living Infectious Agents)


1. Photosynthesis: Marine and Freshwater MO (Algae and other Bacteria) capture energy from sunlight and convert into food,
forming the basis of the food chain and generates oxygen
2. Decomposers: Soil microbes break down dead and decaying matter and recycle chemical elements that can be used by
other organisms
3. Nitrogen Fixation: Some bacteria can take nitrogen from air and incorporate it into organic compounds in soil, water, and air
4. Digestion: Human and many other animals have microorganisms in their digestive tract, essential for digestion and vitamin
A. Cellulose Digestion by ruminants (Cows, Rabbits, Etc.)
B. Synthesis of Vitamin K (Blood Clotting) and Vitamin B (Metabolism)
5. Synthesis of Chemical Products: MO’s have many commercial applications such as acetone/organic acids/enzymes/alcohols
6. Medicine: Many antibiotics and other drugs are naturally synthesized by microbes (Penicillin – made by mold)
7. Food Industry – Many important foods and beverages are made with microbes: vinegar, pickles, alcoholic beferage, bread,
cheese, etc.
8. Genetic Engineering: Recombinant microbes produce important
a. Medical and Therapeutic Products
b. Commercial Products
9. Medical Rsesarch: Microbes are well suited for biological and medical research for several reasons


-MOs are almost everywhere

-before the microscope was invented, microbes were unknown to scientists and:

Thousands died because of epidemics, Cause: not understood

Entire families DIED because of vaccinations and antibiotics weren’t available to fight infections

-Knowledge of MOs allow humans to:

Prevent disease occurrence

Prevent food spoilage

Led to asceptic techniques to prevent contamination

MICROORGANISMS: Naming and Classifying

-Linnaeus – established system of scientific nomenclature(naming) of organisms (1735)

-Latin – language traditionally used by scholars

-naming assigns each organism two names (Binomial)

a. genus – first name, always capitalized

b. specific epithet (species name) lowercase

-italicized or underlined

-are Latinized and used worldwide

-may be descriptive or honor a scientist

1. Staphylococcus aureus – describes clustered arrangement of cells (staphylo)(coccus) indicates spherical shape, and golden color
of colonies (aur-)

2. Escherichia coli – Theodor Escherich, describes the bacterium’s habitat-the large intestine or colon

3. After 1st use, scientific names may be abbreviated with the first letter of genus in specific epithet (S. aureus, E. coli)



-simple, unicellular organisms

Prokaryotic – genetic material is not enclosed in nuclear membrane (Baceria, Archaea)

-appear in one of several shapes:

a. Bacillus (rodlike)

b. Coccus (spherical)

c. Spiral (Corkscrew or Curved)

-some are star-shaped or square

-may form in pairs, chains, clusters, etc.

-found everywhere

-reproduce by binary fission (division into 2 equal cells)

-most bacteria use organic chemicals derived from dead or living organisms for nutrition

-some produce food by photosynthesis, some can derive nutrition from inorganic substances

a. Bacillus (Rod)
b. Coccus (Spherical)

c. Spirillium (Spiral)

d. Spirochaete (Corkscrew)

e. Vibrios (Comma)

f. Streptococcus (Chain of Cocci)

g. Staphylococcus (Cluster of Cocci)

h. Diplococcus (Pair of Cocci)

i. Chain of Bacilli


-consists of prokaryotic cells

-have cell walls

-lack peptidoglycan

-not known to cause disease

-live in extreme environments

-divided into 3 main groups:

a. Methanogens: Produce Methane as waste product for respiration

b. Extremophiles: Salt Loving, live in extremely salty environments (can live in extreme temperatures)

c. Extreme Thermophiles: Heat-Loving, live in hot sulfurous water (hot springs)


-Eukaryotic Cells (have distinct nucleus containing the cell’s genetic material surrounded by a nuclear membrane)