Biotechnology By: Logan parnell

Cloning

Cloning is the process of copying genetic material to make identical copies of different organisms. So far, many animals have been cloned by scientists. Animals such as horses, sheep, cows, and even a dog. Cloning originally is a natural process that takes place in many microorganisms because of asexual reproduction. In-lab cloning takes place by taking the genes from one organism and putting them into a type of carrier cell called a vector. The vector then is forced to multiply and thus it creates multiples of the cloned gene.

Dolly the sheep, the first successful cloning

Cloning has been around for over 50 years, causing much discussion about whether or not it is ethical. For example, in the case of dolly the sheep, it took 276 attempts to successfully lone her. Many people would say that this is unethical because the 275 failed attempts resulted in destroyed embryo. On the other hand, the plus to cloning is one that we are seeing take place today. A wooly mammoths genes being recovered with the potential of cloning it and reviving an extinct species. Biotech makes all of this possible because it allows the extraction of individual genes of an animal, a scientific action that wouldn't be possible without biotech.

High Tech Genetics

Bioinformatics and microarrays

Bioinformatics and microarrays are two very complicated and complex types of science. Bioinformatics is the science of collecting and analyzing different types of complex biological data, and a microarray is a grid of DNA segments that is used to test and map parts of the DNA. Both of these sciences are being used today, but they are still very new. The positives of these sciences are clear, they are used to be able to detect and fix problems with human DNA.

GMO's

Genetically modified organisms

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs are organisms that have genes artificially added from the genes of another unrelated organism. GMOs are used to create organisms that can be prone to insects, or contain genes to increase the life of an organism. GMOs are very commonly used in Americas crops and livestock.

GMOs are very common in America today, they are used in 94% of soy, and 88% of corn. Almost every other crop in America is someway effected by GMOs. There is a lot of controversy surrounding GMOs, many people think that it is very unhealthy for our bodies when we ingest them. When tested on lab animals, GMOs damaged the stomach tissue almost every time. GMOs have also been proven to increase allergic reactions. It can also give you a lower resistance to antibiotics and other medicines.

Stem Cell Research

Adult Vs. Embryonic

Stem cells in general are used to grow and produce new tissue by taking from already existing tissue cells.

Adult Cells

  • Cells that are found among other cells in an organ or tissue
  • Adult stem cells are believed to be usable in transplants of organs or tissue
  • Adult cells are removed from animals in order to be used further
  • Adult stem cells show a lot of potential to be able to grow itself.
  • There are 3 types of Adult Stem Cells ( Hematopoietic, Mesenchymal, Neural)

Embryonic Cells

  • Embryonic cells are cells that come from embryos
  • Embryonic cells are also capable of being separated without differentiating within the cell
  • These cells can be grown very easily in relation to adult stem cells, and these are much more easily altered.
  • Test can be run on these cells to predict the long-term growth of the cell.

Gene Therapy and Genomic Medicine

Gene Therapy

  • Gene therapy is an experimental technique used to treat diseases using genes
  • Gene therapy is a very successful treatment option
  • Works by replacing mutated genes with corrected ones

Genomic Medicine

  • Genomic medicine is a specialized type of medicine that is suited for your body by examining the DNA and changing it
  • Sometimes genetic mutations can be caused by genomic medicine

Designer Babies and Bioethics

Designer Babies

Designer Babies is an idea that has been gaining popularity in the last few years. It is basically genetically modifying your unborn child so that you can make it look and act how you want. The process has gained popularity because you could potentially take away certain genes that cause diseases or increase risk for illnesses like cancer.

Bioethics

Bioethics is just the ethica involved in medicine and biology. It becomes a prominent topic in many cases such as stem cells and designer babies. It essentially adds law, theology, and philosophy to biology to assure that all procedures that take place are at least partially ethical.

Epigenetics

Epigenetics is the study of potentially heritable changes in gene expression that does not involve changes in the DNA sequence. It is inherited in the sperm or egg cells. Essentially epigenetics is the ability to change a gene by determining whether or not it is active instead of altering it physically. This is the same process that your body does naturally with brain and skin cells. They are the same, but different parts of them are active so they do completely different things.

DNA Fingerprinting and CSI

DNA Fingerprinting - a test to identify and evaluate the DNA in a person's cells

CSI - when evidence at crime scenes are collected and examined such as fingerprints, hairs, or bodily fluids

DNA Fingerprinting and CSI are used all the time these days. Often times, these tactics are used to solve crimes and overturn wrongful convictions. The only downsides to these tactics are potential invasions of privacy and profiling. During DNA Fingerprinting, the fingerprints are broken down into segments of DNA and then marked and exposed on x-ray film.

Personal Ancestry and Paternity Kits

Personal Ancestry

  • The process of finding your ancestors by looking backwards through your family line
  • Different examples are 23andme.com, Ancestry.com, etc.
  • All of these use different processes but achieve the same result of finding your ancestor

Paternity Test

  • A paternity test is a kit used to find the parents/DNA of a baby
  • These are mostly used to find who the parents at a baby are if there's an uncertainty
  • A paternity test uses a spit swab from a baby to test the DNA

PCR and Gel Electrophoresis

  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) - a technique used to copy segments of DNA multiple times
  • Gel Electrophoresis - a lab technique used to seperate mixtures of DNA, RNA, or proteins according to molecule size
  • These are both very difficult techniques that are used some today, but as technology advances, they will become much easier and cheaper
The Cycle of PCR
  • Like most things in Biotechnology, these two techniques come with their own ethical issues, mostly because, again they involve tampering with DNA
  • On the side of PCR, although scientists can produce millions of copies of DNA in a short period of time, many people disagree with the process saying that we should let our bodies produce DNA naturally.
  • There are not nearly as many ethical problems with Gel Electrophoresis because in many cases it is used to help people rather than just for research.

Plasmids, Recombinant DNA, and Transgenic Organisms

Plasmids

  • Small, circular, double stranded DNA that is much different than regular DNA
  • The genes that are carried in these plasmids provide pacteria with genetic advantages

Recombinant DNA

  • Artificially formed DNA, made using constituents from other organisms
  • The purpose of this technique is to isolate certain genes in DNA

Transgenic Organisms

  • A plant, animal, or single celled life form

Credits:

Created with images by adactio - "Clone troopers" • Joanne and Matt - "IMG_3386" • USDAgov - "A variety of dried ingredients" • Kit4na - "Liam - 9 months"

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