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Danielle Ereddia

on 21 September 2013

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Transcript of Biotechnology

Of Global Challenge 3: Technology
Basics of Biotechnology
What is DNA?
DNA is a chemical compound found in
cells that codes for protein
DNA is packaged in chromosomes

These can be linear or circular
What is a Gene?
A gene is a piece of DNA that codes for a specific protein or set of proteins
How do scientists manipulate genes?
Gene Splicing
Using restriction enzymes to separate the DNA at a particular location on the gene (plasmid)
Of Global Challenge 3: Technology
Recombinant DNA
Taking a specific gene, make millions of copies of it (PCR), and insert it into another organism

This creates a transgenic organism
How is this useful?
Microbial Biotechnology


Using microorganisms to create compounds, typically for medical purposes

1. Insert gene of interest into plasmid
2. Insert plasmid into bacteria
3. Bacteria produce molecule
Synthetic insulin produced by bacteria
used by diabetes patients so they can process sugar

Using microorganisms to clean up environmental disasters such as oil spills

Providing the nutrients for natural bacteria in the environment to consume the oil
How did we clean up the 2010 oil spill?
To plug the hole:
To eliminate the oil:
Tried trash, concrete
Containment dome
Eventually dome & concrete worked so we could siphon oil to ships
Controlled burn
Chemical dispersants
Protective boom
Beach cleanup
Was it effective? What was the cost? Has the oil been cleaned up entirely?
Brooker: Concepts of Genetics
Rascati: Biotechnology Lecture
B.S. in Biotechnology

Intro to Biotechnology course

Talk to biotechnology professors or students, read a book, watch a YouTube video, research online
Genetically Modified Organisms: GMOs

Taking a gene that codes for a desirable trait from one organism and placing into another organism so that organism now expresses that desirable trait

Use recombinant DNA technologies to splice the gene into a plasmid and insert the plasmid into another organism.

Bt corn: contains an insecticide that targets earworms

Golden Rice: increased iron and vitamins
- aimed to reduce hunger in developing Asian countries

FlavrSavr™ Tomato: remains fresh off the vine by suppressing the production of a protein involved in the ripening process
- first commercial GM product

Future Projects: Bananas with vaccines against diseases such as Hepatitis B

Genetic Testing


Scientists can conduct different tests that detect specific types of genetic disorders.
Both adults and embryos

Karyotyping: detects chromosomal abnormalities by using a microscope to view and take a picture of an individual’s chromosomes

FISH: a needle that is attracted to certain DNA segments fluoresces if specific genes are in an individual

Amniocentesis: Remove fluid from the womb and conduct these tests to determine if baby has genetic disorders

Can detect genetic disorders with just a blood or spit sample
Gene Therapy


Introduction of altered genes into living cells to treat disease

1. Take a gene of interest (one that codes for the “healthy” trait) and insert into a plasmid
2. Insert plasmid into tiny “bubble” called a liposome or into a virus genome
3. Insert into living cell. The cell will recognize the DNA and start creating the healthy proteins

Adenosine Deaminase Deficiency treated with gene therapy
Current Research:
Benefits & Risks
Global Relevance
Microbial Biotechnology
relatively small costs and nutrient requirements
fast generation time
Fear of unknown consequences
possibility of mutation and loss of control
fear of unknown consequences
possibility of mutation and loss of control
requires extensive monitoring of the system & the bacteria
controlling growth conditions may be more difficult than planned

Genetically Modified Organisms
increased crop yield/nutrient content
ability to grow in off-seasons and in extreme weather conditions
unintended harm to wildlife and beneficial insects
Insects might develop resistance to pesticide-producing GM crops
Intellectual property
Ethics of tampering with nature
Decreased biodiversity
Other GMO Uses
Genetic Testing
Gene Therapy
reduces the quantity of genetic diseases
People born with genetic conditions can recover
patients may have an immune response to new DNA
Viral vector, when used to insert new DNA, could mutate and cause disease
We cannot treat disorders caused by multiple genes, but only single-gene disorders
My Research!
Interest in biotechnology, cultural differences

Surveyed students in America and Brazil

Participants ranked on a scale of:
Very Unethical -------> Very Ethical
(1) -------> (5)
Medical purposes = more ethical than non-medical

Genetic engineering for plants = more ethical than humans
Brazilian students thought biotech was more ethical than American students thought it was

Brazilian religious groups were more in favor of biotechnology, while American religious groups were more conservative towards biotechnology
American students more concerned about "playing god"

Brazilian students more concerned about unknown consequences
Future Studies
Reconstruct survey and redistribute in America and Brazil

Distribute survey in Ghana and other countries
Why is this considered a Global REVOLUTION?
1940s: first genetically modified crops
Norman Borlaug: GM Wheat, rice
Helped reduce famines in Mexico
1960s: Rice saved Bengal Famine in India

1953: Watson & Crick discover the structure of DNA

1976: First use of microbes to produce drugs

1982: First use of microbes to produce a marketable drug: Humulin
Differences in Perceptions on the Ethics of Biotechnology between American and Brazilian Undergraduates
What now?
Educate the public with clear, unbiased research
Create effective public policy
We could have used microorganisms and it may have worked cheaper, faster, and more completely
Individuals who don't know their family history for certain genetic disorders can find out
Parents can see the chance of their baby having a genetic condition so they can prepare
actively treat genetic disorders
Security concerns
Occasional false positive or false negative results
Genetic testing for conditions with no treatment may leave patient mentally unstable
Example: Phenylketonuria (PKU)
cheaper solution than traditional methods
minimal environmental impact
no waste products
Success Story:
1985: Advent of genetic testing: expensive

1990s: First use of gene therapy to treat Adenosine Deaminase Deficiency (ADA)

Now: 75-80% of produce and processed food genetically modified

Now: Genetic Testing: 23&me.com = $99
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