Intro to Biotechnology


thousands of years ago when the first
seed was planted in the ground the foundation for biotechnology was laid just think the first grape vines and wheat fields
pave the way to our understanding of yeast and how its fermentation could create a tasty bread a tart vinegar or a satisfying wine it
wasn’t long before biotechnology found its way into the practice of animal
breeding without any real understanding of
genetics early man figured out that by mating
farm animals with desired characteristics and traits he could obtain a breed that was highly
suited to the work he needed performed yes early farmers and breeders knew they
were tapping into a world of possibilities and they were, they were tapping into the
limitless world the biotechnology a true watershed moment in history for biotechnology was in the 16th
century when a crude microscope was used to observe and
ultimately coin the term cells of plant tissues that quickly lead to first a better quality microscope and
then the identification and isolation of a large variety of
microorganisms this vast new world of discovery now
opened the door to endless possibilities for medical
applications with the first inoculation by needle against smallpox biotechnology really took off enter into the stage in the eighteen
hundreds Louis Pasteur with his development the process the
pasteurization and Gregor Mendel who pioneered the chromosomal theory of inheritance Joseph Lister brought antiseptics in to the surgery procedure and the world began to realize that
everything could change with these revelations it was time to
give a name to this amazing field of research in 1917 Hungarian scientists Carl Rakhi discovered he could raise hundreds of pigs
through the large-scale production of sugar beets for food he inadvertently called this art of using
living things to make other things biotechnology it certainly
deserved a name and definition by that time in
history so where did it go from there, where didn’t it go might be a better question as advances continued the world saw many
more examples of beneficial progress through experimentation with bacteria
and yeast for example during World War II when the demand for
chemicals such as acetone and butane was high scientists
discovered that these can be produced on a large scale through fermentation by bacteria and
yeast cells the revelation of the transforming
principal of DNA was a game-changing discovery
followed by the breakthrough in 1953 by Watson and Crick that the
structure of DNA is that of a double helix the ever progressing field then became
known as modern biotechnology this new foundation that all organisms plant, animal, or other have the same genetic material DNA but
differ in the sequencing and that DNA led to the nineteen sixties rush to
understand the genetic code its 1972 and the world’s first recombinant DNA
molecule has entered the scene Paul Berg isolated a restriction enzyme to cut the DNA and two separate
strands are pasted together to form the first hybrid DNA molecule
this led to the first recombinant commercial product human insulin produced in bacterial
cells as a side note Genentech the company
that introduced this product went public on the stock market on
October 14, 1980 and saw the value of that stock
move from thirty-five dollars to eighty nine dollars in just one day
that remains the fastest increase in stock value in a set amount
of time in the history of the market now in this even broader area of research and discovery the term
molecular biotechnology took hold along with this refined definition the
use of biological and biochemical systems to produce products and to better the
human condition In 1990 the human genome project set up to map
all in the genes in the human body which led to the isolation of genes
that cause disease yet another world of opportunity was
opened the turn of the century heralded a new
and limitless frontier for molecular biotechnology as the industry began growing by leaps
and bounds with companies springing up daily and needing thousands of employees to grow with them the field is an ever-growing one today
as molecular biotechnology continues to better understand diseases to find vaccines, therapies,
diagnostic tests, and cures it offers wide applications in
plant and animal agriculture, aquaculture, chemical and textile
manufacturing, forestry and food processing it will be
utilized to further research in human genome sequencing, stem cell research, in vitro
fertilization and environmental progress every aspect
of our lives in the coming decades will be affected by this dynamic field even space exploration and research that’s right many laboratories are
involved in researching plants and microorganisms grown in low-pressure in microgravity
conditions for their potential use in long-distance
space missions and beyond biotechnology it started with the
humblest of beginnings has grown by leaps and bounds over the
past thousands of years and yet it’s still in its early stages
of potential if you’re planning on a career in
biotechnology good news the sky’s the limit or is it

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