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Molecular Biotechnology In Life Essay

If you have had a can of soft drink, ate a fruit, or took some head ache
medicine this morning – then it’s very likely you have used a genetically
enhanced product. Genetics is a part of biotechnology that manipulates
biological organisms to make products that benefit humankind. Biotechnology is
essential in our life, but there are some concerns regarding its safety.

Although, biotechnology may pose some danger it is proving to be very beneficial
to humankind. The first applications of biotechnology occurred approximately
around 5000 BC.

Back then people used simple breeding methods. Chains of plants
or animals were crossed to produce greater genetic variety. The hybridized
offspring then were selectively bred to produce the desired traits. For example,
for about 7000 years, corn has been selectively bred for increased kernel size
and additional nutrition value. Also, through selective breeding, cattle and
pigs have become the major sources of animal foods for human (Encarta 99). The
modern era of biotechnology started in 1953 when British biophysicist Francis

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Crick and American biochemist James Watson presented their double-stranded model
of DNA.

DNA is an extensive, chain-like structure made up of nucleotides, and in
a way it looks like a twisted rope ladder (Drlica 27). In 1960 Swiss
microbiologist Werner Arber had discovered restriction enzymes. This special
kind of enzymes can cut DNA of an organism at precise points. In 1973 American
scientists Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer removed a specific gene from one
bacterium and inserted it into another using restriction enzymes. This
achievement served as foundation to recombinant DNA technology, which is
commonly called genetic engineering. Recombinant DNA technology is a transfer of
a specifically coded gene of one organism into bacteria.

Further, the host
bacteria serve as a biologic factory by reproducing the transferred gene. Today
biotechnology’s applications are used in a variety of areas. It’s used in waste
management for creation of biodegradable materials, in agriculture for higher
yields and quality, in medicine for production of advanced pharmaceuticals,
cloning tissues and curing genetic diseases. However there is a down side to
genetic engineering. It deals with dangerous bacteria which could escape the
boundaries of a lab and possibly cause epidemics. Moreover, if a transgenic
organism escapes, it could eliminate a range of species and thus disrupt natural
balance.

Since biotechnology is a necessity, some government guidelines were
established for strict regulation of recombinant DNA experiments (Encarta 99).

Agriculture is the largest business in the world, with assets of approximately
$900 billion and about 15 million employees. Back in the 80’s, there was a
concern, based on population growth rates, that by the turn of the century
traditional agriculture would be in a serious trouble (Hanson 68). But due to
the revolutionary development of biotechnology during last couple of decades
agriculture has drastically advanced. Sensational achievements were made in both
plant cultivation and animal husbandry. The modification of plants has become
one of the most important aspects in agriculture.

Increased crop yields can be
achieved through the increase of land, or increased yield per tract. Land is
expensive and should be used efficiently, to do so – large quantities of
fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and frequent irrigation may be necessary. Due
to the increase in petroleum cost – prices for nitrogen fertilizers continuously
rise. Herbicides and pesticides are considered to be hazardous and very costly
materials. Moreover, recurrent irrigation gradually leads to serious damage of
the soil due to the salt accumulation. Eventually, increased amounts of salt in
the soil result in large losses of crops (Hanson 69).

Biotechnology can
incorporate genes that are resistant to environmental stress, viruses, and
insects. Such modified plants will be resistant to the same factors as the
incorporated gene. Crop plants could be genetically engineered to manufacture
functional insecticides so that they are immanently tolerant to insects. No
hazardous and costly pesticides are needed for such plants resulting in very low
crop maintenance costs. Moreover, biological insecticides are highly specific
for a range of insects and considered to be harmless to humans and other higher
animals (Glick and Pasternak 341). Plant viruses very often attack crops and
cause significant damage and loss of crops.

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Recombinant DNA technology offers a
few ways to obtain natural virus resistance: viral transmission can be blocked,
development of the virus can be blocked, or viral symptoms can be bypassed or
resisted (Glick and Pasternak 345). Biotechnology also contributes to the
development of plants with higher tolerance to environmental changes. Plants
cannot avoid hazardous environmental conditions such as heat, drought, and UV
radiation, so they have developed physiological ways to deal with .

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Molecular Biotechnology In Life Essay
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Artscolumbia
If you have had a can of soft drink, ate a fruit, or took some head ache medicine this morning - then it's very likely you have used a genetically enhanced product. Genetics is a part of biotechnology that manipulates biological organisms to make products that benefit humankind. Biotechnology is essential in our life, but there are some concerns regarding its safety. Although, biotechnology may pose some danger it is proving to be very beneficial to humankind. The first applicatio
2019-02-12 08:13:28
Molecular Biotechnology In Life Essay
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