Biotechnology: Recent Developments, Emerging Trends, and Implications for Business

Biotechnology: Recent Developments, Emerging Trends, and Implications for Business

Qing-Ping Ma
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6772-2.ch007
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Biotechnology utilizes biological systems or living organisms to create, develop, or make products. This chapter reviews the current state of biotechnology and examines its future trends. Currently, biotechnology plays key roles in medicine, agriculture, and industry. In medicine, vaccines which still rely on biological systems for their production, are the best tools to prevent infectious diseases; antibodies and RNA/DNA probes have been crucial in detecting and treating diseases; and genetic editing and gene therapy is making it possible to treat hereditary diseases. In agriculture, biotechnology is generating crops that produce high yields and need fewer inputs, crops that need fewer applications of pesticides, and crops with enhanced nutrition profiles. In industry, biotechnology is being utilized in food processing, metal ore processing, the production of chemicals, and reducing energy consumption and pollution.
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Biotechnology In Medicine

The two main functions of medicine are the prevention of disease and the treatment of disease and injuries. For both functions, biotechnology has been playing an important role and will play an even greater role in the future. Biotechnology contributes to the progress and success of medicine in the following areas: 1) providing new reagents, new methods and new drugs for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease; 2) providing new materials for medical research that advance our understanding of physiology, immunology, pathology of diseases and pharmacology of drugs, which in turn help in the development of new drugs, new vaccines and new treatments; 3) making it possible to personalize medicine and to cure by gene therapy those diseases that are caused by defective or mutated genes; and 4) making it possible to produce new biomaterials for treatment and transplantation that replace dysfunctional tissues and organs in the body.

Key Terms in this Chapter

DNA Microarray: A collection of microscopic DNA spots attached to a solid surface, which can be used to measure the expression levels of large numbers of genes simultaneously or to genotype multiple regions of a genome.

Adenovector: A common cold-causing adenovirus that has been genetically changed for carrying DNA sequences into host cells.

DNA Vaccination: Vaccination by injection with genetically engineered plasmid containing the DNA sequence encoding the antigen(s) against which an immune response is sought, so cells directly produce the antigen, causing a protective immunological response.

Bioleaching: The extraction of metals from their ores through the use of living organisms.

Selective Breeding: The process by which humans use animal breeding and plant breeding to selectively develop particular phenotypic traits (characteristics) by choosing which typically animal or plant males and females will sexually reproduce and have offspring together.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): A method widely used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample through thermal cycling with primers and DNA polymerase.

Personalized Medicine: A medical model that separates people into different groups—with medical decisions, practices, interventions and/or products being tailored to the individual patient based on their predicted response or risk of disease.

Genomics: An interdisciplinary field of biology focusing on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes. A genome is an organism's complete set of DNA, including all of its genes.

Biosensor: An analytical device that combines a biological component with a physicochemical detector to detect a chemical substance.

Monoclonal Antibody: An antibody made by cloning a unique antibody producing cell and all subsequent antibodies derived this way trace back to a unique parent cell and bind only to the same epitope (the part of an antigen that is recognized by the antibody).

Bioinformatics: An interdisciplinary field that addresses biological problems using computational techniques to understand biological data.

Biohydrometalluigy: A subfield within hydrometallurgy which includes aspects of biotechnology.

Proteomics: The large-scale study of proteins to understand the proteome, which is the entire set of proteins that is produced or modified by an organism or system.

Genetic Testing: Using tests to identify changes in DNA sequence or chromosome structure.

Molecular Cloning: A set of experimental methods in molecular biology that are used to assemble recombinant DNA molecules and to direct their replication within host organisms.

RNA Vaccination: Vaccination by a vector containing an RNA sequence that codes the antigen(s) against which an immune response is sought.

Biopolymers: Natural polymers produced by the cells of living organisms.

SARS-CoV-2: The coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Genetic Engineering: The direct manipulation of an organism's genes using biotechnology.

Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism: A substitution of a single nucleotide at a specific position in the genome, that is present in a sufficiently large fraction of the population.

Gene Therapy: A medical field which focuses on the utilization of the therapeutic delivery of nucleic acids into a patient's cells as a drug to treat disease.

MOSFET: The metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor is a type of insulated-gate field-effect transistor that is fabricated by the controlled oxidation of a semiconductor, typically silicon.

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