Biotechnology Research Paper Topics

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This collection of biotechnology research paper topics provides the list of 10 potential topics for research papers and overviews the history of biotechnology.

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Get 10% off with 24start discount code, 1. animal breeding: genetic methods.

Modern animal breeding relies on scientific methods to control production of domesticated animals, both livestock and pets, which exhibit desired physical and behavioral traits. Genetic technology aids animal breeders to attain nutritional, medical, recreational, and fashion standards demanded by consumers for animal products including meat, milk, eggs, leather, wool, and pharmaceuticals. Animals are also genetically designed to meet labor and sporting requirements for speed and endurance, conformation and beauty ideals to win show competitions, and intelligence levels to perform obediently at tasks such as herding, hunting, and tracking. By the late twentieth century, genetics and mathematical models were appropriated to identify the potential of immature animals. DNA markers indicate how young animals will mature, saving breeders money by not investing in animals lacking genetic promise. Scientists also successfully transplanted sperm-producing stem cells with the goal of restoring fertility to barren breeding animals. At the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, researchers created a gene-based test, which uses a cloned gene of the organism that causes Johne’s disease in cattle in order to detect that disease to avert epidemics. Researchers also began mapping the dog genome and developing molecular techniques to evaluate canine chromosomes in the Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL). Bioinformatics incorporates computers to analyze genetic material. Some tests were developed to diagnose many of several hundred genetic canine diseases including hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). A few breed organizations modified standards to discourage breeding of genetically flawed animals and promote heterozygosity.

2. Antibacterial Chemotherapy

In the early years of the twentieth century, the search for agents that would be effective against internal infections proceeded along two main routes. The first was a search for naturally occurring substances that were effective against microorganisms (antibiosis). The second was a search for chemicals that would have the same effect (chemotherapy). Despite the success of penicillin in the 1940s, the major early advances in the treatment of infection occurred not through antibiosis but through chemotherapy. The principle behind chemotherapy was that there was a relationship between chemical structure and pharmacological action. The founder of this concept was Paul Erhlich (1854–1915). An early success came in 1905 when atoxyl (an organic arsenic compound) was shown to destroy trypanosomes, the microbes that caused sleeping sickness. Unfortunately, atoxyl also damaged the optic nerve. Subsequently, Erhlich and his co-workers synthesized and tested hundreds of related arsenic compounds. Ehrlich was a co-recipient (with Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov) of the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1908 for his work on immunity. Success in discovering a range of effective antibacterial drugs had three important consequences: it brought a range of important diseases under control for the first time; it provided a tremendous stimulus to research workers and opened up new avenues of research; and in the resulting commercial optimism, it led to heavy postwar investment in the pharmaceutical industry. The therapeutic revolution had begun.

3. Artificial Insemination and in Vitro Fertilization

Artificial insemination (AI) involves the extraction and collection of semen together with techniques for depositing semen in the uterus in order to achieve successful fertilization and pregnancy. Throughout the twentieth century, the approach has offered animal breeders the advantage of being able to utilize the best available breeding stock and at the correct time within the female reproductive cycle, but without the limitations of having the animals in the same location. AI has been applied most intensively within the dairy and beef cattle industries and to a lesser extent horse breeding and numerous other domesticated species.

Many of the techniques involved in artificial insemination would lay the foundation for in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the latter half of the twentieth century. IVF refers to the group of technologies that allow fertilization to take place outside the body involving the retrieval of ova or eggs from the female and sperm from the male, which are then combined in artificial, or ‘‘test tube,’’ conditions leading to fertilization. The fertilized eggs then continue to develop for several days ‘‘in culture’’ until being transferred to the female recipient to continue developing within the uterus.

4. Biopolymers

Biopolymers are natural polymers, long-chained molecules (macromolecules) consisting mostly of a repeated composition of building blocks or monomers that are formed and utilized by living organisms. Each group of biopolymers is composed of different building blocks, for example chains of sugar molecules form starch (a polysaccharide), chains of amino acids form proteins and peptides, and chains of nucleic acid form DNA and RNA (polynucleotides). Biopolymers can form gels, fibers, coatings, and films depending on the specific polymer, and serve a variety of critical functions for cells and organisms. Proteins including collagens, keratins, silks, tubulins, and actin usually form structural composites or scaffolding, or protective materials in biological systems (e.g., spider silk). Polysaccharides function in molecular recognition at cell membrane surfaces, form capsular barrier layers around cells, act as emulsifiers and adhesives, and serve as skeletal or architectural materials in plants. In many cases these polymers occur in combination with proteins to form novel composite structures such as invertebrate exoskeletons or microbial cell walls, or with lignin in the case of plant cell walls.

The use of the word ‘‘cloning’’ is fraught with confusion and inconsistency, and it is important at the outset of this discussion to offer definitional clarification. For instance, in the 1997 article by Ian Wilmut and colleagues announcing the birth of the first cloned adult vertebrate (a ewe, Dolly the sheep) from somatic cell nuclear transfer, the word clone or cloning was never used, and yet the announcement raised considerable disquiet about the prospect of cloned human beings. In a desire to avoid potentially negative forms of language, many prefer to substitute ‘‘cell expansion techniques’’ or ‘‘therapeutic cloning’’ for cloning. Cloning has been known for centuries as a horticultural propagation method: for example, plants multiplied by grafting, budding, or cuttings do not differ genetically from the original plant. The term clone entered more common usage as a result of a speech in 1963 by J.B.S. Haldane based on his paper, ‘‘Biological possibilities for the human species of the next ten-thousand years.’’ Notwithstanding these notes of caution, we can refer to a number of processes as cloning. At the close of the twentieth century, such techniques had not yet progressed to the ability to bring a cloned human to full development; however, the ability to clone cells from an adult human has potential to treat diseases. International policymaking in the late 1990s sought to distinguish between the different end uses for somatic cell nuclear transfer resulting in the widespread adoption of the distinction between ‘‘reproductive’’ and ‘‘therapeutic’’ cloning. The function of the distinction has been to permit the use (in some countries) of the technique to generate potentially beneficial therapeutic applications from embryonic stem cell technology whilst prohibiting its use in human reproduction. In therapeutic applications, nuclear transfer from a patient’s cells into an enucleated ovum is used to create genetically identical embryos that would be grown in vitro but not be allowed to continue developing to become a human being. The resulting cloned embryos could be used as a source from which to produce stem cells that can then be induced to specialize into the specific type of tissue required by the patient (such as skin for burns victims, brain neuron cells for Parkinson’s disease sufferers, or pancreatic cells for diabetics). The rationale is that because the original nuclear material is derived from a patient’s adult tissue, the risks of rejection of such cells by the immune system are reduced.

6. Gene Therapy

In 1971, Australian Nobel laureate Sir F. MacFarlane Burnet thought that gene therapy (introducing genes into body tissue, usually to treat an inherited genetic disorder) looked more and more like a case of the emperor’s new clothes. Ethical issues aside, he believed that practical considerations forestalled possibilities for any beneficial gene strategy, then or probably ever. Bluntly, he wrote: ‘‘little further advance can be expected from laboratory science in the handling of ‘intrinsic’ types of disability and disease.’’ Joshua Lederberg and Edward Tatum, 1958 Nobel laureates, theorized in the 1960s that genes might be altered or replaced using viral vectors to treat human diseases. Stanfield Rogers, working from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1970, had tried but failed to cure argininemia (a genetic disorder of the urea cycle that causes neurological damage in the form of mental retardation, seizures, and eventually death) in two German girls using Swope papilloma virus. Martin Cline at the University of California in Los Angeles, made the second failed attempt a decade later. He tried to correct the bone marrow cells of two beta-thalassemia patients, one in Israel and the other in Italy. What Cline’s failure revealed, however, was that many researchers who condemned his trial as unethical were by then working toward similar goals and targeting different diseases with various delivery methods. While Burnet’s pessimism finally proved to be wrong, progress in gene therapy was much slower than antibiotic or anticancer chemotherapy developments over the same period of time. While gene therapy had limited success, it nevertheless remained an active area for research, particularly because the Human Genome Project, begun in 1990, had resulted in a ‘‘rough draft’’ of all human genes by 2001, and was completed in 2003. Gene mapping created the means for analyzing the expression patterns of hundreds of genes involved in biological pathways and for identifying single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that have diagnostic and therapeutic potential for treating specific diseases in individuals. In the future, gene therapies may prove effective at protecting patients from adverse drug reactions or changing the biochemical nature of a person’s disease. They may also target blood vessel formation in order to prevent heart disease or blindness due to macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. One of the oldest ideas for use of gene therapy is to produce anticancer vaccines. One method involves inserting a granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor gene into prostate tumor cells removed in surgery. The cells then are irradiated to prevent any further cancer and injected back into the same patient to initiate an immune response against any remaining metastases. Whether or not such developments become a major treatment modality, no one now believes, as MacFarland Burnet did in 1970, that gene therapy science has reached an end in its potential to advance health.

7. Genetic Engineering

The term ‘‘genetic engineering’’ describes molecular biology techniques that allow geneticists to analyze and manipulate deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). At the close of the twentieth century, genetic engineering promised to revolutionize many industries, including microbial biotechnology, agriculture, and medicine. It also sparked controversy over potential health and ecological hazards due to the unprecedented ability to bypass traditional biological reproduction.

For centuries, if not millennia, techniques have been employed to alter the genetic characteristics of animals and plants to enhance specifically desired traits. In a great many cases, breeds with which we are most familiar bear little resemblance to the wild varieties from which they are derived. Canine breeds, for instance, have been selectively tailored to changing esthetic tastes over many years, altering their appearance, behavior and temperament. Many of the species used in farming reflect long-term alterations to enhance meat, milk, and fleece yields. Likewise, in the case of agricultural varieties, hybridization and selective breeding have resulted in crops that are adapted to specific production conditions and regional demands. Genetic engineering differs from these traditional methods of plant and animal breeding in some very important respects. First, genes from one organism can be extracted and recombined with those of another (using recombinant DNA, or rDNA, technology) without either organism having to be of the same species. Second, removing the requirement for species reproductive compatibility, new genetic combinations can be produced in a much more highly accelerated way than before. Since the development of the first rDNA organism by Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer in 1973, a number of techniques have been found to produce highly novel products derived from transgenic plants and animals.

At the same time, there has been an ongoing and ferocious political debate over the environmental and health risks to humans of genetically altered species. The rise of genetic engineering may be characterized by developments during the last three decades of the twentieth century.

8. Genetic Screening and Testing

The menu of genetic screening and testing technologies now available in most developed countries increased rapidly in the closing years of the twentieth century. These technologies emerged within the context of rapidly changing social and legal contexts with regard to the medicalization of pregnancy and birth and the legalization of abortion. The earliest genetic screening tests detected inborn errors of metabolism and sex-linked disorders. Technological innovations in genomic mapping and DNA sequencing, together with an explosion in research on the genetic basis of disease which culminated in the Human Genome Project (HGP), led to a range of genetic screening and testing for diseases traditionally recognized as genetic in origin and for susceptibility to more common diseases such as certain types of familial cancer, cardiac conditions, and neurological disorders among others. Tests were also useful for forensic, or nonmedical, purposes. Genetic screening techniques are now available in conjunction with in vitro fertilization and other types of reproductive technologies, allowing the screening of fertilized embryos for certain genetic mutations before selection for implantation. At present selection is purely on disease grounds and selection for other traits (e.g., for eye or hair color, intelligence, height) cannot yet be done, though there are concerns for eugenics and ‘‘designer babies.’’ Screening is available for an increasing number of metabolic diseases through tandem mass spectrometry, which uses less blood per test, allows testing for many conditions simultaneously, and has a very low false-positive rate as compared to conventional Guthrie testing. Finally, genetic technologies are being used in the judicial domain for determination of paternity, often associated with child support claims, and for forensic purposes in cases where DNA material is available for testing.

9. Plant Breeding: Genetic Methods

The cultivation of plants is the world’s oldest biotechnology. We have continually tried to produce improved varieties while increasing yield, features to aid cultivation and harvesting, disease, and pest resistance, or crop qualities such as longer postharvest storage life and improved taste or nutritional value. Early changes resulted from random crosspollination, rudimentary grafting, or spontaneous genetic change. For centuries, man kept the seed from the plants with improved characteristics to plant the following season’s crop. The pioneering work of Gregor Mendel and his development of the basic laws of heredity showed for other first time that some of the processes of heredity could be altered by experimental means. The genetic analysis of bacterial (prokaryote) genes and techniques for analysis of the higher (eukaryotic) organisms such as plants developed in parallel streams, but the rediscovery of Mendel’s work in 1900 fueled a burst of activity on understanding the role of genes in inheritance. The knowledge that genes are linked along the chromosome thereby allowed mapping of genes (transduction analysis, conjugation analysis, and transformation analysis). The power of genetics to produce a desirable plant was established, and it was appreciated that controlled breeding (test crosses and back crosses) and careful analysis of the progeny could distinguish traits that were dominant or recessive, and establish pure breeding lines. Traditional horticultural techniques of artificial self-pollination and cross-pollination were also used to produce hybrids. In the 1930s the Russian Nikolai Vavilov recognized the value of genetic diversity in domesticated crop plants and their wild relatives to crop improvement, and collected seeds from the wild to study total genetic diversity and use these in breeding programs. The impact of scientific crop breeding was established by the ‘‘Green revolution’’ of the 1960s, when new wheat varieties with higher yields were developed by careful crop breeding. ‘‘Mutation breeding’’— inducing mutations by exposing seeds to x-rays or chemicals such as sodium azide, accelerated after World War II. It was also discovered that plant cells and tissues grown in tissue culture would mutate rapidly. In the 1970s, haploid breeding, which involves producing plants from two identical sets of chromosomes, was extensively used to create new cultivars. In the twenty-first century, haploid breeding could speed up plant breeding by shortening the breeding cycle.

10. Tissue Culturing

The technique of tissue or cell culture, which relates to the growth of tissue or cells within a laboratory setting, underlies a phenomenal proportion of biomedical research. Though it has roots in the late nineteenth century, when numerous scientists tried to grow samples in alien environments, cell culture is credited as truly beginning with the first concrete evidence of successful growth in vitro, demonstrated by Johns Hopkins University embryologist Ross Harrison in 1907. Harrison took sections of spinal cord from a frog embryo, placed them on a glass cover slip and bathed the tissue in a nutrient media. The results of the experiment were startling—for the first time scientists visualized actual nerve growth as it would happen in a living organism—and many other scientists across the U.S. and Europe took up culture techniques. Rather unwittingly, for he was merely trying to settle a professional dispute regarding the origin of nerve fibers, Harrison fashioned a research tool that has since been designated by many as the greatest advance in medical science since the invention of the microscope.

From the 1980s, cell culture has once again been brought to the forefront of cancer research in the isolation and identification of numerous cancer causing oncogenes. In addition, cell culturing continues to play a crucial role in fields such as cytology, embryology, radiology, and molecular genetics. In the future, its relevance to direct clinical treatment might be further increased by the growth in culture of stem cells and tissue replacement therapies that can be tailored for a particular individual. Indeed, as cell culture approaches its centenary, it appears that its importance to scientific, medical, and commercial research the world over will only increase in the twenty-first century.

History of Biotechnology

Biotechnology grew out of the technology of fermentation, which was called zymotechnology. This was different from the ancient craft of brewing because of its thought-out relationships to science. These were most famously conceptualized by the Prussian chemist Georg Ernst Stahl (1659–1734) in his 1697 treatise Zymotechnia Fundamentalis, in which he introduced the term zymotechnology. Carl Balling, long-serving professor in Prague, the world center of brewing, drew on the work of Stahl when he published his Bericht uber die Fortschritte der zymotechnische Wissenschaften und Gewerbe (Account of the Progress of the Zymotechnic Sciences and Arts) in the mid-nineteenth century. He used the idea of zymotechnics to compete with his German contemporary Justus Liebig for whom chemistry was the underpinning of all processes.

By the end of the nineteenth century, there were attempts to develop a new scientific study of fermentation. It was an aspect of the ‘‘second’’ Industrial Revolution during the period from 1870 to 1914. The emergence of the chemical industry is widely taken as emblematic of the formal research and development taking place at the time. The development of microbiological industries is another example. For the first time, Louis Pasteur’s germ theory made it possible to provide convincing explanations of brewing and other fermentation processes.

Pasteur had published on brewing in the wake of France’s humiliation in the Franco–Prussian war (1870–1871) to assert his country’s superiority in an industry traditionally associated with Germany. Yet the science and technology of fermentation had a wide range of applications including the manufacture of foods (cheese, yogurt, wine, vinegar, and tea), of commodities (tobacco and leather), and of chemicals (lactic acid, citric acid, and the enzyme takaminase). The concept of zymotechnology associated principally with the brewing of beer began to appear too limited to its principal exponents. At the time, Denmark was the world leader in creating high-value agricultural produce. Cooperative farms pioneered intensive pig fattening as well as the mass production of bacon, butter, and beer. It was here that the systems of science and technology were integrated and reintegrated, conceptualized and reconceptualized.

The Dane Emil Christian Hansen discovered that infection from wild yeasts was responsible for numerous failed brews. His contemporary Alfred Jørgensen, a Copenhagen consultant closely associated with the Tuborg brewery, published a widely used textbook on zymotechnology. Microorganisms and Fermentation first appeared in Danish 1889 and would be translated, reedited, and reissued for the next 60 years.

The scarcity of resources on both sides during World War I brought together science and technology, further development of zymotechnology, and formulation of the concept of biotechnology. Impending and then actual war accelerated the use of fermentation technologies to make strategic materials. In Britain a variant of a process to ferment starch to make butadiene for synthetic rubber production was adapted to make acetone needed in the manufacture of explosives. The process was technically important as the first industrial sterile fermentation and was strategically important for munitions supplies. The developer, chemist Chaim Weizmann, later became well known as the first president of Israel in 1949.

In Germany scarce oil-based lubricants were replaced by glycerol made by fermentation. Animal feed was derived from yeast grown with the aid of the new synthetic ammonia in another wartime development that inspired the coining of the word biotechnology. Hungary was the agricultural base of the Austro–Hungarian empire and aspired to Danish levels of efficiency. The economist Karl Ereky (1878–1952) planned to go further and build the largest industrial pig-processing factory. He envisioned a site that would fatten 50,000 swine at a time while railroad cars of sugar beet arrived and fat, hides, and meat departed. In this forerunner of the Soviet collective farm, peasants (in any case now falling prey to the temptations of urban society) would be completely superseded by the industrialization of the biological process in large factory-like animal processing units. Ereky went further in his ruminations over the meaning of his innovation. He suggested that it presaged an industrial revolution that would follow the transformation of chemical technology. In his book entitled Biotechnologie, he linked specific technical injunctions to wide-ranging philosophy. Ereky was neither isolated nor obscure. He had been trained in the mainstream of reflection on the meaning of the applied sciences in Hungary, which would be remarkably productive across the sciences. After World War I, Ereky served as Hungary’s minister of food in the short-lived right wing regime that succeeded the fall of the communist government of Bela Kun.

Nonetheless it was not through Ereky’s direct action that his ideas seem to have spread. Rather, his book was reviewed by the influential Paul Lindner, head of botany at the Institut fu¨ r Ga¨ rungsgewerbe in Berlin, who suggested that microorganisms could also be seen as biotechnological machines. This concept was already found in the production of yeast and in Weizmann’s work with strategic materials, which was widely publicized at that very time. It was with this meaning that the word ‘‘Biotechnologie’’ entered German dictionaries in the 1920s.

Biotechnology represented more than the manipulation of existing organisms. From the beginning it was concerned with their improvement as well, and this meant the enhancement of all living creatures. Most dramatically this would include humanity itself; more mundanely it would include plants and animals of agricultural importance. The enhancement of people was called eugenics by the Victorian polymath and cousin of Charles Darwin, Francis Galton. Two strains of eugenics emerged: negative eugenics associated with weeding out the weak and positive eugenics associated with enhancing strength. In the early twentieth century, many eugenics proponents believed that the weak could be made strong. People had after all progressed beyond their biological limits by means of technology.

Jean-Jacques Virey, a follower of the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste de Monet de Lamarck, had coined the term ‘‘biotechnie’’ in 1828 to describe man’s ability to make technology do the work of biology, but it was not till a century later that the term entered widespread use. The Scottish biologist and town planner Patrick Geddes made biotechnics popular in the English-speaking world. Geddes, too, sought to link life and technology. Before World War I he had characterized the technological evolution of mankind as a move from the paleotechnic era of coal and iron to the neotechnic era of chemicals, electricity, and steel. After the war, he detected a new era based on biology—the biotechnic era. Through his friend, writer Lewis Mumford, Geddes would have great influence. Mumford’s book Technics and Civilization, itself a founding volume of the modern historiography of technology, promoted his vision of the Geddesian evolution.

A younger generation of English experimental biologists with a special interest in genetics, including J. B. S. Haldane, Julian Huxley, and Lancelot Hogben, also promoted a concept of biotechnology in the period between the world wars. Because they wrote popular works, they were among Britain’s best-known scientists. Haldane wrote about biological invention in his far-seeing work Daedalus. Huxley looked forward to a blend of social and eugenics-based biological engineering. Hogben, following Geddes, was more interested in engineering plants through breeding. He tied the progressivism of biology to the advance of socialism.

The improvement of the human race, genetic manipulation of bacteria, and the development of fermentation technology were brought together by the development of penicillin during World War II. This drug was successfully extracted from the juice exuded by a strain of the Penicillium fungus. Although discovered by accident and then developed further for purely scientific reasons, the scarce and unstable ‘‘antibiotic’’ called penicillin was transformed during World War II into a powerful and widely used drug. Large networks of academic and government laboratories and pharmaceutical manufacturers in Britain and the U.S. were coordinated by agencies of the two governments. An unanticipated combination of genetics, biochemistry, chemistry, and chemical engineering skills had been required. When the natural mold was bombarded with high-frequency radiation, far more productive mutants were produced, and subsequently all the medicine was made using the product of these man-made cells. By the 1950s penicillin was cheap to produce and globally available.

The new technology of cultivating and processing large quantities of microorganisms led to calls for a new scientific discipline. Biochemical engineering was one term, and applied microbiology another. The Swedish biologist, Carl-Goran Heden, possibly influenced by German precedents, favored the term ‘‘Biotechnologi’’ and persuaded his friend Elmer Gaden to relabel his new journal Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering. From 1962 major international conferences were held under the banner of the Global Impact of Applied Microbiology. During the 1960s food based on single-cell protein grown in fermenters on oil or glucose seemed, to visionary engineers and microbiologists and to major companies, to offer an immediate solution to world hunger. Tropical countries rich in biomass that could be used as raw material for fermentation were also the world’s poorest. Alcohol could be manufactured by fermenting such starch or sugar rich crops as sugar cane and corn. Brazil introduced a national program of replacing oil-based petrol with alcohol in the 1970s.

It was not, however, just the developing countries that hoped to benefit. The Soviet Union developed fermentation-based protein as a major source of animal feed through the 1980s. In the U.S. it seemed that oil from surplus corn would solve the problem of low farm prices aggravated by the country’s boycott of the USSR in1979, and the term ‘‘gasohol‘‘ came into currency. Above all, the decline of established industries made the discovery of a new wealth maker an urgent priority for Western governments. Policy makers in both Germany and Japan during the 1970s were driven by a sense of the inadequacy of the last generation of technologies. These were apparently maturing, and the succession was far from clear. Even if electronics or space travel offered routes to the bright industrial future, these fields seemed to be dominated by the U.S. Seeing incipient crisis, the Green, or environmental, movement promoted a technology that would depend on renewable resources and on low-energy processes that would produce biodegradable products, recycle waste, and address problems of the health and nutrition of the world.

In 1973 the German government, seeking a new and ‘‘greener’’ industrial policy, commissioned a report entitled Biotechnologie that identified ways in which biological processing was key to modern developments in technology. Even though the report was published at the time that recombinant DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) was becoming possible, it did not refer to this new technique and instead focused on the use and combination of existing technologies to make novel products.

Nonetheless the hitherto esoteric science of molecular biology was making considerable progress, although its practice in the early 1970s was rather distant from the world of industrial production. The phrase ‘‘genetic engineering’’ entered common parlance in the 1960s to describe human genetic modification. Medicine, however, put a premium on the use of proteins that were difficult to extract from people: insulin for diabetics and interferon for cancer sufferers. During the early 1970s what had been science fiction became fact as the use of DNA synthesis, restriction enzymes, and plasmids were integrated. In 1973 Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer successfully transferred a section of DNA from one E. coli bacterium to another. A few prophets such as Joshua Lederberg and Walter Gilbert argued that the new biological techniques of recombinant DNA might be ideal for making synthetic versions of expensive proteins such as insulin and interferon through their expression in bacterial cells. Small companies, such as Cetus and Genentech in California and Biogen in Cambridge, Massachusetts, were established to develop the techniques. In many cases discoveries made by small ‘‘boutique’’ companies were developed for the market by large, more established, pharmaceutical organizations.

Many governments were impressed by these advances in molecular genetics, which seemed to make biotechnology a potential counterpart to information technology in a third industrial revolution. These inspired hopes of industrial production of proteins identical to those produced in the human body that could be used to treat genetic diseases. There was also hope that industrially useful materials such as alcohol, plastics (biopolymers), or ready-colored fibers might be made in plants, and thus the attractions of a potentially new agricultural era might be as great as the implications for medicine. At a time of concern over low agricultural prices, such hopes were doubly welcome. Indeed, the agricultural benefits sometimes overshadowed the medical implications.

The mechanism for the transfer of enthusiasm from engineering fermenters to engineering genes was the New York Stock Exchange. At the end of the 1970s, new tax laws encouraged already adventurous U.S. investors to put money into small companies whose stock value might grow faster than their profits. The brokerage firm E. F. Hutton saw the potential for the new molecular biology companies such as Biogen and Cetus. Stock market interest in companies promising to make new biological entities was spurred by the 1980 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to permit the patenting of a new organism. The patent was awarded to the Exxon researcher Ananda Chakrabarty for an organism that metabolized hydrocarbon waste. This event signaled the commercial potential of biotechnology to business and governments around the world. By the early 1980s there were widespread hopes that the protein interferon, made with some novel organism, would provide a cure for cancer. The development of monoclonal antibody technology that grew out of the work of Georges J. F. Kohler and Cesar Milstein in Cambridge (co-recipients with Niels K. Jerne of the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1986) seemed to offer new prospects for precise attacks on particular cells.

The fear of excessive regulatory controls encouraged business and scientific leaders to express optimistic projections about the potential of biotechnology. The early days of biotechnology were fired by hopes of medical products and high-value pharmaceuticals. Human insulin and interferon were early products, and a second generation included the anti-blood clotting agent tPA and the antianemia drug erythropoietin. Biotechnology was also used to help identify potential new drugs that might be made chemically, or synthetically.

At the same time agricultural products were also being developed. Three early products that each raised substantial problems were bacteria which inhibited the formation of frost on the leaves of strawberry plants (ice-minus bacteria), genetically modified plants including tomatoes and rapeseed, and the hormone bovine somatrotropin (BST) produced in genetically modified bacteria and administered to cattle in the U.S. to increase milk yields. By 1999 half the soy beans and one third of the corn grown in the U.S. were modified. Although the global spread of such products would arouse the best known concern at the end of the century, the use of the ice-minus bacteria— the first authorized release of a genetically engineered organism into the environment—had previously raised anxiety in the U.S. in the 1980s.

In 1997 Dolly the sheep was cloned from an adult mother in the Roslin agricultural research institute outside Edinburgh, Scotland. This work was inspired by the need to find a way of reproducing sheep engineered to express human proteins in their milk. However, the public interest was not so much in the cloning of sheep that had just been achieved as in the cloning of people, which had not. As in the Middle Ages when deformed creatures had been seen as monsters and portents of natural disasters, Dolly was similarly seen as monster and as a portent of human cloning.

The name Frankenstein, recalled from the story written by Mary Shelley at the beginning of the nineteenth century and from the movies of the 1930s, was once again familiar at the end of the twentieth century. Shelley had written in the shadow of Stahl’s theories. The continued appeal of this book embodies the continuity of the fears of artificial life and the anxiety over hubris. To this has been linked a more mundane suspicion of the blending of commerce and the exploitation of life. Discussion of biotechnology at the end of the twentieth century was therefore colored by questions of whose assurances of good intent and reassurance of safety could be trusted.

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  • Xiang Zhou at al., "The effects of chemical fixation on the cellular nanostructure"  Experimental Cell Research  2017
  • Mingjun Liu et al., "Doxorubicin has dose-dependent toxicity on mouse ovarian follicle development, hormone secretion, and oocyte maturation".  Toxicological sciences  2017
  • Thomas Cayton et al., "Dual bioluminescence and near-infrared fluorescence monitoring to evaluate spherical nucleic acid nanoconjugate activity in vivo",  PNAS  2017
  • He Wang et al., "Establishing a high yielding streptomyces-based cell-free protein synthesis system".  Biotechnology and Bioengineering  2017
  • Ronald Ellis et al., "Detection of extracellular matrix modification in cancer models with inverse spectroscopic optical coherence tomography"  Physics in Medicine and Biology  2016
  • Brian Ouyang et al., "Tailoring nanostructure morphology for enhanced targeting of dendritic cells in atherosclerosis",  ACS Nano , 2016
  • Jiyang Zhang et al., "In vitro follicle growth supports human oocyte meiotic maturation",  Nature  2015
  • Alaksh Choudhury et al.,  “Evaluating Fermentation Effects on Cell Growth and Crude Extract Metabolic Activity for Improved Yeast Cell-free Protein Synthesis” , Biochemical Engineering Journal   2014
  • Zofia Gwarnicki et al., " Removal of Acidic Impurities from Corn Stover Hydrolysate Liquor by Resin Wafer Based Electrodeionization ",  Industrial & Engineering Chemistry  Research   2013  
  • Vibha Tamboli et al., " A Peptide-Based Material for Therapeutic Carbon Monoxide Delivery ",  Soft Matter   2012
  • Kenichi Iwadate et al., " Differential targeting of androgen and glucocorticoid receptors induces ER stress and apoptosis in prostate cancer cells: A novel therapeutic modality ",  Cell Cycle  2012
  • Di Huang, Yi Song et al., " Microarray gene expression profiling of chronic allograft nephropathy in the rat kidney transplant model ",  Transplant Immunology   2012
  • Yuan Zhou, et al., " SREB2/GPR85, a schizophrenia risk factor, negatively regulates hippocampal adult neurogenesis and neurogenesisdependent learning and memory ",  European Journal of Neuroscience   2012
  • Yuan Zhou, et al., " Detection of an immature dentate gyrus feature in human schizophrenia/bipolar patients ,"  Translational Psychiatry   2012
  • Shivani Gupta et al., " Devices and methods for filtering blood plasma ",  US Patent  20120024788   2012
  • Viraj Muthye et al., "Legionella pneumophila Persists within Biofilms Formed by Klebsiella pneumoniae, Flavobacterium sp., and Pseudomonas fluorescens under Dynamic Flow Conditions",  PLoS ONE  2012  
  • Vibha Tamboli et al., " Controlled Release of Dexamethasone from Peptide Nanofiber Gels to Modulate Inflammatory Response ",  Biomaterials   2012
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  • Alison Chow et al., " Metabolic engineering of the non-sporulating, non-solventogenic Clostridium acetobutylicum strain M5 to produce butanol without acetone demonstrate the robustness of the acid-formation pathways and the importance of the electron balance ",  Metabolic Engineering   2008  
  • Erik Robinson et al., " Localized Therapeutic Release via an Amine-Functionalized  Poly-p-xylene Microfilm Device ",  J. Phys. Chemistry   2008
  • Laura Swift et al., " Patterned PLG substrates for localized DNA delivery and directed neurite extension ",  Biomaterials  2007

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How To Write A Research Paper In Biotechnology

Table of Contents:

Current research in biotechnology: Exploring the biotech forefront . Biotechnology is an evolving research field that covers a broad range of topics. Here we aimed to evaluate the latest research literature, to identify…

Highlights – View PDFCurrent research in biotechnology: Exploring the biotech forefrontUnder a Creative Commons licenseopen accessHighlights•Biotechnology literature since 2017 was analyzed. •The United States of America, China, Germany, Brazil and India were most productive. •Metabolic engineering was among the most prevalent study themes. •Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae were frequently used. •Nanoparticles and nanotechnology are trending research themes in biotechnology. AbstractBiotechnology is an evolving research field that covers a broad range of topics. Here we aimed to evaluate the latest research literature, to identify prominent research themes, major contributors in terms of institutions, countries/regions, and journals. The Web of Science Core Collection online database was searched to retrieve biotechnology articles published since 2017. In total, 12,351 publications were identified and analyzed. Over 8500 institutions contributed to these biotechnology publications, with the top 5 most productive ones scattered over France, China, the United States of America, Spain, and Brazil.

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How To Write A Research Paper In Biotechnology

BMC Biotechnology

BMC Biotechnology is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on the manipulation of biological macromolecules or organisms for use in …

  • Ethics approval and consent to participate
  • Consent for publication
  • Availability of data and materials
  • Competing interests
  • Authors’ contributions
  • Acknowledgements
  • Authors’ information

All manuscripts must contain the following sections under the heading ‘Declarations’: Ethics approval and consent to participate Consent for publication Availability of data and materials Competing interests Funding Authors’ contributions Acknowledgements Authors’ information (optional)Please see below for details on the information to be included in these sections. If any of the sections are not relevant to your manuscript, please include the heading and write ‘Not applicable’ for that section. Ethics approval and consent to participateManuscripts reporting studies involving human participants, human data or human tissue must: include a statement on ethics approval and consent (even where the need for approval was waived) include the name of the ethics committee that approved the study and the committee’s reference number if appropriateStudies involving animals must include a statement on ethics approval and for experimental studies involving client-owned animals, authors must also include a statement on informed consent from the client or owner.

Top Ten Exclusive Research Paper Topics On Biotechnology

Looking for some unique ideas for your paper on biotechnology? Check out the list of suggestions provided in the article and feel free to take your pick.

A Selection Of Great Research Paper Topics On Biotechnology – Like a student, you’ll frequently need to write complex academic assignments that need effort, search, critically planning and exploring new aspects. You are able to only produce a winning assignment if you opt to talk about fresh ideas and new breakthroughs. Its likely the first couple of topics which come for your mind under this subject could be already taken. You have to make certain the niche you decide to address is exclusive and fresh. If other scientific study has already spoken relating to this before you decide to, then there’s no reason on paper it.

Free Term Papers On Biotechnology – Writing a good paper on biotechnology is a challenging task. If you struggling to complete it, be sure to take a quick look at the following article.

You can find free research papers online as well. There are several documents that are available online. You can download them. You can check the image search as well if you are having trouble locating one. Try typing it into the search engine of the web browser and the image browser for the best results.

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How To Write A Research Paper In Biotechnology

Guide for authors

Get more information about Current Research in Biotechnology. Check the Author information pack on Elsevier.com.

INTRODUCTION Current Research in Biotechnology is definitely an worldwide peer reviewed journal dedicated to publishing original research and short communications caused by research in Analytical biotechnology, Plant biotechnology, Food biotechnology, Energy biotechnology, Ecological biotechnology, Systems biology, Nanobiotechnology, Tissue, cell and path engineering, Chemical biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical biotechnology. The Journal publishes Research Papers, Short Communications, Graphical Reviews and Reviews. We offer the “Your Paper The Right Path” Elsevier guideline which enables authors to submit their primary manuscript file with no formatting needs. Research Papers aren’t limited in dimensions. However, we all do highly recommend to authors to become as succinct as you possibly can within the welfare from the readers and also the distribution from the work. Short Communications possess the following soft limits. The manuscript should ideally contain a maximum of 4-6 Figures/Tables and 4000 words, such as the title page, all parts of the manuscript (such as the references), and Figure/Table legends.

Structure for writing a scientific research proposal in biotechnology

The aim or goal and objective of the biotechnology research proposal should give a broad indication of the expected research outcome and the hypothesis to be tested can also be the aim of your study. The objective can be categorized as primary and secondary according to the parameters and tools used to achieve the goal.

Writing an investigation proposal in our era is definitely an entirely challenging mission due to the constant evolution within the research design and the necessity to incorporate innovative concepts and medical advances within the methodology section. A properly-formatted research proposal in the area of biotechnology is going to be written based on the needed guidelines forms the mainstay for that research, and therefore proposal writing is a vital step while performing research. The primary objective in preparing an investigation proposal would be to obtain approval from the 3 committees like the ethics committee and grant committee.

Research Papers – Learn more about research papers for the Master of Biotechnology Program at Northwestern University.

Alison Chow et al., “Metabolic engineering of the non-sporulating, non-solventogenic Clostridium acetobutylicum strain M5 to produce butanol without acetone demonstrate the robustness of the acid-formation pathways and the importance of the electron balance”, Metabolic Engineering 2008.

Natural Products and Biotechnology

Natural Products and Biotechnology (NatProBiotech) is an International Journal and only accepting English manuscripts. NatProBiotech publishes original research articles and review articles only.

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Natural Products and Biotechnology (Nat. Pro. Biotech. ) (ISSN: 2791-674X) is an International Journal and only accepting English manuscripts. Natural Products and Biotechnology publishes original research articles and review articles only and publishes twice a year. There is no fee for article submission, article processing, or publication processes. Please write the article in good English. Choose only one of the British or American usage, you should not use both together. If the language of the article is not good enough, please have it edited by anEnglish Language Editing service. The article will be reviewed by the Spelling and Language editor, if the editor decides that it is not written in good English, your article will be send to corresponding author for edit before the referee process. Research articles should report the results of original research. The article should not have been published elsewhere. Review articles should cover current topics and comply with the journal’s publication guidelines and should not have been published anywhere before.

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How To Write A Research Paper In Biotechnology

What are the research topics in biotechnology?

  • Research Areas.
  • Cancer Biotechnology.
  • Cardiovascular Biology & Transplantation Biology.
  • Cell & Molecular Biology.
  • Developmental Biology & Neurobiology.
  • Diagnostics & Medical Devices.
  • Drug Discovery & Delivery.
  • Microbial & Environmental Biotechnology.

How do you publish a research paper in biotechnology?

How to publish your research paper in an international journal

  • International journal of Environment, Agriculture and Biotechnology (IJEAB) publish research paper of related fields. ...
  • Your research paper that you are going to submit should follow the same format that is mentioned in journal.

How do you research biotechnology?

Step-By-Step Guide To Becoming a Biotechnologist

  • Step One: Earn a Bachelor's Degree (Four years) ...
  • Step Two: Gain Practical Work Experience (Optional, Timeline Varies) ...
  • Step Three: Earn a Certificate or Master's Degree In Biotechnology (One to Three Years)

How do you write a research paper step by step?

Basic Steps in the Research Process

  • Step 1: Identify and develop your topic. ...
  • Step 2 : Do a preliminary search for information. ...
  • Step 3: Locate materials. ...
  • Step 4: Evaluate your sources. ...
  • Step 5: Make notes. ...
  • Step 6: Write your paper. ...
  • Step 7: Cite your sources properly. ...
  • Step 8: Proofread.

What is biotechnology research?

Biotechnologists identify practical uses of biological material – including the physical, chemical, and genetic properties of cells – to improve agricultural, environmental, or pharmaceutical products, although biotechnologists also work in related capacities, as in marine biotechnology. ...

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  • How To Write A Research Paper Biology
  • How To Write Abstract For Science Research Paper
  • How To Write Research Proposal For Phd In Biotechnology
  • How To Write A Journal Paper In Engineering
  • How To Write A Computer Science Paper
  • How To Write A Review Paper In Chemistry

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Cell culture of taxus as a source of the antineoplastic drug taxol and related taxanes.

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Applications of Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture: a Mini-Review

Muhammad modassar ali nawaz ranjha.

1 Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan

Bakhtawar Shafique

Waseem khalid.

2 Institute of Home and Food Sciences, Government College University Faisalabad, Faisalabad, Pakistan

Hafiz Rehan Nadeem

3 Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan

Ghulam Mueen-ud-Din

Muhammad zubair khalid.

Biotechnology is a wide-ranging science that uses modern technologies to construct biological processes, organisms, cells or cellular components. The clinical new instruments, industry, and products developed by biotechnologists are useful in research, agriculture and other major fields. The biotechnology is as ancient as civilization. The food you buy, and the pets you love? Using artificial selection for crops, domesticated animals and other species, you may thank our distant ancestors for setting off the agrarian revolution. When Alexander Fleming discovered antibiotics, and when Edward Jenner invented vaccines, the biotechnology potential was harnessed. And, of course, without the mechanisms of fermentation that gave us beer, wine and cheese, it would not be possible to imagine modern society. This article summarizes some of the applications of biotechnology in food & agriculture.

Graphical abstract

Applications of biotechnology in animal and plant sector

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is 40011_2021_1320_Figa_HTML.jpg

Introduction

Products from natural sources are being used from centuries [ 1 – 3 ]. Processing the natural products to get significant benefits have been the priority in every era of science [ 4 – 7 ]. Biotechnology is an advanced, yet developed, technology that develops or modifies a product for some applied purpose utilizing living organisms and/or substances from these. It can be extended to all organism genera, i.e., from less complicated genera like viruses and bacteria to more complicated genera like plants and animals. So, biotechnology has become a major feature of modern industry, agriculture and medicine. Modern biotechnology provides a number of methods that scientists use to recognize and control the genetic structure of species for use in agricultural product development or processing [ 8 ].

The implications of biotechnology includes, breeding of plants for raising and stabilizing yields by improving their ability to confront various pests, insects and other possible threats, to fight various conditions like drought and counter diseases that could attack and cold and soil acidity, biotechnology is also being applied for nutritional enhancement of various foods [ 9 , 10 ].

Disease-Free Plants

Disease-free plants are a very practical applications of biotechnology, these could be produced by micropropagation method. One of the examples of such plants is banana. Bananas are typically grown in countries where they emerge to be major source of income/employment and/or food. Micropropagation is a way to regenerate disease-free plantlets of bananas from tissues of healthy banana plants. It has all the possible benefits of being a revolutionary technique that is relatively inexpensive and easy to use [ 11 ].

Agriculture on acid soils

Lime can be applied to the soil to preserve the pH of the soil. This process emerges to be excellent but is expensive and temporary as well. Alternatively, it is possible to grow improved cultivars which are tolerant of aluminum [ 9 ].

Fortification of Crops

In developing countries or countries where there is a lot of shortage of food, fortified crops emerge to be an excellent food source which are supplemented with nutrients for rising malnourished children. One of the examples of such fortified crops is 'Protato'. This, genetically modified potato, is being widely cultivated and used in India and provides approximately one-third to one-half more protein than a common potato. In addition, this genetically modified potato also contains significant quantities of all essential amino acids, such as lysine and methionine. This 'Protato' could be a very potential food source in countries where potato is a major staple food [ 12 ]. Another example of such crops is golden rice. These genetically modified rice has a higher content of beta-carotene [ 13 ]. The grains and leaves of cowpeas are considered to be used as side or relish dishes. The cowpea is being consumed as staple food in various countries. The varieties of cowpeas with genetically modification has been grown in Tanzania [ 14 ]. The fortification of nutrients to enhance the nutritional status of crops, developed by genetically modified organisms with the major difference has been reported in Table ​ Table1 1 .

The GM crops with major nutritional difference from original crops breeding

Bt = Transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis

Animal Feed

Genetically modified crops are practically being used in developed countries. Such kind of crops have a very significant potential to provide more nutrients than the normal [ 22 ].

Reproduction in Aquaculture

Biotechnology has emerged to have great practical applications in aquaculture, biotechnology has helped to maximize the growth and production in the aquaculture. Research is being continued in this field for better and harmless production of aquatic organisms suitable for human consumption [ 23 ].

Pest Resistant Crops

Pest attack is one of the very common problem in a number of different crops all around the globe, these crops may include fodder crops or other crops for the purpose of getting food. One the example of such crops is BT-Cotton. The genes of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a very common, are inserted in cotton crop in order for development of certain protein in it. The protein is very toxic to a number of different insects. With this aid of biotechnology, the developed BT-Cotton leads to a less pest attack ultimately leading to a significant more production [ 24 ].

Drought Resistant Crops

Targeted and short gun methods are two different two different but main techniques in genetic engineering. These techniques are applied in order to obtain transgenic plants that will possess the ability to confer drought resistance [ 10 ].

The prosperity of future is mainly based on the supply of equitable, secure, sustainable and affordable energy. Production of biofuel is one of the emerged trends in recent years. Biofuel could be an emerged and reliable substitute of fossil fuels. Six microalgae’s strains were photosynthetically produced in a photobioreactor. Among these six microalgae, the Chlorella vulgaris strain is most dominant for the production of biodiesel. The Chlorella vulgaris has been used as feedstock. The quality of biofuel and productivity of lipids could be measured as a criterion for the selection of species to produce biodiesel [ 25 ].

Vaccine Development

Biotechnology has developed potential platform for scientists to develop wide ranges of vaccine in cheap and reliable ways and in mass production for all scales [ 26 ].

Fermentation

Fermentation is a predominant process to synthesize breweries. At commercial level, several strains of yeast are being utilized for the production of breweries. The light wine can be made through the mechanism of genetic engineering. Foreign gene encoded with glucoamylase has enabled to modify yeast. The glucoamylase is expressed through yeast during the fermentation process by which conversion of starch into glucose has been reported [ 27 ]. The strains of yeast are used for synthesis of wine which are capable of initiating malolactic fermentation. Synthesis of wine is comprised of two steps: 1) Primary fermentation uses yeast to convert the glucose into alcohol. 2) Secondary fermentation results in the production of lactic acid with the maximum acidity level using bacteria. The costly divergent strategies are applied to overcome this issue. The malolactic gene such as Lactobacillus delbrueckii is inserted into the strain of industrial yeast to resolve this problem. This gene depresses the conversion of malate hence minimizing the wine acidity level [ 27 ].

Enzymes are specifically used in processing and production of different items of food at industrial level. In 20th century second last decade, companies are being using enzymes to process food. The production of food is done by developing the technique of producing organisms through genetically modification. These enzymes contain carbohydrases and proteases. The maximum production could be achieved by the cloning of genes for these in minimum time period. These enzymes are specifically used for producing curd, cheese and flavoring items of food. Maximum percentage of enzymes are used in the industry of food. The more than 50% quantities of carbohydrases and proteases are being utilized in the USA industry of food. These enzymes comprise of α-amylase and rennin [ 27 ].

Use of Biotechnology to Improve Yield

Milk is being consumed all over the world as a beneficial food with high nutritional value. The pituitary gland releases bovine Somatotropin hormone which increases the production of milk. Formerly, the calves were being slaughtered to extract this hormone from their brain. Nevertheless, that method results in the less hormone quantity. Scientists utilized Escherichia coli for the insertion of gene with encoded bovine Somatotropin in it. Now, this hormone results in the production of more quantity. This hormone obtains 10–12% increase in the production of milk. In 2050, the world’s population will be reported nine billion. Consequently, on the same land, higher yield will be required. Potentially, biotechnology is the best technology to combat various food yield problem [ 27 ]. The greater level of hunger and poverty is reported in Africa. The malnutrition and hunger causes consequences in the case of in diseases such as rickets and kwashiorkor. These diseases result higher deaths. Africa can get rid of starvation, diseases, malnutrition and hunger with maximumly potential usage of biotechnology. It can improve standard of health and decrease rate of mortality. Three countries of Africa: Egypt, South Africa and Burkina Faso have been already profited through biotechnological adaptation of numerous methods of cultivation. For instance, 0.1 million Burkina Faso’s farmers elevated the cotton yield by 126% with the potential use of GM technology of food. The technology of GM food is adopted which is required for the commercial system. It causes the products of GMO release, allergenicity tests, toxicity and digestivity of GM food. In that particular area, European Union and USA should assist Africa. Many countries of Africa deficient in the system of biosafety. African should develop biosafety laws and make sure their approval their as priority for the easily adoption of system. The deficiency of education is another obstacle in the technology of GM food’s adoption. Kenyan people are much concerned about technology of GM food as they made protest against it. The lack of education is the major factor of the adverse attitude of people of Kenya toward biotechnology of food. People should be aware of advantages and disadvantages of GM technology of food through conveyance of message in seminars by scientists [ 28 ].

Various juice of fruits possesses minimum shell life. For instance, tomato is being consumed all over the world. Tomatoes should be harvested at stage of mature green in order to transportation. They are exposed to ethylene for earlier ripening and then picking. The quick ripening of tomatoes is due to more temperatures although, their taste could be destroyed at low temperature. A company of California named Calgene engineered genetically tomato to resolve that problem. They produced Flavr Savr variety of tomatoes in order to sort out the issue. An enzyme which is named as polygalacturonase causes the breakdown of pectin to ensure ripening. Scientists modified genetically tomatoes to decrease the quantity of enzyme. Antisense RNA is used for that specific purpose [ 28 ]. Low quantity of that enzyme shows consequences in the case of breakdown of cell wall and pectin in stronger tomatoes. These Flavr Savr variety possess tomatoes of firmer quality with increased shell life and later support transport [ 29 ].

Biotechnology: Enhancing Taste

Scientists are using the method of biotechnology for the production of fruits with enhanced taste. GM foods with enhanced taste are comprise of eggplant, cherries, pepper, seedless watermelon and tomato etc. The seed are removed from these fruits which shows better consequences such as more content of sugar with soluble form increasing sweetness in fruits [ 30 ]. The pathways of fermentation are altered by utilizing biotechnology for the purpose to add flavor and aroma in wine [ 27 ].

Future Prospects

There is requirement of research work to disprove or prove the local scientists’ claims against GM food consumption. The layman should be questioned about potential dangers executed by GM food against human health and ecosystem, limited scientists can give response. Why is so?? Major reason is the lack of research associated to these areas. Consequently, GM food could be commercialized with the supreme confidence of scientists should to support food of GM technology and with making people argument about it.

The practical applications of biotechnology have merged to have helpful and safe production of sustained food. More research is recommended in the said field for better and safe production and processing technologies and techniques.

Acknowledgements

The authors have no acknowledgements to endorse.

Declarations

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interests.

Biotechnology is a wide-ranging science that uses modern technologies to construct biological processes, organisms, cells or cellular components. This article summarizes some of the social implications of biotechnology.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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Scientists develop a low-cost device to make cell therapy safer

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Monochromatic microscopic close-up shows thousands of cells from a large channel on top being sorted into five outlets on bottom.

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A tiny device built by scientists at MIT and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology could be used to improve the safety and effectiveness of cell therapy treatments for patients suffering from spinal cord injuries.

In cell therapy, clinicians create what are known as induced pluripotent stem cells by reprogramming some skin or blood cells taken from a patient. To treat a spinal cord injury, they would coax these pluripotent stem cells to become progenitor cells, which are destined to differentiate into spinal cord cells. These progenitors are then transplanted back into the patient.

These new cells can regenerate part of the injured spinal cord. However, pluripotent stem cells that don’t fully change into progenitors can form tumors.

This research team developed a microfluidic cell sorter that can remove about half of the undifferentiated cells — those that can potentially become tumors — in a batch, without causing any damage to the fully-formed progenitor cells.

The high-throughput device, which doesn’t require special chemicals, can sort more than 3 million cells per minute. In addition, the researchers have shown that chaining many devices together can sort more than 500 million cells per minute, making this a more viable method to someday improve the safety of cell therapy treatments.

Plus, the plastic chip that contains the microfluidic cell sorter can be mass-produced in a factory at very low cost, so the device would be easier to implement at scale.

“Even if you have a life-saving cell therapy that is doing wonders for patients, if you cannot manufacture it cost-effectively, reliably, and safely, then its impact might be limited. Our team is passionate about that problem — we want to make these therapies more reliable and easily accessible,” says Jongyoon Han, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science and of biological engineering, a member of the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE), and co-lead principal investigator of the CAMP (Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized Medicine) research group at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART).

Han is joined on the paper by co-senior author Sing Yian Chew, professor of chemistry, chemical engineering, and biotechnology at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine and Materials Science and Engineering at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and a CAMP principal investigator; co-lead authors Tan Dai Nguyen, a CAMP researcher; Wai Hon Chooi, a senior research fellow at the Singapore Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR); and Hyungkook Jeon, an MIT postdoc; as well as others at NTU and A*STAR. The research appears today in Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

Reducing risk

The cancer risk posed by undifferentiated induced pluripotent stem cells remains one of the most pressing challenges in this type of cell therapy.

“Even if you have a very small population of cells that are not fully differentiated, they could still turn into cancer-like cells,” Han adds.

Clinicians and researchers often seek to identify and remove these cells by looking for certain markers on their surfaces, but so far researchers have not been able to find a marker that is specific to these undifferentiated cells. Other methods use chemicals to selectively destroy these cells, yet the chemical treatment techniques may be harmful to the differentiated cells.

The high-throughput microfluidic sorter, which can sort cells based on size, had been previously developed by the CAMP team after more than a decade of work. It has been previously used for sorting immune cells and mesenchymal stromal cells (another type of stem cell), and now the team is expanding its use to other stem cell types, such as induced pluripotent stem cells, Han says.

“We are interested in regenerative strategies to enhance tissue repair after spinal cord injuries, as these conditions lead to devasting functional impairment. Unfortunately, there is currently no effective regenerative treatment approach for spinal cord injuries,” Chew says. “Spinal cord progenitor cells derived from pluripotent stem cells hold great promise, since they can generate all cell types found within the spinal cord to restore tissue structure and function. To be able to effectively utilize these cells, the first step would be to ensure their safety, which is the aim of our work.”

The team discovered that pluripotent stem cells tend to be larger than the progenitors derived from them. It is hypothesized that before a pluripotent stem cell differentiates, its nucleus contains a large number of genes that haven’t been turned off, or suppressed. As it differentiates for a specific function, the cell suppresses many genes it will no longer need, significantly shrinking the nucleus.

The microfluidic device leverages this size difference to sort the cells.

Spiral sorting

Microfluidic channels in the quarter-sized plastic chip form an inlet, a spiral, and four outlets that output cells of different sizes. As the cells are forced through the spiral at very high speeds, various forces, including centrifugal forces, act on the cells. These forces counteract to focus the cells in a certain location in the fluid stream. This focusing point will be dependent on the size of the cells, effectively sorting them through separate outlets.

The researchers found they could improve the sorter’s operation by running it twice, first at a lower speed so larger cells stick to the walls and smaller cells are sorted out, then at a higher speed to sort out larger cells.

In a sense, the device operates like a centrifuge, but the microfluidic sorter does not require human intervention to pick out sorted cells, Han adds.

The researchers showed that their device could remove about 50 percent of the larger cells with one pass. They conducted experiments to confirm that the larger cells they removed were, in fact, associated with higher tumor risk.

“While we can’t remove 100 percent of these cells, we still believe this is going to reduce the risk significantly. Hopefully, the original cell type is good enough that we don’t have too many undifferentiated cells. Then this process could make these cells even safer,” he says.

Importantly, the low-cost microfluidic sorter, which can be produced at scale with standard manufacturing techniques, does not use any type of filtration. Filters can become clogged or break down, so a filter-free device can be used for a much longer time.

Now that they have shown success at a small scale, the researchers are embarking on larger studies and animal models to see if the purified cells function better in vivo.

Nondifferentiated cells can become tumors, but they can have other random effects in the body, so removing more of these cells could boost the efficacy of cell therapies, as well as improve safety.

“If we can convincingly demonstrate these benefits in vivo, the future might hold even more exciting applications for this technique,” Han says.

This research is supported, in part, by the National Research Foundation of Singapore and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology.

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  • Micro/Nanofluidic BioMEMS Group
  • Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-medicine Group
  • Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology
  • Research Laboratory of Electronics

Related Topics

  • Microfluidics
  • Health sciences and technology
  • Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART)
  • Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (eecs)

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