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is the use of biological systems,

such as microorganisms, whole
cells or their molecules, to solve
problems or to make useful
Tools of Biotechnology
1. Bioprocessing technology
• Using whole living cells or components of them
to manufacture desired products.
• Most common whole cells used are yeast and
bacteria (one-celled organisms).
• Most common components are enzymes
(proteins that catalyze chemical reactions).
• Microbial fermentation
• Cells isolated from animals and plants also are
used to produce desired products.
Tools of Biotechnology
2. Genetic engineering
• The technique of removing, modifying or adding
genes to a DNA molecule to change the information
it contains.

• Is known more specifically as recombinant DNA

(rDNA) technology.

• The product of rDNA technology is known as a

genetically modified organism, or GMO.

• Example: Gene for human insulin inserted into E.coli

→ bacteria that make human insulin (a
Practical Applications of Biotechnology
1. Agricultural applications
• Better crops
• Improved animal health

2. Medical and health care applications

• New tests
• New vaccines
• New medicines

3. Chemical and environmental applications

• Better manufacturing processes
• Improved consumer products
Practical Applications of Biotechnology

1a. Agricultural applications: improve crops

 Improve crop yields by introducing genes that

confer resistance to insects, tolerance
to herbicides and resistance to environmental
stresses (drought, heat, cold).

 Create disease- and insect-resistant trees to

help meet demand for wood products.
Practical Applications of Biotechnology

1b. Agricultural applications:

improve animal health

 Better detection of disease

 More nutritious feed

 New and more effective vaccines

 Improved treatments for diseases

Practical Applications of Biotechnology

2. Medical and health care


 New diagnostic tests

Example: new generation of home pregnancy
and strep tests

 MANY new treatments for diseases and conditions

Examples: diabetes, stroke, anemia, cystic fibrosis, growth
deficiency, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, hepatitis, genital
warts, transplant rejection, leukemia and other cancers
Practical Applications of Biotechnology

3. Chemical and environmental

applications (industrial biotechnology)

 Produce enzymes used in laundry detergents

 Use genetically modified microorganisms that

break down industrial waste

 Develop bio-based, biodegradable plastics

 Improve manufacturing that reduces the amount of waste products