Molecular biotechnology


Dec 14, 2012 (4 years and 6 months ago)



Animal Science

Problem Area

Animal Genetics and



Student Learning Objectives

1. Identify the major areas of biotechnology
in animal science.

2. Explain various molecular biotechnology

3. Discuss applications of molecular

4. Discuss applications of organismic


Animal biotechnology


Embryo transfer

Genetic engineering

Gene transfer




Particle injection


Recombinant DNA



Transgenic animal

What are the major areas of biotechnology in animal


is the management of biological systems
for the benefit of people and their environment. It is also
viewed as the application of science in food and fiber
production. Biotechnology has been used for hundreds of
years. Using yeast to make bread and bacteria to make
cheese are everyday examples of biotechnology.

Animal biotechnology

is the application of biotechnology
methods to improve animals. There are two major areas of
technology in animal science.

A. Molecular biotechnology


is changing the structure and parts
of cells to change the organism. It begins with the
atom. Molecular biotechnology often changes the
physical appearance of an organism. In some
cases, undesirable traits may develop along with
those that are desired.

B. Organismic biotechnology


deals with intact or complete
organisms. The genetic makeup of the organism is
not artificially changed. This is the most widely used
type of biotechnology.

What are some of the various molecular biotechnology

A. Genetic Engineering

Genetic Engineering

is a
form of biotechnology in which genetic information is
changed to make a new product. Through this
process, sections of the DNA strand are cut out and
new sections are inserted.

Gene transfer

is the moving of a gene from one
organism to another. Genetic engineering is a
means of complementing traditional breeding

B. Recombinant DNA

Recombinant DNA

is gene slicing.
Genes are cut out of a DNA strand with a restriction
enzyme that works like a scalpel. They are then inserted
into circular DNA molecules in bacteria plasmids.


are circular pieces of DNA found outside the
nucleus in bacteria. The plasmid is inserted into the cell
that is to be altered. This allows the DNA of two different
organisms to be combined. This is a very complicated and
complex procedure. Most cells die in the process. Many
surviving cells do not have the new DNA present in the

C. Transgenic Animals

transgenic animal

is an animal that
has incorporated a foreign gene into its cells. This animal can
pass to its offspring this
, or altered gene. All of the
cells within the transgenic animal contain this transgene. Some
common transgenic methods are:

1. Microinjection

This is the most common method used.
Injecting DNA into a cell using a fine diameter glass needle
and a microscope constitutes

2. Particle injection

Particle injection

is using a
microprojectile unit to shoot tiny particles coated with DNA
into cells. Microprojectile units are sometimes called
particle guns. Both methods have relatively low success

What are some of the applications of molecular

A. Human health

Animals are being used to study several
different types of diseases found in humans. Insulin was once
extracted from the pancreas of slaughtered cattle and hogs. This
extraction process was very expensive. Sometime the insulin
from the animals caused allergic reactions to the diabetics who
used it.

Through molecular biotechnology, insulin is now produced
artificially in laboratories. This artificial insulin is of higher quality
and less expensive to produce. This is just one example of a
product being developed through biotechnology that will benefit
human health. Many more are on the horizon.

B. Food production

Increasing the levels of beta casein in milk
decreases the time required for rennet coagulation and whey
expulsion in making cheese. This lowers total processing time and
cost. Also through biotechnology, the fat content in milk can be
reduced to make fat
free cheese and ice cream. If a substance
known as kappa casein is increased 5 percent in milk, it makes it
more stable and easier to ship. These are only a few examples of
food products that have been developed through biotechnology.
Soon, many new foods will be introduced on the market that are
high in quality.

C. Livestock production

The use of biotechnology has increased
growth rate, efficiency, and disease resistance in livestock. This
has made livestock production cost decline and aids in the supply
of a low cost food supply.

What are some applications of organismic

A. Greater fertility

Increasing the reproductive capacity of
top animals is important to producers. Two methods to
increase the reproductive capacity of animals are:

1. Superovulation


is getting a female to
release more than the usual number of eggs during a
single estrous cycle. Hormones are injected to assure more

2. Embryo transfer

Embryo transfer

is taking an embryo
from its mother and implanting it in another female. The
embryo completes development in the recipient.

B. Increased production

Three methods used to
increase production are:

1. Milk hormones

Injections of milk hormones cause the
cow’s mammary system to become more productive. The
most common milk hormone is bovine somatotropin (bST).
Since bST is a naturally occurring hormone, it has been
widely accepted in the dairy industry.

2. Meat hormones

Injections of meat hormones causes
the animal to produce more muscle cells resulting in larger
and leaner cuts of valuable meat.

3. Growth implants

Growth implants are small pellets
placed under the skin. They promote growth by making the
animal more feed efficient.

C. Enhancing animal nutrition

The greatest results
of biotechnology have been seen in animal nutrition.
Some of the enhancements are:

1. Digestibility testing

Tests are made by getting samples
from the digestive systems of animals after they have
eaten. This information is used to improve feed use and
animal growth.

2. Controlled feeding

Computer chips can be put in a
monitor around the animal’s neck, ear tag or under the
skin. A computerized feeding station will read the chip and
regulate the amount of feed the animal receives. Daily feed
intake by the animal is used to aid in the detection of health


What are the major areas of biotechnology in
animal science?

What are some of the various molecular
biotechnology methods?

What are some of the applications of
molecular biotechnology?

What are some applications of organismic