Biotechnology Through the Ages

sidewalkhallBiotechnology

Oct 23, 2013 (4 years and 2 months ago)

116 views

Biotechnology
Through the Ages

Revised June 2010

Ancient Biotechnology


Not known when biotechnology began


Few records exist besides prehistoric carvings and
sketches


Most early biotechnology focused on finding food and
supporting other basic human needs


Useful plants were brought in from the wild and planted near
dwellings


Food preservation most likely came from unplanned events, such as
fire or freezing


Domestication of plants and animals played a key part in
the development of early biotechnology practices


Ancient Biotechnology:
Domestication


Domestication is the adaptation of organisms so they can be cultured


Process of domestication most likely began 11,000 to 12,000 years ago in
the Middle East


Food supplies were often seasonal, and as such were very low in winter


Domesticating plants


such as grains


involved collecting seed and
growing crude crops, and understanding the seed had to properly mature
before it would be good food


Plants needed proper water, light, and nutrients


Raising animals in captivity began about the same time as domesticating
plants, as people found it was easier to have an animal close by than hunt


People learned animals’ needs, how they bred, and how to raise
young


Cattle and sheep were the first domesticated food animals


Domestication resulted in people being able to gather and store foods,
leading to farming and food preservation methods still used today

Ancient Biotechnology:

Food


Early humans learned hard lessons about food preservation


Some foods rotted, while others could change shape and would still be edible


Food stored in a cool cave or heated by a fire did not spoil as quickly


Immersing foods in sour liquids prevented food decay


Food could be stored in leather bags or clay jars


Fermentation occurred if certain microorganisms were present in the food,
creating an acid condition which slowed or prevented spoiling


Cheese was one of the first products made through biotechnology


strains of
bacteria and rennet (an enzyme found in calves’ stomach lining) were added
to milk


Today, most rennet is genetically engineered, and some cheeses don’t
even use it!


Certain yeasts are fungi used to make bread rise by producing a gas in the
dough


Vinegar was formed from fermented juices and extracts from fruit and grains

Classic Biotechnology


Made widespread use of methods from ancient biotechnology, especially
fermentation, but adapted them to industrial production


Focuses on short
-
term food production to meet the demands of an
increasing population


Classic fermentation advancements occurred in the 1800 and 1900s


Yeast enzymes chemically changed compounds into alcohol, which can
be converted into acetic acid, or vinegar, which can be used in pickling


The use of fermenters, specially designed chambers, allowed better
control of the process, so new products such as glycerol, acetone, and
citric acid resulted


Yeasts helped lead to the modern baking industry


Fermentation also led to the development of antibiotics, drugs which
could combat bacterial infections


Limitations in the use of antibiotics keep disease
-
causing organisms
from developing an immunity to the drug


Antibiotics are used in both human and animal medicine

Modern Biotechnology


Often referred to as genetic engineering, modern biotechnology involves
the investigation of genes based on research from the mid
-
1800s


Genetics


Genetics is the study of heredity, or how traits are passed from
parents to offspring


Differences in heredity are known as variability


Genes are the basic building blocks of genetics


they carry the genetic
code


Recombinant DNA Technology


Use of biotechnology to produce new life forms by moving genetic
material from one organism into another


Genetically modified bacteria, biodiesel, human insulin, and some new
food varieties came about because of this challenging and
controversial process

You Might have Heard of…


Zacharias Janssen:

Dutch eyeglass maker who discovered the principle of
the microscope in 1590


Anton Van Leeuwenhoek:

Developed the single
-
lens microscope in the
1670s, which was used to observe tiny organisms


Gregor Mendel:

Austrian botanist and monk who formulated the basic
laws of heredity in the mid
-
1800s after breeding thousands of peas and
discovering some traits were dominant and others recessive


Johan Friedrich Miescher:

Swiss biologist who isolated the nuclei of white
blood cells in 1869, leading to the identification of nucleic acid


Walter Sutton:

Determined chromosomes carried units of heredity


Wilhelm Johannsen:

Dutch biologist who created the term “gene”


Thomas Hunt Morgan:

Contributed to the knowledge of X and Y
chromosomes and later won the Nobel Peace Prize for his research


Ernst Ruska:

German electrical engineer who built the first electron
microscope in 1932

You Might have Heard of…


Alexander Fleming:

Discovered penicillin, the first antibiotic drug
used in treating human disease, in 1928


Rosalind Franklin:

Set up an x
-
ray diffraction lab which took
photographs of DNA and showed it could have a double helix
structure


James Watson and Francis Crick:

Collaborative researchers who
produced the first model of DNA structure in 1953


Norman Borlaug:

Helped to develop high
-
producing wheat
varieties and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for his work


Mary Clare King:

Determined that 99 percent of human DNA is
identical to that of a chimpanzee


Ian Wilmut:

Cloned Dolly the sheep in 1997


Biotechnology Terms to Note


Research:

Use of systematic methods to answer
questions


Basic:

Require generating new information to gain
understanding


Applied:

Involves use of knowledge already acquired


Field Plot:

Small area of land used to test questions
or hypothesis to simulate results on a larger scale


Development:

Creation of new products or methods
based on research findings


Prototype:

A pattern for the production of similar
products