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Module 1. Biotechnology Basics. Developed by Mary Gutiérrez Phillips Tulsa Community College NSF/ATE Award #0602744. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS. What is biotechnology? Bio = life techno = tools ology = the study of. Definition:

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Module 1

Module 1

Biotechnology Basics

Developed by Mary Gutiérrez Phillips

Tulsa Community College

NSF/ATE Award #0602744

Frequently asked questions


What is biotechnology?

Bio = life

techno = tools

ology = the study of

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Biotechnology is the use of living organisms, their products or parts (such as protein, DNA or RNA) to make useful products.

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  • Examples: vaccines, genetically modified foods and animals, pharmaceuticals (drugs) such as insulin and growth hormone.

Is biotechnology a new science yes and no

NO. Humans have been breeding crops and domesticating animals for thousands of years! (10,000 C.E. – 4,000 C.E.)

Is Biotechnology a new science?

Yes and No…

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People have been baking bread, making cheese, yogurt and brewing alcoholic beverages.

(2000 C.E.)

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Yes.Since the discovery of DNA, biotechnology has involved the use and manipulation of DNA, RNA and proteins for the development of genetically modified foods, animals, vaccines and other drugs.

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1600 C.E. -1700 C.E.

The microscope is discovered. Leeuwenhoek describes protozoa and bacteria.

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1700 C.E. - 1800 C.E.

1797 Edward Jenner inoculates child with smallpox vaccine.

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1800 C.E. - 1850 C.E.

Cell Theory

1838-1839 Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schawnn state: Plants and animals are made up of cells.

1855 Rudolph Virchow states: cells come from cells.

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1850 C.E. - 1900 C.E.

1861 Louis Pasteur proposes the “Germ Theory,” pasteurization and discovers the rabies vaccine (1885).

1859 Charles Darwin writes “The Origin of Species” and proposes the Theory of Evolution.

1863 Gregor Mendel discovers principles of how traits are passed from parents to offspring.

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1900 C.E. - 1950 C.E.

1915 –Thomas Hunt Morgan studied fruit flies and proposed that chromosomes carry genes.

1917 – the first time the word “biotechnology” is used.

1928 - Alexander Fleming discovers the antibiotic penicillin – a mold.

1944 - Avery, MacLeod and McCarty discover DNA is the genetic material.

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1950 C.E. - 1970 C.E.


James Watson and Francis Crick describe the structure of DNA. In 1962, they win the Nobel Prize.

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1960's C.E.

Adult Stem Cell Research

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1970 - Present

Biotech Revolution

April 19, 1971

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1970 C.E. - 1980 C.E.


Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer

Cut and paste bacteria and human genes DNA - Recombinant DNA Science

U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program,

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Word “nanotechnology” is coined by Norio Tanihuchi of Japan

Viruses are biological “nanobots.” They range in size between 20 – 200 nanometers.

Nano - means “dwarf”

the prefix nano means a billionth or 10-9

Tech- tools

ology- study of

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Nanotechologymanipulates atoms and molecules whose size range from 1-100 nanometers.

Special microscopes can see very small objects, molecules and atoms.

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April 18, 1977

July 31, 1978,16641,19770418,00.html

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1980 C.E. - 1990 C.E.

1981 Transgenic mice. Mice carry human genes that help scientists test how genes work.

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March 9, 1981

Genentech launches commercialization of genetically engineered products.

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FDA patent approved to use genetically engineered insulin.

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FDA approves the first genetically engineered vaccine -hepatitis B

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1990 C.E. - 2000 C.E.

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Human Genome Project

Project launched to map all of the human chromosomes

Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah, permission for educational use

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New Fields of Study Emerge

Bioinformatics: The use of computers, mathematical analysis and technology to study biological information.

Proteomics: The study of how proteins function in the body.

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FDA approves first genetically modified food substance- a recombinantenzyme called chymosinmade from genetically modified yeast. Chymosin is used for making cheese.

Rennet (natural) comes from suckling calves stomachs.

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November 8, 1993

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Flavr Savr Tomato

FDA approved first genetically modified food. The tomato was resistant to rotting and could ripen on the vine longer.

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GE Canola

GE Papaya

GE Corn

Acreage 2002 USDA ERS

Acreage 2003 NCFAP

Acreage 2005 USDA NASS

75% of total crop

46% of total crop

52% of total crop

GE Soybean

GE Cotton

GE Squash

(yellow straight and crookneck;

zucchini) 2003 NCFAP

Acreage 2005 USDA NASS

Acreage 2005 USDA NASS

87% of total crop

76% of total crop

19% of total crop

SOURCES: NCFAP (www.ncfap.rg/whatwedo/pdf/2004finalreport.pdf) USDA NASS (

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Hello Dolly

The first animal cloned from an adult cell.

March 10, 1997

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1998 - James Thompson

Human Embryonic Stem Cells

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2000 C.E. - present

August 7, 2006

August 20, 2001

August 30, 2004

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First cloned cat – CC for “carbon copy”

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Human Genome sequence completed. All the human genes are mapped.

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GloFish -first genetically modified pet. Just for fun!

The zebra fish have a gene from jellyfish or coral that make them glow red, green or yellow.

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FDA approves first vaccine against cancer.

The vaccine blocks several types of the HPV (human papillomavirus)

The virus causes genital warts

and causes over 70% of

cervical cancer.

Permission granted:

Why is biotechnology important biotech is important for many reasons

U.S. 300,233,107

World 6,557,779,128

Why is Biotechnology important?

Biotech is important for many reasons:

Health care food and agricultural needs clean and safe water resources alternative fuels

Biotech is important for many reasons:

Health care

Food and agricultural needs

Clean and safe water resources

Alternative fuels

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5. Forensics

6. Bioremediation (use of bacteria to clean the environment)

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Careers and Education in Biotechnology

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Education – sciences (biology, chemistry, microbiology, genetics biotechnology) , mathematics, business, computers.

Talk to teachers, counselors, people in the field, take special workshops, find out about shadowing or internships. Visit your community college!

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Genetic testing, diseases organ transplants, vaccines, public health, epidemiologist, pharmaceutical development, fertility specialist,

Agriculture and wildlife- crop development, pesticide reduction, food safety, wildlife management, species protection, environment protection, clean water, waste management

Forensics and law, research how DNA and proteins function

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Biotechnology and Fears

October 25, 2004

November 13, 2006

Improve Life or Destroy life?

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  • Biotechnology Learning Center Interactive Biotechnology Timeline

    2. Access Excellence -Biotechnology 1977 to present

    3. Interactive and animated timeline

    4. Biotechnology Industry Organization Timeline

    5. Biotechnology Timeline

    6. Biotechnology Institute Timeline

    7. Biotechnology Australia Biotechnology Timeline

    8. Monsanto Company – A Brief Biotech Timeline

    9. North Carolina Biotechnology Center Timeline

    10. Time Magazine Covers – Free archive

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11. Permission to use images for educational purposes:

Virus image Cornelia Büchen-Osmond

ICTVdB Management, Columbia University


12. All Reference -Genetic engineering of insulin graphic permission for educational purposes

13. Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah, permission for educational use (colorful chromosomes)

14. National Institute of Health – Stem Cell Information (Promise of Stem Cell diagram)

15. US Bureau Census – World Population Information - graph

16. Geek Philosopher royalty free photos (sheep, potato)

17. U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program

18. ArgenBio Spanish vocabulary and Timeline

19. Man Receiving Injection 42-16341203 image100 Royalty Free Photograph

20. NIH – stem cells Free image downlodas from NIH – stem cells

21. Wikipedia

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