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Understanding Biotechnology

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Overview

An objective, thorough, and accessible introduction to biotechnology.

Biotechnology will have an increasingly profound impact on human health, agriculture, the environment, and society itself. Understanding Biotechnology offers an introduction to biotechnology that is balanced, accurate, current, thorough, and accessible to both non-specialists and professionals.

The authors begin with a brief history of biotechnology and an introduction to the underlying principles of genetic engineering. Next, they review every key area of biotechnology research, thoroughly addressing both technical practice and implications—including biosafety and ethical issues.

Understanding Biotechnology presents careful and complete introductions to cloning, gene therapy, pharmacogenomics, molecular markers, forensic DNA, bioremediation, and biodiversity, as well as a full chapter on the risks of bioterrorism. It also includes an extensive glossary and detailed references for further study.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131010116
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 1/10/2003
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Aluízio Borém is an agronomist, faculty member at the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil, and a member of the Brazilian Biosafety Committee.

Fabrício R. Santos, biologist and faculty member at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil), currently researches the molecular evolution of humans.

David E. Bowen is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Idaho, where he is researching nutritional improvements in wheat.

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Read an Excerpt

Preface

Looking back on the last few years, it is difficult to imagine life without biotechnology.Biotechnology is everywhere you look, from food in the grocery store, to routine medical treatmentsin the hospital. February 12, 2001 became an important date in human history. Beginning on thatdate, anyone with access to the Internet could look at a new atlas that contains the entire humangenome. Biotechnology is transforming everything we know, believe, expect, and practice in modernsociety.

Did you know that IBM's largest current project, called Blue Gene, is devoted to genomesequencing and involves a machine that can perform 1 quadrillion calculations per second? Or thatSun Microsystems' largest project is deciphering a protein? Or that Monsanto and Pioneer/DuPontsell almost 80 percent of the world's seed corn? Or that 100 whole animals have already beenpatented? Biotechnology is expanding well beyond the walls of the laboratory. Its influence hasreached the stock market and provided jobs for millions worldwide.

Researchers at a Worcester, Massachusetts, biotechnology company, Advanced Cell Technology, succeeded in creating the world'sfirst cloned human embryos. This and other controversial applications of biotechnology have createdmany questions and few answers. Geneticists, ethicists, and theologians working together need toreach a balanced view on many highly controversial topics ranging from embryonic stem cell researchto ownership of genes.

Biotechnology is part of human life, from big cities to small farmcommunities. This is especially evident in the agricultural industry. The global area of transgeniccrops planted in 2001 was 130 million acres, representing5.5 million farmers worldwide. This ispart of a growing trend that has seen the area planted with transgenic crops increase 19 percentfrom 2000 to 2001. This indicates a clear need for all to become informed about this growing areaof science.

Understanding Biotechnology addresses the background and applications of biotechnologyin the many aspects of today's society. We include essential details important for a scientificbook, while maintaining an understandable level for most readers. As with highly polarized topicssuch as biotechnology, balanced arguments are difficult to find and evaluate. UnderstandingBiotechnology offers readers an opportunity to understand this revolutionary science and the issuessurrounding its role in today's society, allowing you to develop informed opinions aboutbiotechnology.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
1 History: From Biology to Biotechnology 1
2 Genetic Engineering 17
3 Transformation 27
4 Biotechnological Products 45
5 Biosafety 63
6 Cloning 75
7 Gene Therapy 87
8 Pharmacogenomics 99
9 Molecular Markers 109
10 Forensic DNA 119
11 Bioremediation 131
12 Biodiversity 139
13 Bioterrorism 149
14 Bioethics 169
Glossary 193
References 205
Index 209
About the Authors 217
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Preface

Preface

Looking back on the last few years, it is difficult to imagine life without biotechnology.Biotechnology is everywhere you look, from food in the grocery store, to routine medical treatmentsin the hospital. February 12, 2001 became an important date in human history. Beginning on thatdate, anyone with access to the Internet could look at a new atlas that contains the entire humangenome. Biotechnology is transforming everything we know, believe, expect, and practice in modernsociety.

Did you know that IBM's largest current project, called Blue Gene, is devoted to genomesequencing and involves a machine that can perform 1 quadrillion calculations per second? Or thatSun Microsystems' largest project is deciphering a protein? Or that Monsanto and Pioneer/DuPontsell almost 80 percent of the world's seed corn? Or that 100 whole animals have already beenpatented? Biotechnology is expanding well beyond the walls of the laboratory. Its influence hasreached the stock market and provided jobs for millions worldwide.

Researchers at a Worcester, Massachusetts, biotechnology company, Advanced Cell Technology, succeeded in creating the world'sfirst cloned human embryos. This and other controversial applications of biotechnology have createdmany questions and few answers. Geneticists, ethicists, and theologians working together need toreach a balanced view on many highly controversial topics ranging from embryonic stem cell researchto ownership of genes.

Biotechnology is part of human life, from big cities to small farmcommunities. This is especially evident in the agricultural industry. The global area of transgeniccrops planted in 2001 was 130 million acres, representing 5.5 million farmers worldwide. This ispart of a growing trend that has seen the area planted with transgenic crops increase 19 percentfrom 2000 to 2001. This indicates a clear need for all to become informed about this growing areaof science.

Understanding Biotechnology addresses the background and applications of biotechnologyin the many aspects of today's society. We include essential details important for a scientificbook, while maintaining an understandable level for most readers. As with highly polarized topicssuch as biotechnology, balanced arguments are difficult to find and evaluate. UnderstandingBiotechnology offers readers an opportunity to understand this revolutionary science and the issuessurrounding its role in today's society, allowing you to develop informed opinions aboutbiotechnology.

Read More Show Less

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