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Simply defined, biotechnology is the use of living organisms or their products for commercial purposes. Everyday items (such as breads and alcohols, grain crops) and animals (breeding) can be classified as the earliest form of Biotechnology. In the 21st Century however, Biotechnology is more accurately defined as the commercial application of living organisms or their products, which involves the deliberate manipulation of their DNA molecules. Implied in this statement is a set of laboratory techniques developed within the last 20 years that have been responsible for the tremendous scientific and commercial interest in biotechnology, the founding of many new multimillion dollar companies, and the redirection of research efforts and financial resources among already established companies (Pharmaceuticals most notably) and universities.
This book explores this phenomenon and explains it to educated laypeople looking for an understanding of what Biotechnology is all about and how it will affect them in the years to come. From DNA manipulation to gene therapy, the vast array of possibilities seems endless and now is the time to get a jump-start on deciphering fact from fiction and uncover the truth about Biotechnology.
Preface. Introduction. 1. History: From Biology to Biotechnology. 2. Genetic Engineering. 3. Transformation. 4. Biotechnological Products. 5. Biosafety. 6. Cloning. 7. Gene therapy. 8. Pharmacogenomics. 9. Molecular Markers. 10. DNA Forensic. 11. Bioremediation. 12. Biotechnology and Biodiversity. 13. Bioinformatics. 14. Bioterrorism. 15. Patents. 16. Bioethics. Glossary. References.
Aluizio Borem is an agronomist, faculty member at the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil, and a member of the Brazilian Biosafety Committee. Fabricio 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.