ACHIEVEMENTS IN BIOLOGY

Question

Discoveries in DNA, cell biology, evolution, biotechnology have been among the major achievements in biology over the past 200 years with accelerated discoveries and insights over the last 50 years. Consider the progress we have made in these areas of human knowledge. Present at least three of the discoveries you find to be most important and describe their significance to society, health, and the culture of modern life.

Answer

ACHIEVEMENTS IN BIOLOGY

Introduction

In lifetime, human beings performed major scientific processes for example using microorganism in production of drinks and foods without discerning the microbial processes behind it. But due to more research discoveries of regulatory mechanisms and biosynthetic pathways that microorganism utilizes to produce several metabolites has brought much insight. Such developments have influenced technologies of fermentation, monoclonal antibody, and enzymes. Beneficial microbes take part in fermentation mechanism, giving rise to plentiful helpful metabolites such as flavors, nutritious foods, amino acids, solvents and growth regulators (Soccol, 2013). Bioprocessing technologies have been beneficial for food processing industries i.e. dairy, beverage and alcohol processing. The example only gives a nip of significant advancements in biology for the past 200 years, and more is to be discussed in this paper into details, illustrating how useful they are to the society.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

A genetically modified organism is an outcome of a laboratory procedure where genes from the DNA of a separate species are obtained and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal (Ahmed, 2011). The genes may be extracted from bacteria, insects, viruses, humans or animals. They are always referred to as transgenic organisms due to the genes transfer process (Ahmed, 2011). It becomes one of the exemplary evolution in genetic engineering which is deemed to be heading to a much better scales like cheap production of oral vaccines naturally from a fruit. Such a vaccine illustrates the spread in usage of this scientific tool for medical purposes and paves the way for the use of technology in modifying human genomes.

The conception of this technology has also lead to the invention of genetically modified foods. These are food products that are deduced in part or whole from the genetically modified organisms like microbes like yeast, animals or crop plants (Ahmed, 2011). The primary ingredients used in genetically modified foods are currently obtained from genetically modified soybeans, canola, and maize. The eminent success of this technology is the transformation of Tobacco Mosaics Virus to infect host plant and thereby producing immunizing protein in place of debilitating leaf shrivel. The process has in turn changed the greenhouse tobacco into a bio-factory for plague vaccine. Scientist perceives that this process may in the future lead to fish that can mature faster, nut trees, and fruit with earlier maturity and bananas that produce human vaccines. Statistics indicates that by 2003 167 million acres were already cultivated with GMOs (Hillstrom, 2012).

Treatment of genetic disease may be achievable through genetic engineering in case a profound study is performed. For instance, if the defective genes in an organism that causes disorder could be discovered and sited in a group of cells it could get substituted with a functioning one. The transgenic cells can thereafter be planted to actualize the disorder treatment. Cloning is another comparatively newer sector of biotechnology, but it could be the solution to imperative surgery problems. In case of a breakthrough organs and tissues could be cloned for use in surgical purpose.

Pharmacy

Pharmacy is a sector of health that has mostly benefitted from the discoveries surrounding the DNA, since biotechnology production of effective and cheaper drugs have been attained. Recombinant DNA is utilized for specific enzyme manufacturing enhances the production of diverse antibodies in an organism (Emery, 2011). It helps in the manufacture of hormones such as human growth hormone, insulin, and somatostatin readily and cheaply. Somatostatin, a brain hormone originating from the hypothalamus is the first ever human hormone that was synthesized through genetic engineering (Emery, 2011). It plays part to inhibit the discharge of insulin and human growth hormone that plays a part in the treatment of pancreatitis diabetes and other health conditions.

Recombinant DNA technology has seen an increase in manufacture of antibiotics which are chemical substances produced by microorganisms. For example, the rate of penicillin production has improved from 10 unit/ml in 1950 to 150,000 unit/ml at present (Emery, 2011). Numerous companies have utilized genetic engineering in the production of hormones such as Genentech a company based in California has manufactured human growth hormone from the genetically engineered bacteria. Another company Eli Lily in 1982 produced human insulin the first ever genetically engineered pharmaceutical.  Bovine Somatotropin hormone is also important when administered on cows because it realizes a large quantity of milk production.

Recombinant DNA technology has been used to produce interferon that is prepared in yeast by a fermentation process, it is an anti-viral protein produced from the mammalian cells. By cloning complementary DNA for human interferon, a difference in the amino acids properties and sequence has been noticed in a significant number of interferon. According to a scientist by name, Shroff he predicts that more convenient vaccines in friendly forms will be produced in future like inform of mouthwash.

The capability to produce large quantities of drugs through genetic engineering has led to efficiency in the treatment of various diseases hence having a positive impact on human health. The results of the drugs produced through this technology have proven its effectiveness and have very few side effects. To advance further in the benefits of using this technology scientists are researching on how to get vaccines for sicknesses such as flu, AIDS, hepatitis and malaria which tend to be the cause of many deaths in the world today.

 

Genetic code

Breaking the genetic code is believed to be the greatest revolution by the scientist to develop tools that can aid in the investigation of the molecules of life with an utmost accuracy (Jones, 2011). These biological developments are being blended with the ever advancing field of computers to help determine the problems that might be lingering in the future. The new scientific discipline that involves both computer and biology has led to the development of Bioinformatics. It is a system that stores large genetic data i.e. RNA, DNA, protein sequence, and amino acids of various organisms from bacteria to human beings that are generated throughout the world and stored in the database (Jones, 2011). Specialized software programs have also been developed that are used to visualize, find and analyze about the organism and share the information with the people concerned.

With all these information in place, various computer tools can assist in predicting protein structure that is vital in the development of more effective drugs and vaccines. By using microarray chips that are miniature arrays attached to glass slides of gene fragments, bioinformatics helps in early detection of various diseases like diabetes, cancer, etc. (Jones, 2011). A Phylogenetic tree can also be constructed basing on the molecular biology by the utility of this technology, the tree can highly contribute to the study of evolution (Jones, 2011). The technology has a potential to preserve a complete DNA sequence or genomes of an endangered species. Besides that it can also be used to model simulations of population dynamics, work out the cumulative genetic status of a breeding pool as well.

Conclusion

Biology indeed forms a vital part of the human life, the scarce resource that are available are not sufficient for the human nature to depend on hence a dire need for scientific involvement. The advancements in biology have achieved greater steps, such as getting solutions to chronic illnesses that were claiming life earlier to a point when such can be contained. For instance, the recent Ebola virus medicine that was discovered in the United States has made disease curable that which would claim lives of many and make people live in fear. All these indicate a promising future for biology where major revolutionary technology may be invented as a solution to various issues that have not been addressed. Biotechnology, on the other hand, has been strengthened by the recent advances in synthetic biology, bioenergy, DNA computers, bioremediation, bio-nanotechnology, proteomics, bioinformatics, genomics and virtual cell. Therefore biotechnology will in future be very powerful and have a profound part to play in finding solutions to critical global issues like global epidemic, global warming, poverty, and rising petroleum fuel crisis.

Reference

Ahmed, F. (2011). Testing of genetically modified organisms in foods. New York: Food Products Press.

Emery, A. (2011). An introduction to recombinant DNA. Chichester [Sussex: Wiley.

Hillstrom, K. (2012). Genetically modified foods. Detroit: Lucent Books, Gale Cengage Learning.

Jones, P. (2011). The genetic code. New York, NY: Chelsea House.

Soccol, C. (2013). Fermentation processes engineering in the food industry. Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC ;.

Balancing Ecosystems

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