Skip main navigation

Introduction to Biotechnology Techniques and Tools

Hello, dear fellow student. This is Dr. Lee again. For part two of the biotechnology mini-series.
Today we are going to talk about part two: principles, techniques, and tools And the reference materials are taken from these three textbooks. What is the foundation of biotechnology? Biotechnology is literally supported by every disparate science including the very basic biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics.
To the biomedical sciences: pharmacology, biochemistry, microbiology, and immunology. To the interdisciplinary sciences of biostatistics, bioinformatics and biopharmaceuticals. Today we are going to talk about techniques and tools in biotechnology. Since this mini-series is designed as a part of a pharmacy curriculum, I’m gonna focus on those techniques and tools that are related to pharmaceutical sciences and to pharmacy practice including recombinant DNA, monoclonal antibody, genetic engineering, Polymerase Chain reaction, chimerization, glycosylation, pegylation, peptide technology, and last but not least bioinformatics. Startup with recombinant DNA technology. In 1973, Cohen and Boyer developed the cut and paste genetic engineering technique and that began the new era of recombinant DNA technology.
So recombinant DNA technology refers to any of the various techniques for separating and recombining segment of DNA or genes. It’s not referring to any single technology. For example, let’s see here we have molecule A of DNA, and molecule B of DNA, we digest them with the same restriction endonuclease enzyme. So we cut open the DNA structure and we glue them together with and seal with DNA ligase. Then we have a new product and that’s a new recombinant DNA product. So restriction enzyme literally is a biological scissors that cut open the DNA structure or the nucleotide. And for example, endonuclease is a restriction enzyme that breaks phosphate or phosphodiester bonds. Different people in different practice areas use slightly different terminology.
For example, cutting a gene from one organism and pasted into the DNA of another that’s called gene splicing. In essence, it’s still a cut-and-paste recombinant DNA technology. Let’s look at one example of gene splicing. Here we have a toxin gene from soil bacteria. We remove the gene with the enzyme and we insert it into the chromosome of the corn or cotton. Then the cotton and the corn become insect resistant. Another example, in 1997, Monsanto successfully developed transgenic corn. And how was it done? It was done by removing a cry toxin gene from a soil bacteria and inserted into the chromosome of the yellow corn. Now the yellow corns are protected from insect damage or the corn borer.
Of course, Monsanto made a ton of money out of the transgenic corn seed.

Welcome to week 2. This week, we are going to talk about biotechnology principles, techniques and tools. The dawn of modern biotechnology started with two crucial technologies: genetic engineering and chemical engineering. Working in combination, the technologies change the chemistry of the genetic material such that when they are introduced into the host, the host phenotype changes. Several commonly used biotechnological tools are introduced herein, exclusive of CRISPR, a gene-editing technology. Students are encouraged to explore it further.

Biotechnology uses knowledge from a variety of disciplines such as molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, microbiology, chemical engineering and digital computing. Techniques and tools introduced herein include, recombinant DNA, gene splicing, monoclonal antibody, chimerization, polymerase chain reaction, glycosylation, pegylation, and last but not the least, bioinformatics. Of the techniques and the tools summarized, r-DNA, gene splicing and plant bioengineering were illustrated in some detail.

Reading reference:

  • Allen LV, Popovich NG, Ansel HC Ansel’s Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms and Drug Delivery Systems. 9th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; 2010. ISBN: 0-7817-4612-4 (Chap 19)
  • Crommelin, DJA, Sindelar, RD, Meibohm, B. Pharmaceutical Biotechnology: Fundamentals and Applications, 3rd Ed. Informa Healthcare, 2007. ISBN 9781420044379 (Chap 1, 4, 5, 6, 22)
  • Firdos Alam Khan. Biotechnology Fundamentals, CRC Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4398-2009-4
  • Chap 5, Crommelin, DJA, Sindelar, RD, Meibohm, B. Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, 3rd Ed; Informa Healthcare, 2007

These are textbooks that related to this course throughout 6 weeks. If you have a chance to look at them, you will be able to find the content we have talked about. Skipping them will not interfere with your understanding on this course.

This article is from the free online

Pharmacotherapy: Understanding Biotechnology Products

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education