Tag

Medical Biotechnology

Browsing

Biotechnology 

Biotechnology is a wide discipline that harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies that help in improving the health and lives of the people.”

Structure of DNA

In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick put forward their double-helix model of DNA, which is composed of two strands of nucleotides coiled around each other, linked together by hydrogen bonds and running in opposite directions. Each strand is composed of four complementary nucleotides – adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T) – with an A on one strand always paired with T on the other, and C always paired with G.

DNA Sequencing

DNA sequencing is the mechanism to determine the sequence of nucleic acids that are the basic units of DNA molecules. DNA sequencing provides info about how nucleotide bases are arranged in a fragment of DNA. Each individual and organism has a specific nucleotide base sequence so everyone has a different DNA sequence. This sequence tells scientists the kind of genetic information that is carried in a particular DNA segment and helps in different aspects of the welfare of humankind.

Importance of DNA sequencing in biotechnology 

In Agricultural Biotechnology 

In the agriculture industries, the identification of GMO species can be possible with the help of DNA sequencing methods. Any minor variations or mutations in the plant genome can be detected with the help of DNA sequencing. This will help in the identification of different diseases in plants and helps to make pathogen-free plants.

In Animal Biotechnology 

  • Genomic sequencing of domestic animals helps in understanding the evolutionary relationships between species. Only because of sequencing researchers have found that two-thirds of human genes known to be involved in cancer have counterparts in the fruit fly.
  • Comparative genomics provides a powerful tool for studying evolutionary changes among organisms, as well as genes that give each organism its unique characteristics. By comparing the sequences of genomes of different organisms, researchers can understand what, at the molecular level, distinguishes different life forms from each other. 
  • Because of the sequencing of animal genome scientists are now able to make genetically modified animals or clones of domestic animals for getting desired products and for the welfare of mankind.

In Medical Biotechnology

  • The use of biotechnology in medicine is revolutionizing the diagnosis of diseases caused by genetic factors. It involves the use of sequencing to find more efficient ways of maintaining human health and it also helps in the study of DNA to identify the causes of genetic disorders and methods to cure them. New tests can detect changes in the DNA sequence of genes associated with the disease. 
  • Gene sequencing also helps in the development of gene therapy, a type of treatment designed to replace defective genes in certain genetic disorders. It has provided a means to design drugs that can target specific genes that cause disease.
  • It also opened up a path to more personalized medicine, enabling scientists to examine the extent to which a patient’s response to a drug is determined by their genetic profile. The genetic profile of a patient’s tumor, for example, can now be used to work out what is the most effective treatment for an individual.

In Forensic Biotechnology

  • Forensic science is the application of scientific knowledge and methodology to criminal investigations and legal problems. Biotechnology is used by forensic scientists to collect or process trace evidence such as hair, skin, blood, or semen samples, which are found at crime scenes. 
  • An important aspect of modern forensics is the use of DNA profiling, or genetic fingerprinting. Forensic DNA profiles consist of size measurements which are interpreted as the number of repeat units at short tandem repeat (STR) markers. These new tests will allow forensic scientists to sequence STR markers, potentially resulting in an increased ability to differentiate individuals in complex mixtures.

In Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

  • This field has great potential for future medical advances through the study of the human genome as well as the genomes of infectious organisms. Analysis of microbial genomes has contributed to the development of new antibiotics, diagnostic tools, vaccines, medical treatments, and environmental cleanup techniques.
  • DNA sequencing has an important role in pharmacogenomics. Pharmacogenomics looks at how a person’s individual genome variations affect their response to a drug. Such data is being used to determine which drug gives the best outcome in particular patients.

In Microbial Biotechnology

Microbial genome analysis relies strictly on DNA sequencing technology. Knowledge of DNA polymorphisms improves the understanding of microbial genetic specificity. The microbial genome shows various sequence differences or polymorphisms. Microbial DNA polymorphisms are the basis for explaining the specificity of phenotypes, evolution, and taxonomy.

In COVID19 Pandemic

  • The highly contagious novel coronavirus, COVID-19, though originating in China, has now reached almost every country in the world. It has spread rapidly across countries endangering millions of lives. Almost every individual is directly or indirectly affected by this pandemic. 
  • With the help of the gene sequencing method, researchers identified the complete genome sequence of covid19. Coronaviruses possess the largest genomes of all RNA viruses, consisting of about 29,926-nucleotide, polyadenylated RNA, with a G+C content of 32%, the lowest among all known coronaviruses with the available genome sequence. 
  • As a result of their unique mechanism of viral replication, coronaviruses have a high frequency of recombination. Biotechnology has helped scientists to understand its origins and evolution and learn how and where it is spreading. 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to biotechnologists across the world to take this challenge head-on. The biotech industry, including pharmaceutical companies, research organizations are developing vaccines and targeted drug therapies to combat the novel virus. 
  • Next-generation sequencing methods can help enhance diagnostic testing accuracy as well. Because most of the testing developed for COVID-19 looks for one portion of the gene sequence that causes the virus if that one sequence mutates the test is no longer accurate.

Conclusion

Knowledge of the sequence of a DNA segment has many uses. The arrangement of nucleotides in DNA determined the sequence of amino acids in proteins, which in turn helped determine the function of a protein. It helps in basic biological research, in numerous applied fields such as medical diagnosis, biotechnology, forensic biology, virology, and biological systematics. Comparing healthy and mutated DNA sequences can diagnose different diseases including various cancers, characterize antibody repertoire, and can be used to guide patient treatment.

Biotech Industrial Training in Advance Genetic Engineering, Skill Development Training Program in Medical Biotechnology

 

Submitted By
Name –    Rupali Khandelwal 
Class  –    M.Sc. Microbiology Sem 1st
College –  Dr. B. Lal Institute of Biotechnology

The editing of genes alters a living cell’s genetic material (DNA or RNA). In order to add, delete, or replace individual genetic bases and sequences, it utilizes a variety of different methods and techniques. In medicine, the gene editing process has facilitated the study of diseases in detail, helping clinicians and researchers to understand their root causes. 

The most significant aspect of gene editing is this emphasis on causes as well as on treatment. Although gene editing has been used mainly as a medical biotechnology, it also has exciting applications in many other areas, including agriculture and biofuels, where it can produce more disease-resistant strains of crops or algae. 

As it impacts the building blocks of life, gene editing is a controversial technology, sometimes raising public concerns. However, its growing usage cannot be overlooked and, if potential negative impacts are to be handled, knowledge of its applications is important. Enzymes, particularly nucleases that have been engineered to target a specific DNA sequence, are used to edit genes, where they introduce cuts into the DNA strands, allowing existing DNA to be extracted and replacement DNA added. 

To do this, scientists use various technologies. Such techniques behave like scissors, cutting the DNA at a particular location. Then the DNA where it was cut can be extracted, inserted, or substituted by scientists. In the late 1900s, the first technologies for genome editing were established. More recently, DNA editing has been made simpler than ever by a modern genome editing technique named CRISPR, invented in 2009.

Correcting Genetic Mistakes to Invention of Gene Therapy:

In the genetic discovery period of the mid-20th century, researchers discovered that the sequence of bases in DNA is transmitted from parent to offspring. Recognition of the latter led to the inescapable conjecture that the means to fix those errors would come with the discovery of “molecular errors” that cause genetic diseases and thus allow disease prevention or reversal. 

The underlying concept behind gene therapy was the notion which was used in molecular genetics as a holy grail from the 1980s. However, it has proven difficult to establish gene editing technology for gene therapy. Many early developments focused not on resolving genetic errors in the DNA, but rather on trying to minimize their effect by supplying a functional copy of the mutated gene, either incorporated into the genome or retained as an additional chromosomal unit (outside the genome).

Process:

Genome editing is a procedure where the genetic code of an organism is modified. Researchers use enzymes to ‘cut’ DNA to create a double-strand break (DSB). Non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) or homology-directed repair occurs via DSB repair (HDR). NHEJ creates random gene knockout mutations, while HDR uses extra DNA to construct a desired sequence within the genome (gene knock-in). 

There are four Gene Editing Techniques: Tools to Change the Genome:

Sr.No. Techniques Principle
1 Restriction Enzymes: the native Gene editor  In the 1970s, with the discovery of restriction enzymes, the ability to edit genes became a reality. Restriction enzymes identify and cut unique nucleotide sequence patterns at that site, providing a chance to inject new DNA material at that location.
2 Zinc Finger Nucleases (ZFNs): Increasing  identification ZFNs consist of two parts: an engineered nuclease (Fokl) fused to the DNA-binding domains of the zinc finger. A 3-base pair site on DNA is identified by the zinc-finger DNA-binding domain and can be merged to identify longer sequences.
3 TALENs Gene Editing:

Potentiality within single nucleotide

Transcription activator-like nucleases of effectors (TALENs) are similar to ZFNs structurally. Both methods use the Fokl nuclease to cut DNA and involve functioning dimerization, but the DNA binding domains vary. TALENs, tandem arrays of 33-35 amino acid repeats, use transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs).
4 CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing: The game changer CRISPR consists of a guide RNA and a Cas9 nuclease and is a two-component system. Within the ~20 nucleotide region identified by the guide RNA, the Cas9 nuclease cuts the DNA. Knocking out particular genes in cell lines to interrogate gene activity is one of CRISPR’s most commonly used applications.

 

Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Gene editing has the ability for many of the SDGs to be advanced. Some examples of areas of application across a wide range of sectors are given below. 

SD Goals Applications
2. Zero hunger Develop the ability of crops to thrive in areas constrained by capital. 

Manage in a humane and ethical way the stock and productivity of livestock.

3. Good health and wellbeing Instead of treating symptoms, which is the current emphasis of most medical medicine, cure or stop diseases. Within the larger trend towards providing genomic medicine, studying the genetic make-up of a person will determine whether a patient will respond well to a drug treatment and allow targeted treatments that reduce unpleasant or harmful side effects.  
6. Clean Water and Sanitation Dissimal and removal by gene editing tools and systems biology of the persistent xenobiotic portion from water have emerged as the outstanding alternative. To overcome the difficulties in the field of bio-remediation of recalcitrant substances from the environment, several bioremediation approaches are present.
7. Affordable and clean energy Develop new sources of energy by allowing organisms to generate biofuels more effectively, such as bio ethanol. This would help minimize reliance on energy sources that are not renewable or detrimental to the environment, such as fossil fuels.
13. Climate action To enhance the use of photosynthesis, gene editing plants may become even more effective in trapping and sequestering carbon from the air.

 

Conclusion:

Advances in genome editing methods have opened new doors to what genome editing can do to solve medicine, agriculture, and beyond problems. CRISPR has fully revolutionized what genome editing, by growing the pace and scope of research, will mean for our future. In its role in drug development, diagnostics, and gene drives, we are already feeling the impact of CRISPR, just to name a few. At this pace, don’t be shocked if in the near future you see more discussion about genome editing. 

Soft skills have always been rated on the first priority of an employer, be it any kind of industry. Soft skills generally focus on the interpersonal skills of an individual but these days employers are more focusing on the term “Cultural Skills” and they found a huge gap in the preparedness of the upcoming workforce.

Cultural Skills focus on working in a group or team setting, demonstrating leadership qualities and recognizing an individual’s role in the organization. Research shows that companies coming for recruitment specifically looking for this kind of soft skills in the new recruitments. Recruiters mention that they can find skillful candidates but they are looking for a “Cultural –Fit” – someone who can seamlessly transition into the company and work with fellow colleagues.

A Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization that supports science and biotechnology education, released its 2018 Job Trends Forecast for the Life Science Industry in Massachusetts, presented at the Life Science Workforce 2018 Conference, hosted at Northeastern University’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC). The report highlighted another year of growth in the biotechnology sector, predicting approximately 12,000 new biotech jobs by 2023. But, interestingly, the conference also highlighted a large gap in the preparedness of the workforce – a lack of “cultural training” among new applicants.  (Education, 2019).

Biotechnology jobs require a lot of hard skills just to get into a specific job. Whether it is scientific skills, research skills, technological skills – these skills are always a prerequisite. But apart from that, there are certain skills which are required essentially if someone is looking for some advancement.

Soft skills are such skills that cannot be taught rather they need to be learned gradually and these skills help to make all the difference down the road. Everyone knows this fact, yet ignores it and later realizes that it is true somewhere down in their career. Following are a few soft skills which an individual needs to focus on further advancements:

  • Find the edge of your comfort
  • Turn theory into practice, practice into performance
  • Review the tapes
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Collaboration
  • Diversity of thought
  • Complex problem solving
  • Time management
  • Communication

Soft skills are really the skills that deal with people. Don’t forget that it’s people that run industries.

History is witness to the fact that since time immemorable, a huge importance has been attributed to the system of Guru shishya school of thought in our great nation. From noble kings to mere mortals, a Guru has paved the righteous and successful way for many a pupil. In continuation of the pious social and ethical practices of historic India, the glory of academics in Dr. B.Lal Institute of Biotechnology has increased tremendously with the advent of Guru Shishya Parampara (GSP) – a trend that highlights individual focus and attention given to each student by the faculty of the Institute. In this system, the GSP incharge holds together the sanctity and dedication of the student towards academics and cultural activity. The teacher makes sure that the personal problems of the students are overcome by counseling, attendance is regular, the student is understanding all subjects and feedback is taken from them.

This system creates a bond of respect tethering students and teachers and unlocks skills amidst students who bask in the aura of encouragement and support. Training is imparted to students in various colleges but GSP activity makes Dr. B. Lal Institute of Biotechnology incomparable. This institute has set the highest standards of teaching and student guidance. The teachers are constantly committed to the betterment of the students. The students get comfortable in sharing their problems with their teachers and guidance of the right kind is imparted to them.

In its illustrious journey of ten years, Dr. B. Lal Institute of Biotechnology has paved the way for countless students towards success and spiritual enrichment in life. The positive vibrations that resonate the institute, emanate. in part, from GSP. The construction of creative minds is a task to which every teacher of the institute is committed to. The guru shishya parampara has created a milestone in the development of students in all spheres of life.


The advent of biotechnology is prominent. Gone are the winds of insipid excitement and permanent are the forces of renovation that contain historic achievements. The use of microbes that have inhabited the earth for millions of years, for bioremedial techniques illustrates the fact that natural history paves a way for present development. Bioremediation of toxic metals from groundwater is an advantage that biotechnology has provided for human health. Arsenic is a toxic metal that can be removed from water by arsenic oxidizing bacteria. The bacteria are used for oxidation of Arsenite As(III) to As(V), that can be easily separated from the water. Many heterotrophic bacteria oxidize As(III)  to detoxify their immediate environment. On the contrary, some bacteria behave as agents that use As(III) as electron donors. Various molecular markers have been identified to recognize bacteria with potential arsenic oxidizing activity such as 16s rRNA, aioA, arsB and others. By oxidizing the more toxic Arsenic As (III) to less toxic As(V) and concomitantly gaining energy, such bacteria have an appreciable ecological advantage over their counterparts. The As oxidase gene has been characterized by bacteria. A study has confirmed that the As oxidase gene is a very ancient gene. In certain ways, Arra and As oxidase have been found to be similar.

Classical technologies are efficient in removal of  As(V) but not As(III). There are also cost intensive. Here Biotechnology counters the problem. Biocolumn reactors with immobilised bacterial cells have been used. A novel cost effective biocomposite- granules of cement coated with cysts of certain cyanobacteria has been studied The composite has been proven to remove 96% arsenic. Many such biocolumns or devices have been made that harness the ability of bacteria to remove As(III) and As(V). The efficiency of these has been very high. Thus techniques of biotechnology have been effectively used to clean drinking water from arsenic. Similar approaches have been taken for remediation of other toxic metals like cadmium, excessive Iron and others. Biotechnology is critically involved in the maintenance of human health.

Environmental Biotechnology is a dynamic branch of Biotechnology that deals with the improvement of the environment and microbes that remediate the problems of the environment.  This important branch of biotechnology harnesses the power of microbes to sequester toxic chemicals from contaminated sites. This field is a combination of biology and engineering.

In modern times, rapid industrial growth has led to drastic increase in pollution; Pollutants have been added to our environment in gigantic proportions by human activities. To ameliorate this problem, Environmental biotechnology is a potent tool. This field is known to include techniques like development of plants for filtration of pollutants in air, soil and water, synthesis of biofuel and optimization of sustainable process.

The benefits of environmental biotechnology have been observed in the production of biofuel from the Jatropha plant. Moreover, cotton waste has also been used to generate ethanol via fermentation. Such fuels are required very much for human activities as conventional fuels are limited in amount. Bioremediation is another critically important field that used recombinant microorganisms to clear contaminated land sites of toxic metals like cadmium, arsenic, etc. The use of earthworms for treatment of wastewater, called vermifiltration, has been effectively used.

In government organisations, jobs are aplenty for qualified personnel of Environmental Biotechnology. Their work is contributory in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, town planning offices, sewage treatment plants, etc.  Thus a plethora of societal and economic applications of environmental biotechnology are to be made in the current time and in the future.


Listen to the expert Dr. Sonika Saxena, Vice Principal, Dr. B. Lal Institute of Biotechnology, Jaipur below!

Biotechnology has created an unprecedented threat in the progression of agricultural, environmental, food and dairy technology. However, the role played by biotechnology in the medical field and healthcare has been immense, unbeatable and unparalleled.

This subject – Biotechnology is a synonym for the prosperity of human health and medical care. Thus, it is a boon for the medical industry.

Medical Biotechnology (MBT) deals with healthcare and pharmacy sectors, infusing these fields with tremendous humanitarian implications. This is because a small discovery made by any medical biotechnologist can save millions of lives on Earth.

As the global economy is scaling new heights, the requirement of qualified and skilled biotechnology researchers is increasing with time.

India is counted among the top 12 biotechnology destinations in the world and the third largest in the Asia Pacific region.

Biotechnology, a vast field, is culturing ton healthcare and treatment through techniques that result in rapid and accurate diagnosis of diseases with the utilization of techniques like Polymerase Chain Reaction, ELISA, Indirect Immunofluorescence and Recombinant DNA Technology; the investigation of human diseases has reached a gargantuan level.

Apart from these techniques, gene cloning in Biotechnology has made possible, the mutated or disrupted gene in the damaged cell. This procedure is referred to as Gene Therapy.

Those students, who have the technical expertise and thorough acclimatization towards handling equipment, can opt for a great career in Medical Biotechnology.

To become competent and successful professionals in this field, students can choose to study B.Sc in Biotechnology. For this course, 12th examination with biology/ maths/ agriculture is essential.

On completion of this highly potent academic course, students can further study M.Sc in Medical Biotechnology or pursue Ph.D to become illustrious medical scientists in future.

Qualified graduates can complete M.Sc in Medical Biotechnology and work in research institutes all over the world as Research Associate or Research Scientists.

They can also become medical professionals in clinical settings, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies.

According to National Human Genome Research Institute’s report, by the year 2025, the trend of personalized medical treatment will start, in which an individual would obtain medical treatment based on his or her genetic makeup.

Definitely, one can say that the future is bright because of the Biotechnology and there is going to be a huge requirement of qualified medical biotechnologists to secure the healthy future of mankind and nature.


Listen to the expert Dr. Sonika Saxena, Vice Principal, Dr. B. Lal Institute of Biotechnology, Jaipur below!