chapter  1
28 Pages

The Frontiers of Biotechnology

WithSarfaraz K. Niazi

Man has done well utilizing other life forms to his own advantage. From the taming of the cattle to making recombinant therapeutic proteins using yeast, the history of man interacting with nature is full of great and exciting surprises, genius exploitation, and pursuit of solutions to problems of mankind in nature. The first wave of this interaction began very early when man fermented food articles to make bread, wine, cheese, and yogurt long before he had any knowledge of the invisible, microbial world. The thesis that technology does not necessarily depend on science is well proven here. The next wave arrived when man learned the scientific basis of the biological world and began manufacturing drugs and other essential components from biological tissues; the discovery of penicillin opened the way for this research. Antibiotics were then routinely manufactured by the process of fermentation. The third wave of technologic and scientific breakthrough came in the late 1970s and 1980s when the new technology related to cell culture, fusion, bioprocessing, and genetic engineering took roots in the industry. Today, prokaryotes, eukaryotes algae, glycophytes, and halophytes are all likely to contribute to products of the future. The techniques of DNA manipulation, monoclonal antibody preparation, tissue culture, protoplast fusion, protein engineering, immobilized enzymes, cell catalysis, antisense DNA, and so forth are the leading technology helping mankind find solutions to his problems, what began with a glass of brewed grape juice that made man feel good.