Biotechnology is the science that studies and modifies the biological system in which we are living, mainly using modern technologies now, even if Biotechnology, in one form or another, has flourished since prehistoric times (Fig.1). Some examples are breeding of animals, fruit juices fermentation into wine or malt and hops into beer, milk conversion into cheese or yogurt and production of rised bread (Pamela Peters, 1993). With the observation of the plants, the farmers started to improve crops, for example for their highest yield, or for resistance during periods of drought or disease; subsequently they managed to produce future generations with these same characteristics. Through several years of careful seed selection, farmers could maintain and strengthen such desirable traits. The possibilities for improving plants expanded as a result of Gregor Mendel's investigations in the mid-1860s of hereditary traits in peas. Speaking instead of microbes for health, Buchner in 1897 discovered that enzymes extracted from yeast are effective in converting sugar into alcohol and Alexander Fleming in 1928 discovered penicillin, an antibiotic derived from the mold Penicillium. However, the revolution in understanding the chemical basis of cell function that stemmed from the post-first world war emergence of molecular biology was still to come. It was this exciting phase of bioscience that led to the recent explosive development of biotechnology (Biotechnology Industry Organization, 1989, 1990). Today this science, via the combined use of biochemical, physical and molecular approaches, studies micro-organisms, plants, animals and organic and inorganic materials with the purpose of improving the environment in which we are living. Biotechnologies and its applications have greatly improved during the last thirty years due to the development of fast and new genetics and molecular tools. For example the possibility to insert a foreign gene into the genome of a living organism, Recombinant DNA strategy, trusted scientific research and brought to paramount results. In 1978, in the laboratory of Herbert Boyer at the University of California at San Francisco, for example, a synthetic version of the human insulin gene was constructed and inserted into the genome of the bacterium Escherichia Coli; the same bacterium species used by Jacob and Monod to study the bacterial Lac operon. Since then, the trickle of biotechnological developments has swollen into a broad flow of diagnostic and therapeutic tools, accompanied by ever faster and more powerful DNA sequencing and cloning techniques. Biotechnology is actually involved in several research fields, staring from biomedical applications (i.e., the study of new vaccines or the characterization and the cure of new diseases), agricultural problems (the genetic improvement of plant, e.g., for the resistance to some factors, such as stress, insects and diseases) to end with industrial solutions (e.g. the development of new organisms that can produce improved alimentary products from a nutritional side). These goals can be achieved by adopting some basic techniques, which need to be continuously improved. The topic of this work is the development and the study of a number of the techniques used in genomics and proteomics research to increase the knowledge of molecular pathways and processes present into the cell, which are useful to biotechnology applications.
|Titolo:||Green Biotechnologies: from genomic to proteomic approaches|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||07.13 Doctoral Thesis|