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Understanding Biotechnology

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Understanding Biotechnology


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  • Broad coverage of biotechnology techniques—Includes careful introductions to cloning, gene therapy, pharmacogenomics, molecular markers, forensic DNA, bioremediation and biodiversity, and more
    • Gives students a single reliable source for up-to-date information on every significant area of biotechnology.

  • Thorough and objective—Carefully covers each biotechnology technique, its safety implications, and the ethical issues surrounding it.
    • Helps students go beyond the biased, superficial, emotional, or self-interested discussions of biotechnology often found in the media.

  • For both specialists and non-specialists—Requires only a basic genetic and biological background, but is accurate and thorough enough for students pursuing further study in biology and genetics.
    • Helps students understand biotechnology regardless of their backgrounds or plans for further study.

  • Risks of bioterrorism—Presents an objective assessment of the risks of bioterrorism and how they can be mitigated.
    • Helps students intelligently assess one of the most important—and most frightening—public policy issues of our era.

  • Full chapter on bioinformatics—Introduces the fundamental techniques of bioinformatics and their uses in biotechnological research.
    • Gives students insight into the powerfully important role now played by computers in biotechnology—exposing them to an exciting field of study many may wish to pursue.

  • The politics of biotechnology patents—Helps students understand all sides of the controversial biotechnology patents issue.
    • Helps students understand the debates over biotechnology patents and participate reasonably in those debates.

  • Detailed glossary—Includes a complete, easy-to-understand biotechnology glossary.
    • Gives students fast access to definitions of terms they will encounter in the book, and in their outside reading and research.


  • Copyright 2003
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Pages: 240
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-101011-5
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-101011-6

An objective, thorough, and accessible introduction to biotechnology.

Biotechnology will have an increasingly profound impact on human health, agriculture, the environment, and society itself. Understanding Biotechnology offers an introduction to biotechnology that is balanced, accurate, current, thorough, and accessible to both non-specialists and professionals.

The authors begin with a brief history of biotechnology and an introduction to the underlying principles of genetic engineering. Next, they review every key area of biotechnology research, thoroughly addressing both technical practice and implications—including biosafety and ethical issues.

Understanding Biotechnology presents careful and complete introductions to cloning, gene therapy, pharmacogenomics, molecular markers, forensic DNA, bioremediation, and biodiversity, as well as a full chapter on the risks of bioterrorism. It also includes an extensive glossary and detailed references for further study.

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Table of Contents



 1. History: From Biology to Biotechnology.

 2. Genetic Engineering.

 3. Transformation.

 4. Biotechnological Products.

 5. Biosafety.

 6. Cloning.

 7. Gene therapy.

 8. Pharmacogenomics.

 9. Molecular Markers.

10. DNA Forensic.

11. Bioremediation.

12. Biotechnology and Biodiversity.

13. Bioinformatics.

14. Bioterrorism.

15. Patents.

16. Bioethics.





Looking back on the last few years, it is difficult to imagine life without biotechnology.Biotechnology is everywhere you look, from food in the grocery store, to routine medical treatmentsin the hospital. February 12, 2001 became an important date in human history. Beginning on thatdate, anyone with access to the Internet could look at a new atlas that contains the entire humangenome. Biotechnology is transforming everything we know, believe, expect, and practice in modernsociety.

Did you know that IBM's largest current project, called Blue Gene, is devoted to genomesequencing and involves a machine that can perform 1 quadrillion calculations per second? Or thatSun Microsystems' largest project is deciphering a protein? Or that Monsanto and Pioneer/DuPontsell almost 80 percent of the world's seed corn? Or that 100 whole animals have already beenpatented? Biotechnology is expanding well beyond the walls of the laboratory. Its influence hasreached the stock market and provided jobs for millions worldwide.

Researchers at a Worcester, Massachusetts, biotechnology company, Advanced Cell Technology, succeeded in creating the world'sfirst cloned human embryos. This and other controversial applications of biotechnology have createdmany questions and few answers. Geneticists, ethicists, and theologians working together need toreach a balanced view on many highly controversial topics ranging from embryonic stem cell researchto ownership of genes.

Biotechnology is part of human life, from big cities to small farmcommunities. This is especially evident in the agricultural industry. The global area of transgeniccrops planted in 2001 was 130 million acres, representing 5.5 million farmers worldwide. This ispart of a growing trend that has seen the area planted with transgenic crops increase 19 percentfrom 2000 to 2001. This indicates a clear need for all to become informed about this growing areaof science.

Understanding Biotechnology addresses the background and applications of biotechnologyin the many aspects of today's society. We include essential details important for a scientificbook, while maintaining an understandable level for most readers. As with highly polarized topicssuch as biotechnology, balanced arguments are difficult to find and evaluate. UnderstandingBiotechnology offers readers an opportunity to understand this revolutionary science and the issuessurrounding its role in today's society, allowing you to develop informed opinions aboutbiotechnology.


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