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Applications of Recombinant DNA Technology in MedicineBY: Amna Adnan | Category: Genetics | Submitted: 2010-08-18 19:30:51
Article Summary: "Recombinant DNA technology is an important technique of biotech because it can be applied in medicine, agriculture and genetics. Many diseases can be treated with this technology and new hormones can also be produced..."
Recombinant DNA technology is the technique of genetic engineering in which recombinant DNA is prepared by cutting the DNA into small fragments and joining different fragments together taken from different organisms. This technique makes it possible to take any gene from any specie and place this gene in any other organism or specie. It is similar to cloning because when the foreign gene is incorporated in an organism like bacteria then multiple copies are made through cloning to use the gene in different applications.
Applications in Medicine:-
Recombinant DNA technology had made it possible to treat different diseases by inserting new genes in place of damaged and diseased genes in the human body. It has brought many revolutionary changes in the field of medicine and introduced such methods of treating diseases and delivering the drug which were just imaginary.
Insulin is a hormone mage up of protein. It is secreted in the pancreas by some cells called as islet cells. This hormone is responsible for controlling the glucose level in humans. If a person has decreased amount of insulin in his body, he will suffer from a disease called diabetes. Recombinant DNA technology has allowed the scientists to develop human insulin by using the bacteria as a host cell and it is also available in the market. It is believed that the drugs produced through microbes are safer than the drugs produced traditionally.
Vaccine is a biological substance which is prepared to from the suspension of weak or dead pathogenic cells. It is injected in the body to enhance the production of antibodies against particular antigen. Recombinant DNA technology enables the scientists to develop vaccines by cloning the gene used for protective antigen protein. Viral vaccines are most commonly developed through this technology for example, Herpes, Influenza, Hepatitis and Foot and Mouth Disease.
Human Growth Hormones:-
Human growth hormone is a polypeptide hormone. It is responsible for growth, reproduction of the cells and regeneration in humans as well as animals. It is secreted by somatotroph cells present in the pituitary glands. In recent years, scientists have developed many growth hormones using recombinant DNA technology. The disease of dwarfism is treated with this hormone.
When a foreign object enters the body, immune system of the body releases a specific protein called as antibody. Hybridoma technology has made it possible to produce monoclonal antibodies. In this technique, the lymphocytes or B cells are joined with myeloma cells; the resulting substance is called as Hybridoma. This Hybridoma produces unlimited antibodies in the culture. The antibody produced is called as monoclonal antibody. These antibodies are used to produce vaccines against different viral infections.
A glycoprotein which has the ability to block the multiplication or division of viruses in the cells or in the nearby cells is called as interferon. Interferon can be used to treat cancer like hairy cell leukemia. Recombinant DNA technology produces this protein using E. coli. Interferon alpha is used to treat lymphoma and myelogenous leukemia.
Antibiotics are the chemical substances which are used against bacterial infections. They can be produced by microorganisms as well as in the laboratory. They have the ability to destroy bacteria or other harmful microbes which cause infections in the body. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin for the first time in 1928 using recombinant DNA technology. Other biotechnological techniques are also being used to produce antibiotics.
Many diseases are diagnosed by conducting certain tests. Recombinant DNA technology has allowed the development of many tests which are being used to diagnose diseases like TB and cancer. Other diseases like measles, small pox and hepatitis are also diagnosed through tests and if they are not diagnosed properly, they can be a threat to human health. In the diagnosis process, certain pathogens are isolated and identified, and then diagnostic kits are produced when the genome of the specific pathogen is known to kill it or block its pathogenic activity.
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