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Animal Biotechnology-Working Areas

In Animal Biotechnology technology is applied over biological agent of animal origin for human welfare or it includes controlled use of biological agent of animal origin for social benefit. Broadly it's working areas can be divided into two sub categories:

Animal Cell and Tissue Culture

Here we cultivate animal cells and tissues in an artificial growth medium under aseptic environment. These cells and issues are later utilized primarily in the field of health care, Pharma and cosmetic fields in the following ways: 

  • Stem cell Technology and Production of Artificial Tissues: Stem cells are being used to produce artificial tissue, organs, which could help tissue and organ transplantation without rejection. Artificial brain, pancreatic, sperm cell, skin cell has been successfully produced using this technology.

  • Animal cloning: It is to produce complete animal similar to its parent, genetically. Lots of pet animals are being produced in this fashion.

  • Bone Marrow Transplantation: Bone marrow is removed, selected cells amplified, unwanted (Leukemia) cells removed. Sometime selected cells are genetically manipulated and then injected back into the patient (a type of gene therapy) i.e. used to treat reasonably successfully the SCID caused by deficiency in Adenosine deaminase; in future, target is cancer.  

  • Cell Line Development: A cell line consists of clone of single cell, thus all cells in a cell line have same genetic composition, and it is used for Vaccine Production, by culturing virus in it for many generations so that virus gets attenuated, as pathogenic genes get deleted.

  • Hybridoma Technology: Technique to produce antibodies called Monoclonal Antibodies (MABs), which can be used as Vaccine.

  • Reproductive Cloning: Through somatic cell nuclear transfer- Its famous example is Dolly Sheep

  • Therapeutic Cloning: To produce tissues or organ from an individual/fetus. At this moment this is not possible as it’s banned because one has to allow the fetus to develop at least until the organs we want have differentiated. So until developmental biology has developed to be able to make a fertilized egg or stem cell develops into a complete organ, but not develops all the rest of the person, therapeutic cloning is a theoretical idea.

  • Embryo Cloning: (A branch of Embryo Technology related with manipulation of mammalian embryo) - stem cell are harvested from the egg after five days of fertilization (Blastocyst). These cells can be used to serve as replacement cells to treat heart, Alzheimer’s, cancer and other diseases.   

Genetic Engineering/Transformation and Transgenic Animal Production

Alien genes are transferred to animal. Its applications are-

  • Production of Qualitatively and Quantitatively superior animal: through genetic engineering (inserting desired gene (controlling economically important characters) in the animal).

  • Study the Gene Behaviour: Oncomice, a transgenic animal, has breast and lymph cancer gene(oncogene), and it is used for cancer studies.

  • Xenotransplantation: Organ transplantation from animals to human beings, for e.g. Transgenic pigs have been developed having human cell surface protein thus preventing the organ (xenograft) from being rejected.

  • Molecular Pharming & Pharmaceutical proteins or Biopharmaceuticals Production: Transgenic animals express foreign proteins which are harvested for commercial utility. Few examples are-

  • Hormone- Human Insulin being produced in E.coli.

  • Factor IX (Blood coagulating factor) - used for Hemophiliacs is being produced in the milk of Sheep named Polly (PPL Therapeutics from Scotland).

  • Human Antithrombin III (ATIII) - an anti-clotting protein isolated from Transgenic Goat, Can Be used during open-heart surgery

  • Antibody production- Similarly promoter of hen egg protein used for antibody production (by TransXenogen company)

  • Biomaterials Production– Biomaterials are Biomolecules used for the sake of its material properties for other than their natural uses; for e.g. Spider silks protein (spidroins) genes have been successfully cloned in transgenic goats and the expressed proteins are isolated from its milk as biopolymer and spun into fibers.



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