Biotech/Biomedical: Most Popular Articles
A list of common products of enzyme biotechnology that are used every day in and around the home, such as paper products, detergents, textiles and foods and beverages. These household items are the result of commercialization of natural and recombinant enzymes produced by genetic protein engineering.
An explanation of what enzymes are, their basic structure, and how they function in cellular processes.
A list of agricultural applications for biotechnology research.
Genes make us who we are and small variations in genes do more than just define our difference in physical appearance. They determine our unique physiology, influence our social, personality, and intellectual attributes, make us more susceptible or resistant to particular diseases, and determine our responsiveness to treatment. Personalized medicine attempts tailor an individual’s health care and treatment based on their unique genetics.
Six simple steps to make sodium citrate buffer for RNA isolation or antigen detection.
Follow these instructions on how to make phosphate buffers for biological applications at near neutral pH, or adapt them for making any other buffer using a weak acid / conjugate base pair.
A definition of specific activity as it applies to proteins and enzyme catalyzed biochemical reactions.
Simple instructions on making stock and working solutions of Tris-acetate-EDTA (TAE) buffer for gel electrophoresis.
Is there a difference between small interfering RNA (siRNA) and micro RNA (miRNA)?
A description of the types of enzymes used in the dairy industry and their role in the production of cheese, yogurt and other food products.
Methods of protein purification for biotechnology laboratory applications.
GMOs are making news nearly every day and issues surrounding their safety are a source of ongoing debate in the food and biotechnology industry. Read about what GMOs are and why they are a source of bioethical controversy.
An explanation of a special class of enzymes known as the restriction endonucleases.
Advocates for genetic engineering of crops used for food point to benefits such as providing better and more nutritious, potentially solving world hunger by increasing crop yields, fortifying foods to ensure the poor are getting proper nutrition. However, genetically modified (GM) foods have been available since the mid-nineties. Has their adoption really impacted world hunger? What's really driving the rapid adoption of GM food and is it part of the answer to feed a hunger world?
Simple instructions on how to make stock and working solutions of tris-borate-EDTA (TBE) buffer for gel electrophoresis separation of DNA.
Essential laboratory procedures for genetic engineering. Molecular genetics techniques commonly used in biotechnology research that enable gene cloning.
A discussion of the pros and cons in the ethical debate over embryonic stem cell research and biomedical research using other types of stem cells. Page 2.
Although genetically modified (GM) food has been on supermarket shelves for almost 15 years, there is still extensive controversy about whether it is safe. Anti-GM group continue to sound the alarm regarding its potential risks dangerous. Why is there such controversy about GM food and crops and is there still a reason to be concerned about its safety? Take a look at this article to get an overview of what is driving this discussion.
Tris is a chemical with basic properties, having a pKa of 8.1. It can be used to buffer solutions from drastic pH changes, keeping them in the pH range of 7.0 to 9.0. Make any Tris-HCl buffer in this pH range, at any molarity using these simple steps.
A definition for enzyme hydrolysis, to explain what kind of biochemical reaction hydrolases catalyze and how that is useful to biotechnology applications.
Learn the basic theory behind the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR technique for making multiple copies of a gene from a sample of DNA.
A brief explanation of what proteins are, their composition and the many roles they play in cellular processes.
Links to websites listing current and upcoming drug trials and how to become a participating subject. In addition, some sites contain new drug approval news, information on drug interactions, and clinical research job listings.
Looks at the details of the two regions with the highest density of biotech companies and most people working in biotech—the San Francisco Bay and Boston, Massachusetts regions. How do these two regions compare in terms of the types of biotech companies, size of biotech communities, and amount of biotech investment?
Different DNA sequencing methods described.
Recently a drug was identified that can stop brain degeneration in mice with prion disease. The results have big implications for the treatment of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Why? (Posted: October 14, 2013)
Federal SBIR grants can provide much needed seed funding for small biotech start-up businesses. What is the SBIR/STTR program, what types of projects are funded, how much can you get, and who's eligible? Michael Weingarten, the Director of the NCI SBIR program presented all the specifics at a recent conference. (Published: July 31, 2013)
Find out what a SUSAR is and what the list of the qualifiers are for filing a SUSAR during a clinical drug trial.
Do GMOs Cause Allergies? After 15 years of GMOs in food, there's been no cases so why it is still a concern?
What is siRNA, or small interfering RNA and how is it used as a molecular genetics research tool in the process called RNA interference?
Transcription factors are important molecules, usually proteins, involved in controlling gene expression by RNA polymerase. In eukaryotic cells they bind to promoter regions on the DNA.
The high demand for legal professionals with science and technology backgrounds is explained and career expectations for individuals studying science and law are discussed.
What was medicine like during the time of the Founding Fathers? Did you know many people infected themselves with smallpox on purpose? Thomas Jefferson was sure a lot of medicine during his time was not based on sound principles. He was right.
A simple explanation of how titer is determined, during bioproduct production in the biomedical industry, for antibodies, other proteins and other biological substances.
The genetic term polymorphism refers to the discovery that there may be several variations in gene sequence for a specific protein.
A broad definition of fermentation in both general and more scientific terms.
There are several different stains that can be used to visualize DNA. The following list explains the choices of stains, and the differences between them.
Learn the basic theory behind the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique for making multiple copies of a gene from a DNA sample. Page 2.
Tomatoes genetically engineered to produce anthocyanins may be better for you than regular tomatoes
PBS is a commonly used buffer for immunohistochemical (IHC) staining, used as a wash solution and for diluting antibodies.
Five reasons the microorganism E. coli is so widely used in protein engineering and genetic research.
An increased understanding of disease, escalating healthcare costs and informed patient groups are having a transformative impact on the development and approvals of new therapeutics. What do pharmaceutical and biotech companies need to do to account for these changes to maximize the success of their drug development programs? This summary of a panel discussion at the Biotech Showcase on the Changing Dynamics of the Drug Development Ecosystem provides some insight. (Posted: Jan 22, 2014)
An explanation for what polymers are and their monomer composition. A definition including descriptions of different types of natural (carbohydrate, protein) and synthetic (plastics) polymers.
Twenty years after Dolly the cloned sheep, researchers in Oregon have finally cloned a human embryo. How long have people been working on cloning? Actually, cloning research goes back more than 100 years. Find out about the work leading up to human cloning. (Published: May 21, 2013)
RT-PCR can mean one of two things in biotechnology. Here's one of the definitions.
Five examples of early biotechnological practices that were in place long before the term
This article provides a summary or overview of biotechnology or biotech with a description of the start of biotechnology, development of commercial biotechnology, and an overview of the biotech industry. It includes brief summaries of the methods that comprise biotechnology and genetic engineering, biotechnology companies, the medical biotech and agricultural biotechnology industry segments, what a biotech start-up is, GMOs, transgenic organisms, and the connection between biotechnology and drug development.
Adjustments to any of the components of a PCR reaction can alter the quality of the outcome, either improving or diminishing the product yield and quality, or reaction specificity and sensitivity. Parameters that influence the end result can be either physical (i.e. temperature, cycle times) or chemical (i.e. nucleotide or template concentration, type of polymerase enzyme used). The following are several key factors that influence the success of PCR.
If you want to understand the basic procedure for genetically engineering plants and animals, take a look at this article.
A list of classes of these microscopic particle of matter,from fullerenes to nanorods, used in nanomedical research and other biotechnological applications.
A simple blood test of a pregnant woman can now identify fetal genetic abnormalities that can produce conditions such as Down's Syndrome. How was this approach developed and who are the companies involved in developing the technology?
Experiments with chromosomal material that were primarily responsible for the establishment of DNA as the component that encodes for the structures of proteins.
Use of DNA microinjection techniques for gene transfer and creation of transgenic animals.
Bioremediation is explained as a branch of environmental biotechnology in which contaminated soil, air and water are treated.
How nanotechnology is being applied to nanomedicine and the treatment of diseases such as cancer.
A definition of the molecular technique known as PCR and its usefulness in various biotechnology applications, forensic science and environmental research.
The emerging trend of DIY biotechnology has some worried and others excited. However, it is just a natural extension of maturing life science research. More and more, individuals are trying to put our ever advancing knowledge and capabilities to design and manipulate living organisms to use in solving everyday problems. Who are these biohackers, what are they working on, and how do they support their efforts? (Posted: Nov. 27, 2013)
Follow these simple steps for running an agarose gel to separate and visualize different size DNA strands.
Starting with the launch of the Flavr Savr Tomato, the first genetically modified organism (GMO) approved for sale as food in the mid-1990s, food containing GMOs has become a significant part of the stock in US, Canadian, and Asian grocery stores. About 70% of US processed food sold contains genetically modified (GM) crops. A revolution in food science and production has been taking place over the past two decades. How did we get here?
A definition of lyophilization as it applies to the preservation and storage of microbial cell cultures.
Explanation of the term DNA fingerprinting and a brief description of the methodology.
A discussion of the ethical and practical issues surrounding the use of animal organs for human transplants (xenotransplantation). Page 2.
A list of the roles that biotech venture investors play in the development of early- and mid-stage startups. The benefits, and some of the shortfalls, to obtaining venture capital funding for R&D and to promote the growth of a company, are outlined.
Have some genetically modified crops have been genetically engineered to express insecticide? Yes. Some GMOs express a protein from a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that kills insects. Is this a reason to be concerned about eating these GM-crops? Not really. Read why there is little reason to be concerned about Bt-GMOs. (Posted: Dec. 30, 2013)
Vectors are tools for gene transfer during cloning.
Acid may not be able to turn normal cells in to stem cells. Irregularities surfacing about the recent study claiming it could suggest the data is unreliable.
Why are GMOs talked about and thought of as a category? Genetic modification refers to how the strain of plants were made, not what they are. GMOs really have no distinct characteristics as a class yet there are constant debates about whether they are safe, if they should be cultivated, why they should be labeled. It's about time to drop the myth that all GMOs are somehow similar. (Posted: Dec 4, 2013)
A definition for titer as it applies to the biomedical industry and production of antibodies, proteins, antibiotics and other bioproducts.
A quick discussion on what IPSCs are and how they are used in stem cell research, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.
Some common pH indicators with near neutral pka values, and pH ranges making them suitable for use in colorimetric bioassays.
An introduction to bioindicators and how they are used in the biotechnology industry to detect physiological responses to cellular stressors.
A descriptive definition of ligands and the role they play in biotechnology, particularly in relation to enzyme functions and the catalysis of biochemical reactions.
An outline suggesting five funding sources for financing a new startup Biotech company.
Care for both your romantic and physical heart on Valentine's Day
The lysosome receptor SORLA protein identifies and eliminates misfolded beta-amyloids associated with Alzheimer's plaque formation
Have you heard of the new genetic engineering tool that generating lots of excitement? Since the discovery of their ability to target and cut DNA, CRISPRs have become the latest rage for genomic researchers. Find out what all the excitement is about. (Posted: Sept 30, 2013)
The high cost of drug development. Why does it cost so much to develop new medicines?
Many of the changes in food biotechnology have meant indisputable improvements to our safety and health, while others are more controversial.
The rate of discovery in biomedical research is accelerating. However, the slow trickle of increasing complex results through the peer review publications make it difficult for healthcare professions to access this information to inform patient decisions. Is there a better way to communicate the latest scientific findings? Published: February 28, 2013.
A description of the molecular technique known as RFLP and brief explanation of the theory behind the methodology.
Groups concerned about the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) often cite concerns about the dangers of unknown allergies from engineered food sources. How significant is this concern? Is it hype or a real danger? (Published: Dec 19, 2013)
Four approaches to optimizing an enzyme process for commercial production, ranging from natural selection to fine-tuned molecular-level genetic manipulations.
Gene therapy offers real promise for curing genetic disorders and treating a wider range diseases. How are new functional genes are put into a patients cells? This article describes the main viral DNA vectors used to make the genetic changes required for gene therapy.
Quick step by step instructions for preservation of bacterial, fungal or yeast cell cultures, by freeze drying (lyophilization).
Definition of biotechnology and a description of the various aspects of the biotech industry.
The term bioethics defined. Biotech / Biomedical.
Retroviruses are a special type of RNA virus, that replicate their genome by reverse transcription of their RNA to form DNA which is then incorporated into the genome and transcribed by the host cells which the virus inhabits.
Recent discoveries are bringing the goal of a universal flu vaccine closer to reality. Researchers have found antibodies that target multiple flu strains and have confirmed that a universal vaccine should work well even for people that have had previous flu shots. Will a universal flu vaccine eliminate the flu in a few years? Get a sense of where recent developments are going in this article.
A definition of the term thermophilic, as it applies to biotechnology research and industrial applications using microorganisms and their enzymes from extreme environments.
A SWOT analysis is a business tool for strategic planning.
Investing in biotechnology can be a risky business. The following list outlines some suggested criteria to consider when choosing which biotech stocks to buy.
As the first gene therapy approaches are nearing FDA approval, it is important to make the distinction between somatic cell and germ line genetic manipulation. Although therapies on sperm and egg cells have tremendous potential, they would require a much more thorough understanding than our current science possesses. Will germ line gene therapy ever be an option?
Transcription is the first step in gene expression, resulting in the formation of RNA and, ultimately protein synthesis.
What were the biggest and most exciting happening in biotechnology and biomedicine over the past year? Check out these six developments that shook up bioscience and biomedical research.
An explanation for what pipelines are as they apply to new drug development in the biotechnology industry and how they are used to describe the research and development progress of biotech companies.
What is DNA and what does it do?
Transformation refers to changes in the genetic makeup of a normal cell either through insertion of foreign DNA into a chromosome, or by an alteration that causes tumor cell-like behavior.
Carbon nanotubes and buckyballs belong to a class of carbon-based nanoparticles known as the fullerenes.
Texas-based Celltex Therapeutics flees to Mexico to avoid entanglement with FDA over its adult stem cell therapy treatments.
Genes don't act alone as classical genetics suggests. Most traits are produced by genetic interactions and the effect of gene mutations depends on the gene network present. This combinatorial aspect of genetics makes sorting out the genetics of cancer and other disorders a difficult task. (Posted: May 31, 2013)
A list of required contents for a properly maintained laboratory notebook, containing records of research activities in a biotech laboratory.
Genes define our individual traits, predispositions, and characteristics, but how much do they actually reveal? What insight about yourself does having your DNA analyzed provide? Science has started to make inroads toward understanding the implication of different genetic variations between individuals but how useful is this information when applied to a single person’s DNA?
An explanation for xenotransplantation and the bioethical issues surrounding the use of animal organs and tissues for human transplants.
Platform, Product and Vertical strategies make up three major biotechnology business models.
Active ingredients refers to the chemical makeup of drugs.
There are different types of buffers you can use for agarose gel electrophoresis. Here's how to decide which one to use.
Pointers on how to invest in biotech with things to consider before investing in biotech companies or buying biotechnology stocks.
What are the key biomedical developments expected in 2014? What new discoveries are anticipated, or new disease treatments that might pan out? Will the 2013 biotech boom continue? Check out these 6 key stories expected to dominate 2014 biotech news. (Published: January 14, 2014)
How difficult is it to make a new organism from scratch? It is routine now to synthesize whole genes, so why not whole genomes to make completely new organisms. Synthetic biology attempts to emphasize the engineering aspect of genetic engineering to design and produce biologically engineered solutions to pressing global problems. How feasible is this? (Posted: Nov 5, 2013)
The EY 2013 report on the biotech industry was released at the BIO 2013 Conference. The study shows that, while the sector saw record profits this past year, there are a couple worrying trends. (Posted: April 25, 2013)
Developments in stem cell research and in vitro techniques for reproduction have led us to the theory that sometime in the near future, wanna-be parents will be able to create designer babies with the specific traits they desire.
A case study on the Danish bioproducts company, Novozymes, a global leader in enzyme technology, and producer of recombinant enzymes for industrial uses such as detergents, animal feed and biofuel production. The former leader in insulin production is renowned for its focus on environmental and social sustainability.
An explanation for IP as it relates to the biotechnology industry.
A definition of the term epigenetics, and how epigenetic marks in eukaryotes control transcription. Also discussed are the relationships between studies of how gene expression is regulated, stem cell research, and cloning.
Biotechnology research would not be where it is today without each one of these significant "firsts".
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Three strains of drought resistant corn are current making their way to farmer’s fields. Two of the strains, from Syngenta and Pioneer, were developed using advanced genetic breeding approaches, whereas Monsanto’s corn was developed using genetic engineering. While both approaches were somewhat successful, it is clear these are the first generation of these plant hybrids. It is likely that further improvements could be made using each approach or a combination of the two.
Every biotech startup should begin with a thorough business plan to guide the achievement of milestones and obtaining research funding by satisfying potential venture and angel investors, granting agencies and loan institutions. Check this planning outline for a list of items to include in your business plan.
Virtual companies are formed using a business model that takes advantage of the availability of suitable contract organizations for outsourcing all aspects of the biotechnology business.
Practical items to consider before agreeing to lease a laboratory space for your new startup biotech company.
Researchers find hormone that increase body's metabolism in response to exercise.
What's ahead for biotech in 2014?
Descriptions for six different types of phytoremediation.
An explanation of how smart polymers are specially designed stimulus-responsive macromolecules with an unlimited number of potential applications in biotechnology.
A list of the top biotechnology hubs in North America. Each cluster is an active site of R&D, job and investment opportunities in the life sciences or agricultural biotech.
Blastocyst definition and a description of how embryos at this stage of development are used in stem cell research.
Orphan Drug Status is given to certain drugs undergoing development in the pharmaceutical industry. Find out what Orphan Drug Status is and what incentives are available to biotech companies obtaining this designation from the US FDA.
Stem cell research and regenerative medicine is a controversial bioethical issue in the biomedical field. Find out why doctors and scientists are excited about the future of stem cells and medicine.
Before approaching a biotech Venture Capitalist for research funding, familiarize yourself with the criteria commonly looked for in startup companies. Compliance with these priorities will increase your chances of attracting investors.
An explanation of what zoning is, and how it affects commercial land use.
In less than 15 years, BGI has grown from a small research institute in Beijing China to the largest DNA sequence provider in the world. How did this Chinese company, now based in Shenzhen, become a DNA sequencing powerhouse, and what does its future look like? (Published: Sept 18, 2013)
For several hundred to several thousand dollars, you can go online and order a service kit to have your DNA analyzed. How does this work? What do these companies provide and what do you have to do? This article explains direct to consumer genetic analysis.
Researchers are continuously working on new approaches to treat all the various manifestations of cancer. Guest writer Zach Fisher gives a rundown of some recent advances that are providing hope for new and more effective treatments of breast, lung, and gastrointestinal cancers. (Posted March 30, 2013)
As DNA sequencing costs are coming down to the point where this technology can transition from basic research to a routine medical use, there is a lot of discussion how this new in depth information genetic will really affect health care. A couple new studies demonstrate how this technology could be practically used to improve health care of individuals in the next few years.
In 1990, a project was initiated to determine the entire sequence of DNA making up the human genome. The human genome project involved participants from laboratories worldwide and resulted in significant advances in DNA screening and sequencing technologies, in addition to the discovery of thousands of new genes.
You read about advances in biotechnology every day in the newspaper, and hear about it on TV, but sometimes
Advances in biomedical research are coming faster than ever but drug development is sputtering. What's the problem? Researchers understand more about the causes of disease than ever before and personalized medicine is finally becoming a reality. However, pharma companies continue to only release a few new drugs a year. Why is there a disconnect? (Posted: Oct 30, 2013)
A description of the possible and current uses for smart polymers in the biotechnology industry. Types of stimulus responsive polymers and nanoparticles are explained and their potential for use in biomedicine is discussed.
An outline of what nanoparticles are, how they are applied in biotechnology and safety issues surrounding their use.
Many biotechnology startups get research funding by going public, via an IPO. If you want to invest in biotech stocks, one route is to take advantage of initial public offerings of startup shares.
The second step in the protein synthesis process, wherein the genetic code of the transcribed mRNA sequence is translated by ribosomes into a polypeptide sequence.
The role of plasmids as vectors for gene transfer.
An explanation of the viral infection Hepatitis C including causes and symptoms of the disease.
Liposomes are phospholipid bilayers that have formed a closed vesicle. Polymeric micelles are a type of nanoparticle that can be used for drug delivery.
Once used for simple encapsulation of cells or drugs, in homogeneous materials, todays hydrogels are more complex smart polymers with different types of ligands and cross-links allowing for highly regulated structures and different bioresponsive functionalities. What makes hydrogels such a great choice for development of therapeutic devices?
A definition for the term extremophile.
Only about 30 new drugs are approved each year. How are these new drugs identified? From where do companies find the chemicals, antibodies, peptides and other molecules that they test and try to get approved? Also, why is it so expensive to develop new drugs? Discover how new medicines are found. (Posted: Jan 31, 2014)
Can a parent's life experience affect the genetic traits they pass onto their children? While gene sequences don't change with life experience, epigenetic mark-ups that specific gene expression patterns do, and these changes are sometime heritable.
The heart has been a symbol of love and desire since ancient times. Take a few minutes on Valentine's Day to tend to both the romantic and physical needs of this critical organ that sustains us.
A definition for therapeutic cloning with an explanation of how stem cell research might be used to cure various diseases and repair damaged cells, tissues and organs.