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Chapter: Basic Concept of Biotechnology - Medical Biotechnology

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History of Medical Biotechnology

Biotechnology has been applied in the medical science for hundreds of years with mankind’s revelation that diseases can be cured from living organisms by using their products.

History

Biotechnology has been applied in the medical science for hundreds of years with mankind’s revelation that diseases can be cured from living organisms by using their products. The earliest known use of antibiotics can be traced back to 2500 years ago, when the mouldy curds made from soybeans were used by ancient Chinese to fight infection.

Louis Pasteur is considered one of the pioneers in the improvement of modern antibiotics. In 1870s, he discovered that saprophytic bacillus can check the growth of anthrax bacteria (Bacillusanthracis). Alexander Fleming discovered penicillinin in 1928.

In 1973, the medical age of biotechnology was started by Herb Boyer and Stanley Cohen when they could develop a technique ofintroducing DNA into an E. coli bacterium and created a transgenic bacterium. Later this recombinant DNA technology was used to successfully introduce the human insulin gene into E. coli. The genetically engineered E. coli was able to synthesize human insulin. Based upon Boyer and Cohen's recombinant DNA technique, Werner Aber, Daniel Nathans and Hamilton Smith discovered restriction endonuclease enzymes and received Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1978.


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