I. Finding genes

A.    Human genome Project

  1. Just announced the entire human genome has now been sequenced

   a. we know the genetic code making up all 23 chromosomes

   b. we can identify genes in that sequence

         - genes code for proteins (primarily) that do most of the work in chemical reactions

   c. will be able to connect "protein coding regions" with specific functions much easier

      - could already do this, but now it will be much easier, faster

   d. entire genome actually not sequenced yet, but close enough to claim victory

II. Using biotechnology

A. Forensics

      1. Can generate a DNA "Fingerprint" of each individual person

         a. many sources of DNA

-        hair

-        semen

-        blood

            - skin cells

         a. Place people at crime scene

-        First in late 1980s - Oregon man raped daughter, tested man/fetus

-        Caught one murderer, had blood from victims dog on jacket although not of victim

-        15 people on death row subsequently acquitted because of recent use of DNA

         b. identify unrecognizable remains

         c. test parentage/relatedness

            - Thomas Jefferson had children with his slave Sally hemmings

         d. wildlife forensics lab in Oregon

           - catch poachers

            - whale story


B. Cloning

      1. making an identical genetic copy

a.      Most cloning involves cloning of piece of DNA or cloning of cells

      2. Reproductive Cloning

         b. Dolly the sheep, first mammal cloned in 1997

            - took DNA out of egg cell

            - fused with Udder dell containing complete DNA

            - fusion process stimulated proteins to begin developmental process

         c. Polly - second sheep cloned after Dolly

- During cloning inserted human gene into cells

- Previously scientists thought it would take 5 -10 years to go from Dolly to Polly

-        Now have ability to produce exact clones that produce specific human products


C. Pharming

1.     Transgenic animals

  1. animals that have had Human (or other species) genes inserted into genome
  2. will produce human gene products (proteins)

2.     Transgenic goats

a.      Grace - naturally produces anti-cancer drug delivery molecules in milk

b.     New goat - produces anti-clotting drug in milk

c.      Genzyme

-        company makes drug to treat Gaucher's disease

-        predicts its $10 million facility could be replaced by 12 transgenic goats

-        Old Grace is worth millions $$

3.     Transgenic calf

a. Rosie - produces milk with essential amino acids for premature infants

4.     Transgenic pigs

a. produce human hemaglobin

5.     Transgenic organ donors

  1. Transgenic animals for organ transplantation into humans

-        already in human trials

-        use pig livers to keep patients alive until they can receive human liver

-        use external pumping to liver

-        each special pig liver value at $18,000.

  1. 100,000 people die each year waiting for donor organ.

6.     Super Aids mouse

  1. Looking for suitable animal model to research HIV virus
  2. Had success in instituting human viral genome into mice
  3. Some mice in subsequent generations carried HIV virus – could be studied
  4. Cautionary Report

-        could escape and mate with feral mice – new reservoir for human virus

-        could recombine with other mouse viruses, reproduce faster, or become more virulent

      e. Saftey measures – create bleach safety moat inside Level IV saety room (highest bio-security

            - but what if??

7. Transgenic Plants

      a. Insert anti-herbicide genes into crops

         - helps with pest control

         - recently anti-herbicide gene "jumped" into weed

      b. Insert genes that produce insecticide into crops

         - some endangered insects being dramatically effected by new insecticide plants

III. Genetic Screening

A.    4000 genetic diseases currently known

  1. attempting to identify genes responsible
  2. produce "DNA Chip"

a.      contains thousands of pieces of DNA on silicone chip

b.     quick screen of individuals' existing and potential illness

  1. Commercial market huge

B.    Pre-IVF Screening - chloe 

  1. Screen IVF eggs from carrier parents of cystic fibrosis
  2. tested embryos for CF

- only implanted non-CF embryo

IV. Patenting of  Genes

A.    1971 - first patent application for microorganism engineered to consume oil spills

  1. Rejected
  2. 1980 - U.S. Supreme Court overturned an appeal

a.      "life is not of legal significance" only whether it was human-made invention

B.    1987 - patents trademarks office

  1. "all genetically engineered multi-cellular organisms are potentially patentable"
  2. does a chimp count as human invention if we insert a single gene into it?
  3. How about human?

a.      Humans excluded because of constitutional amendment on slavery

C.    Scottish research team applied for patent on Dolly

  1. To give ownership of all cloved animals using their method
  2. Patent application included even human clones

D.     happening fast and furious regarding bacterial strains and plants.

  1. what if I get a wild plant and grow it up?
  2. Maybe it was a patent plant gone loose - am I in trouble?
  3. patents necessary if companies are spending more than $50 million for R&D and testing

E.     Amgen paid $20 million for rights to "fat gene"

F.     Cavelli- Sfouza Project

  1. who owns "new" genes found?

G.    Gene Prospecting

  1. asthma island (1/2 people have asthma)

H.    Alaskan businessman had rare cancer

  1. His spleen produces rare anti-cancer agents
  2. spleen cells patented by UCLA researchers and licensed to Biotech Firm
  3. cells estimated a $3 billion worth
  4. California Supreme Court ruled against businessman

I.       Biocyte

  1. Obtained European Patent on all umbilical cord blood cells
  2. Biocyte retains commercial control over this part of body in Europe

J.      J. Craig Venter

  1. Previous head of NIH Human genome mapping team
  2. Resigned to join private company ($70 million capital)
  3. Began trying to patent more than 2000 human brain genes found while genome mapping

K.    BRCA 1

  1. breast cancer gene common in families with history of breast cancer
  2. Myriad  tried to patent gene
  3. coalition of 100s of women’s organizations from forty countries protested
  4. company would controlwomen’s lives by virtue of controlling heritable trait
  5. Company says that without patent protection private industry would not invest resources in solving the problem.

V. Animal Husbandry

  1. Genetically engineered pigs, grow fast, brought to market 7 weeks earlier - Australia
  2. Genetically engineered sheep grow wool 30% faster - Australia
  3. Genetically engineered Turkeys - Univ. of Wisconsin

a.      eliminate mothering gene - block gene in prolactin hormone pathway

b.     brooding instinct dissappears

c.      get increase in production of eggs, hens don't waste time brooding clutch

IV. Marine Biotechnology

A. Fisheries

1.     inserts anti-freeze gene from flounder into bass and trout

2.     human growth hormone gene to get bigger/heavier fish faster

3.     Gene for sterile salmon

  1. won't return to spawn and die, remain in sea to be caught for dinner

4.     1 out of 5 fish in market today come from fish farms

V. Drug producing Bacteria

A.    Insert human drug producing gene into Bacteria

  1. extract drug product from giants vats of bacteria
  2. Much, Much cheaper

B.    been around for years

  1. insulin
  2. blood clot dispersers
  3. therapies for MS
  4. Cystic Fibrosis - common model for drug productions

C.    Now have inserts of human chromosome into mice chromosomes 14 and 22

  1. was passed successfully to offspring - 50-100% of genes not just 1 or 2

VI. Tissue Engineering

A.    Artificial skin

  1. grown in the lab
  2. recently used on boy in San Diego - burned 60% of body -

a.      grew new skin tissue for replacement - made from foreskin

B.     component/organ fabrication

  1. research ongoing for fabricating heart valves, breasts, ears, noses
  2. use biodegradable plastic to make scaffold for which tissue cells grow
  3. boy in Boston has non-functioning bladder

a.      1997 grew bladder in a jar

b.     transplanted into boy

  1. By 2020 95% of human body parts replaceable by lab-grown organs

a.      even the "ungrowable" nerve cells have been grown in 1998

VII Algeny -  Designer Babies

A.    Pre-select sex of child

B.    potential to add "cosmetic genes"

  1. growth hormone
  2. blue eyes, not yet

C.    Artificial chromosome transplant

  1. blend of both natural and synthetic DNA
  2. would be able to directly edit genes and plug in like cassettes

VIII. Genetic Basis of Human Behavior

A.    screen for psych disorders

  1. addictions
  2. aggressiveness/violence
  3. sexuality

IX. Gene Therapy

A.    injecting good copy to compensate for defective genes

  1. use viruses
  2. molecular guns

B.    many uses

  1. combat cancer
  2. regulate cells
  3. add missing genes

a.      e.g. PKU can now process amino acid

X. Age Genes

A.    Examples from nematodes and drosphila

B.    have identified genes that act as inhibitors

  1. can repress genes and increase life expectancy two-fold - mile-

C.    telomerase can increase life expectancy

1. prevents damage/loss at telomeres

XII. Artificial Wombs

A.    grow fetus outside mother

  1. 10-50 years away
  2. use for mothers with fertility issues

B.    John Slack of UK applied to be able to grow headless human bodies as source of organs

1. rejected at this stage

More Information:

The Biotech Century by Jeremy Rifkin published by Tarcher/Putnam