Important Questions for Chapter 12: Biotechnology and its Application

Biotechnology is the use of biology for manufacturing products and technologies for the welfare of humans. It has a wide range of applications in agriculture and medicine. Genetically modified crops and gene therapy are the latest advancements in the field of biotechnology. GM crops are manufactured by incorporating the genes with desired characteristics in a plant. This has helped in the development of disease-free and pest-resistant crops. Thus biotechnology has helped a great deal in manufacturing technologies for sustainable development.

Very Short Answer Type Questions

Q.1. What is GMO? How does it differ from a hybrid?

A.1. GMOs are Genetically Modified Organisms. These are created by inserting the genes from the DNA of a species with desired characteristics into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. A hybrid is produced when the pollen of one plant is used to fertilize some unrelated plant species. Also when the animals of two different species breed, a hybrid is formed. On the contrary, GMOs are created by incorporating the genes with desired characteristics from a plant or animal of one species to the DNA of a different species.

Q.2. What is ELISA?

A.2. ELISA stands for Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay. It is a method in which a target antigen is captured in samples using a specific antibody and a target molecule is detected using an enzyme reaction with a substrate.

Q.3. What is Biopiracy?

A.3. Biopiracy is the commercial exploitation of naturally occurring biochemical or genetic material by obtaining patents that restrict its future use without paying any compensation to the native community.

Q.4. Why shouldn’t the patent on Basmati have gone to an American company?

A.4. The patent on Basmati shouldn’t have gone to an American company for the following reasons:

  • The Basmati rice variety traditionally belongs to India.

  • The patented variety of Basmati was derived from ‘Indian farmer’s variety’.

Q.5. Which is the first transgenic cow? Which gene was inserted into it?

A.5. The first transgenic cow was Rosie. The gene inserted was human alpha-lactalbumin.

Q.6. What is GEAC? What are its main objectives?

A.6. GEAC is Genetic Energy Approval Committee. It is an Indian government organization. Its main objectives are as follows:

  • To examine the validity of genetic modification research.

  • To inspect whether the use of genetically modified crops is safe for public use or not.

Q.7. For which Indian rice variety was patent filed by a USA company?

A.7. Basmati rice.

Q.8. How was insulin obtained before the advent of recombinant DNA technology?

A.8. Before the advent of recombinant DNA technology, insulin was obtained from slaughtered cattle and pigs.

Q.9. What are the disadvantages of GMO?

A.9. The disadvantages of GMO are:

  • These can harm the insects that are beneficial to our ecosystem.

  • It is not a natural way to cultivate plants and hence can damage the environment.

  • It causes unwanted residual effects.

  • These create more weeds.

  • It threatens crop diversity.

  • It increases the cost of cultivation.

  • It imposes a risk for human health.

Q.10. Why was the second amendment of the country’s patent bill cleared by the Indian Parliament?

A.10. The second amendment to the country’s patent bill was cleared to prevent biopiracy by other countries, i.e., unauthorized exploitation of our bio-resources and traditional knowledge by other countries.

Short Answer Type Questions

Q.1. What do you understand by a recombinant vaccine? Give examples.

A.1. A recombinant vaccine is produced by recombinant DNA technology. The DNA encoding an antigen is inserted into the bacterial or mammalian cells to stimulate an immune response, expressing the antigens in these cells and then purifying it from them. For eg., Hepatitis B, a vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus.

Q.2. How is a probe used in molecular diagnostics?

A.2. A probe is a DNA or RNA fragment of variable length which can be labelled by a radioactive molecule. It hybridises to its complementary DNA and can be detected by autoradiography.

Q.3. How can the gene expression be controlled with the help of RNA?

A.3. The gene expression can be controlled by RNA interference. It is the process in which the activity of the gene is inhibited by the production of sense and antisense strands.

  • Double-stranded RNA would be produced.

  • It is cut into short fragments called short interference RNA.

  • A silencing complex called RISC incorporates the  siRNA.

  • RISC cleaves mRNA with complementary base sequence and makes it silent.

  • This is known as mRNA silencing.

Q.4. Explain the principle involved in ELISA.

A.4. In ELISA, the antigen-antibody interactions always use an enzyme labelled antigen or antibody. The enzyme activity is measured with the help of a calorimeter using a substrate that changes colour when modified by the enzyme. After the substrate addition, the light is absorbed by the product formed and is represented in the numeric values.

Q.5. Who was given the first gene therapy? Why does this treatment reoccur in nature?
A.5. The first gene therapy was given to a four-year-old girl, on 14th September 1990, at the NIH Clinical Centre. She was suffering from a genetic disorder Adenosine Deaminase deficiency. The treatment is recurrent in nature because the genetically engineered lymphocytes used in the therapy are mortal and need to be administered periodically in the patient.

Read More: Genetic Disorders

Q.6. How is a foreign DNA introduced in a host maintained by a host and transferred to the successive generations?

A.6. Foreign gene is ligated to a plasmid vector and then incorporated into a host. The plasmid divides and makes several copies of itself along with the foreign gene. As the host organism divides, its progeny also receives the foreign gene.

Q.7. What are antigens and antibodies? Name any two diagnostic kits based on that.

A.7. An antigen is a foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body. An antibody is a large Y-shaped protein produced by the plasma cells that neutralize the effect of pathogens such as bacteria and viruses on the immune system. The two diagnostic kits based on this are:

  • ELISA for HIV
  • Pregnancy test kits

Q.8. Why is the line of treatment for a genetic disease different from that of an infectious disease?

A.8. Infectious diseases can be cured by certain medications that can kill the pathogens responsible for the disease. On the other hand, genetic diseases cannot be cured by any medication. Only the signs and symptoms of the disease can be taken care of. It can only be treated by replacing the faulty genes with the non-faulty genes.

Q.9. Enlist any four areas where genetic modifications of plants had been useful.

A.9. The genetic modifications of plants are useful in the following areas:

  • It helps the plants to tolerate the abiotic stresses.

  • It reduces the use of chemical pesticides.

  • It reduces post-harvest losses.

  • It increases the nutritional value of food.

Q.10. Is BT-cotton resistant to all pests other than lepidopteron, dipterans, and coleopterans?

A.10. Bt cotton contains genes against lepidopteron, dipterans, and coleopterans. But, these genes are not effective against all types of pests that attack Bt-cotton.

Long Answer Type Questions

Q.1. How can a person suffering from Adenosine Deaminase deficiency be cured?

A.1. ADA deficiency can be cured by gene therapy. It can be done either by bone marrow transplantation or by enzyme replacement therapy in which functional ADA is injected into the patient. However, these approaches are recurrent in nature. This is because the genetically engineered lymphocytes used in the therapy are mortal and the enzyme needs to be administered in the patient periodically.

Q.2. What are transgenic animals? Enlist any four areas where they can be used.

A.2. Transgenic animals are those whose genetic material has been altered by a gene of interest using genetic engineering techniques. Four areas where they can be used are:

  • Transgenic animals are served as experimental models for the study of various human diseases.

  • They are used to test vaccines such as polio vaccines.

  • The gene expressions help scientists to understand the normal expression of genes at various stages of growth and development.

  • They are used to study the side effects of a particular chemical or drug.

Q.3. Explain five areas where biotechnology has influenced human lives.

A.3. Biotechnology has influenced human lives as follows:

  • Genetically modified crops with high nutritive value are provided by biotechnology.

  • It has helped in the production of recombinant vaccines.

  • It has devised techniques such as gene therapy for the treatment of genetic diseases.

  • Genetically engineered microbes are produced to control environmental pollution.

  • Transgenic animals are developed that can produce human proteins.

Q.4. What are the advantages of recombinant insulin?

A.4. The advantages of recombinant insulin are:

  • No animals are slaughtered for its production.

  • It did not cause any allergies in the patients.

  • It is cost-effective.

Q.5. What are the drawbacks of the insulin obtained from the slaughtered cows and pigs?

A.5. The drawbacks of insulin obtained from slaughtered animals are as follows:

  • Since insulin is produced in very small amounts in the body, therefore, a large number of animals are slaughtered which is unethical.

  • If the slaughtered animals are infected, the insulin will also be contaminated which in turn will infect the acceptor.

  • The humans might have a potential immune response against the administered insulin derived from animals.

For more information on Biotechnology Applications and other Biology related topics, explore BYJU’S website for further reference.

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Practise This Question

Regarding assertion and reason, select the correct option

Assertion [A]: Phenylketonuria or PKU is a disease that can affect both females and males

Reason [R]: The individual should be homozygous recessive to get PKU