Recombinant Technology Improves Lives

By Icy D’Silva and J. Christopher Hall.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It was not until 20 years after the famous 1953 discovery of the DNA double helix that DNA from one organism could be incorporated into the genetic material of another organism, a technology that has appropriately been termed as recombinant technology. Progression of this technology over the past 35 years has been possible through powerful laboratory and bioinformatics tools. Recombinant technology has advanced the discovery of new drugs, generation of novel therapeutics, development of biomaterials for industrial applications, development of bio-defense capabilities, sequencing of whole genomes, understanding of biological systems, prevention of genetic diseases, development of crops with improved traits, design of transgenic animals with wide-ranging applications, and cloning of entire organisms. The first molecule to be created by recombinant technology was insulin which was a tremendous relief for diabetic patients who were allergic to natural animal insulin. Within months of the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) disease, recombinant technology facilitated the completion of the sequencing of the SARS virus at Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Center, which was a huge step forward in the fight to control the spread of SARS. This theoretical discourse will be a sequel to a recent presentation at the Fifth International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society (Huntsville, Alabama, USA), and will present the many ways by which recombinant technology benefits society and improves lives.

Keywords: Recombinant Technology, Society

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.540MB).

Icy D’Silva

Graduate Student, Department of Food Science,, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Icy D’Silva (A.K.A. Ida Iris Icy D’Silva) earned her Master of Science degree studying “Anti-Lipopolysaccharide Antibody-Mediated Disease Resistance against Pseudomonas aeruginosa O6ad in Tobacco” with Professor J. Christopher Hall as her Mentor and Advisor, from the University of Guelph (Canada) renowned for its excellence in teaching, research and innovation. Icy is presently a Doctor of Philosophy candidate with Professor Yoshinori Mine as Advisor, in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph, and is involved in the study of recombinant molecules towards resistance against egg allergy. Her expertise in biology has been widely chronicled and she has contributed to a number of academic journals, articles and book chapters. Icy enthusiastically participates in innumerable opportunities offered by the University of Guelph. Icy is a University of Guelph-Ontario Agricultural College-Graduate Student Senator, and a University of Guelph-Food Science Department-Graduate Students’ Representative. Icy is equally active in serving the Guelph and Canadian community in particular, as well as the World community at large. Icy is an avid reader and writer.

Prof. J. Christopher Hall

Professor, Canada Research Chair in Recombinant Antibody Technology, Department of Environmental Biology, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Professor J. Christopher Hall is a Faculty member in the Department of Environmental Biology of the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph. Prof. Hall holds the Canada Research Chair in Recombinant Antibody Technology, and is the recipient of a number of awards. Prof. Hall is an alumnus of the University of Guelph (Canada) having earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in the late 1970's and in 1980, respectively. Prof. Hall earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Alberta (Canada) in 1985. Since being a Faculty member in the Department of Environmental Biology, Prof. Hall has established international reputation in the development of recombinant antibodies for a wide variety of molecules, as well as in herbicide physiology/biochemistry.