The European Commission has given the green light to the world’s first gene therapy treatment for children and this has been regarded as a landmark moment for the scientific research. The name that has been given to the treatment comes from the name of Strimvelis which treats severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID) disease.
The effects of the disease are so bad that the newborns are left with no shield that can protect them from viruses and bacteria. This matter is somehow closely related to the ‘bubble boy’ disease and is called so because of the young patient from US who lived inside a protective plastic shield. The special part of this treatment is that it has genetic repair techniques that help in curing the disease. Moreover, after running the successful trials, it has been approved for marketing within Europe.
The disease is caused due to the faulty gene being inherited by both the parents. This has the potential of affecting almost 15 patients per year in Europe. Due to this gene, the production of the adenosine deaminase (ADA) protein stops that is needed to produce white blood cells called lymphocytes. Often, the disease proves to be fatal after the child’s first birthday.
The treatment is done usually with a risky bone marrow transplant and with the help of a very expensive enzyme replacement therapy. The stem cells gets removed in the case of Strimvelis, from a patient’s bone marrow and then corrected in a test tube to replace the wrong gene. Further, it is then reintroduced into the body.
Food is a basic and vital substance for people, which offers nutrients and strength for survival. The food processing is a task of making food items from various raw materials by using chemical and physical process. Industrial and household food products are the major platforms of prepared food items. While speaking about microorganisms, they are available in every environmental source such as water, plant, animal body, air, water and soil. Few microorganisms are really involved in both the food processing as well as preservation in industrial and household food production. The household food items are prepared by the individuals for their individual consumption. Some microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria play different roles in the preparation of household food items.
Lactobacillus is well known bacteria involved in the yogurt fromation. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is another kind of yeast used for preparing bread in food processing platform and household. Additionally, microorganisms are used to produce many traditional drinks such as Toddy. Many fermented foods like idly and dosa are produced from the fermented rice with some bacteria. Food engineering is an advanced technique to enhance the quantity and quality of food with microorganism. The food engineering process involves the procedure of updating as well as designing the production process of different food products. By the food engineering technique, the high quality biological products and new food can be prepared utilizing microorganisms. Moreover, microorganisms are highly used to prepare the food items and enhance their quality and taste.
With the increasing population of the world, providing all of them a healthy and nutritious food was a big challenge for the governments. In order to feed them all, it was necessary to increase the production of food crops. In addition to this, it was also required to fortify the crops with the nutrients not present in them naturally so that malnutrition can be eliminated from the world. This aim was achieved by the biotechnology and the technique is named as biofortification.
This method involves addition of the gene responsible for the nutrient synthesis in the crop plants. The classic example where this technique was successfully employed is the development of ‘golden rice’. Rice is generally rich in carbohydrates but does not contain any other major nutrient. So in order to enhance its nutritional level, a gene responsible for vitamin A synthesis was introduced into the plant genome. As a result the rice was fortified with Vitamin A making it more nutritious.
Although biofortification can be achieved by conventional methods such as cross breeding as well as by using the tools of biotechnology, whenever the trait of another species has to be introduced, biotechnology has to come into play as it cannot be achieved by traditional methods.
Other examples of biofortified crops are:
iron-biofortification of rice, beans, sweet potato, cassava and legumes.
zinc-biofortification of wheat, rice, beans, sweet potato and maize.
provitamin A carotenoid-biofortification of sweet potato, maize and cassava.
amino acid and protein-biofortification of sourghum and cassava.