Division of Biotechnology
Biotechnologists explore and develop new technologies in molecular biology, molecular genetics, embryo manipulation, and cell and tissue culture. Technologies based on biotechnology in the veterinary offer enormous potential for the production of vaccines, antibodies, biotechnology drugs (recombinant biopharmaceuticals) and in vitro diagnostic test kits that are used for the prevention, treatment, or diagnosis of infectious diseases in animals, including domestic livestock, poultry, pets, wildlife, and fish. Furthermore, the development of molecular biology has opened up huge possibilities in diagnostic techniques which are fast becoming widespread in veterinary diagnostic laboratories.
Single DNA sequences provide a high degree of specificity in the diagnosis and control of pathogenic microorganism species and subspecies, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques permit extremely high specificity levels. Not only have molecular methods increased the sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic methods, they have also significantly reduced the subjectivity inherent in the interpretation of morphological and biological data.
Biotechnology can be used for the preparation of so-called marker vaccines for determining whether the immunity of immunized animals is disease or vaccine-induced. It has also been used to produce toxin antigens and immunomodulatory agents. Diagnostic tests of biotechnological origin help in finding disease-causing agents in animals and to precise monitoring of disease control programs to the level of sub-species, strain, etc. When epidemic diseases strike animal populations it is important to track their origin for effective disease control. This is possible by using techniques of molecular epidemiology such as nucleotide sequencing.
Technological developments in genomics and proteomics areas are also beginning to impact significantly upon the early stages of drug development. Recombinant DNA technologies have entered drug discovery and all fields in the development and manufacture of therapeutic proteins and nucleotides.
- Dr. Masoumeh Firouz-Amandi