THE IMPACT OF MODERN BIOTECHNOLOGY ON THE FUTURE HUMAN WELL-BEING by Kuang Dong Wuu Introduction The elucidation of DNA double helical structure in 1953 by Watson and Crick opened up the revolutionary era of molecular biology. A tremendous progress has been made in the field of biological sciences in the past 50 years. At the same time, somatic cell culture, in vitro fertilization, nuclear transplantation, and the establishment of embryonic stem cell lines are all flourished during this period This lecture will outline the most important breakthroughs in biotechnology at both molecular and cellular levels and their possible mpacts on future human well-being. Four key molecular technologies 1.Recombinant DNA After the discovery of restriction endonuclease by H.Smith and D.Nathans in 1970,scientists are able to transfer a gene or a fragment of DNA from one species to another,e.g.,a human insulin gene to a bacterial plasmid .this is called genetic engineering and a powerful tool in biotechnology. 2.Amplification of recombinant DNA molecules in cloning vectors The gene or DNA sequence of interest is inserted into a specially chosen cloning vector.Most of the commonly used cloning vectors have been derived from viral chromosomes or plasmids. 3.Amplification of DNAS by the polymerase chain reaction The polymerase chain reaction ，usually referred to as PCR，is an extremely powerful procedure that allows the amplification of a selected sequence in a genome a millionfold or more .PCR can be used to clone a given DNA sequence in vitro ，without the use of living cells during the cloning process. 4.Transgenic plant and animals Transgenic animals ：By microinjection of DNA into fertilized eggs. Transgenic plants ：By using the Ti plasmid of Agrobacterium tumefaciens as Vector. Application of genetic engineering 1.Genomic studies of various organisms Genomic is the subdivision of genetics devoted to the mapping ，sequencing and Functional analysis of genomes. The genomics was divided into structural genomics---the study of genome structure---and functional genomics---the study of genome function . New array hybridization and gene chip technologies allow researchers to monitor the expression of entire genomes---all the genes in an organism---at varies stages of growth and development or in response to environmental changes. 2.Diagnosis，prevention and therapy of human inherited diseases The mutant genes responsible for several inherited human diseases can be Accurately diagnosed by screening genomic DNA for the genetic defect . The Results of these tests provide information that allow genetic counselors to inform Families of the risk of an affected child . Gene therapy involves the addition of a normal copy of a gene to the genome of an Individual who carries defective copies of the gene . Physicians are currently testing The effectiveness of somatic gene therapy in the treatment of patients with Adenosine deaminase-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency disease. 3.Paternity test and forensic application DNA fingerprints detect and record polymorphisms in the genomes of individuals . DNA prints provide strong evidence of individual identity ，evidence that may be Extremely valuable in paternity and forensic cases . 4.Production of eukaryotic proteins in bacteria Valuable proteins that could be isolated from eukaryotes in small amounts and at Great expanse can now be produced in large quantities in genetically engineered Bacteria . Proteins such as human insulin and human growth hormone are valuable Pharmaceuticals used to treat diabetes and pituitary dwarfism，respectively . Other Proteins have important industrial applications . 5.Gene vaccine Genes that produce viral proteins or bacterial proteins can be inserted into plasmid DNA . By subcutaneous injection of the recombinant plasmid into human body ，the Viral or bacterial genes are expressed which can induce the human immune Response. 6.The applications of transgenic plants Synthetic, modified or other foreign genes can now be introduced into most plants. The resulting transgenic plants provide valuable systems in which to study the function of the individual genes. Many transgenic crops, such as soybean, cotton,wheat, etc., are extremely important their commercial value. 7.The applications of transgenic animals Transgenic mice are produced routinely in laboratories throughout the world. They provide valuable tools for the study of gene expression in mammals and an excellent model system with which to test various gene-transfer vectors and methodologies for possible use in humans. Another potentially important use of transgenic animals is for the production and secretion of valuable proteins in milk. Applications of cell culture and nuclear transplantation Cell culture Every cultured human cell contains the whole human genome. We can study the gene defects and metabolic errors by studying the cultured cells. In vitro fertilization By fusing human perms and eggs in vitro and then transfer the early embryos into female, a perfect normal baby can be born in this way . It is so called test tube baby. This has been in common practice for over two decades all over the world. Nuclear transplantation Transfer of a single nucleus at a specific stage of development, to an enucleated unfertilized egg, provided an opportunity to investigate whether cellular differentiation to that stage involved irreversible genetic modifications. Nuclear transplantation from adult somatic cells have been successfully used to produce sheep, cattle, mouse, and other mammals. Establishment of human embryonic stem cell lines Human blastocyst-derived cell lines have been established that have normal karyotypes, express high level of telomerase activity, and express cell surface markers that characterize primate embryonic stem cells but do not characterize other early lineages. These cell lines should be useful in human developmental biology, drug discovery, and transplantation medicine. Conclusion The relevance of biotechnology to many aspects of human life and society, including health insurance; food production; forensics; ethics of human reproduction; prevention, treatment, and gene therapy of human inherited diseases, in chronicled almost daily in the news media. Both positive and negative impacts on human life will be prevailing in the future.