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What is Molecular Biotechnology?

The story of the disappearance of Princess Anastasia from the Romanov family, the last kingdom of Russia, is quite terrible. The reason is that after two years of news of the loss, a woman is claiming to be Princess Anastasia. However, after a DNA fingerprinting, it turned out that the woman was not the missing Princess Anastasia.

Besides the above story, there is also a phenomenon born in the world of entertainment, which is the movie Oxygen (2021). The film, directed by Alexandre Aja, deals with the topic of cloning organisms. For those of you who love the sci-fi genre, check it out! Elo is made to play around and of course, think through the whole story because this movie has a pretty confusing plot twist. But I am sure you would be amazed.
Well, these two examples—DNA fingerprinting and cloning of organisms—are included in the examples of molecular biotechnology results.

What is Molecular Biotechnology?

If we take the word, the term biotechnology was first proposed in 1917 by an engineer from Hungary, Karl Erik. Biotechnology itself comes from the words bio and technology, so it can be interpreted as the use of living organisms to solve a problem or produce a useful product.

This science is nothing new. Biotechnology has been around for a long time. For example, using microbes like yeast and bacteria to make bread, tempeh, and nata de coco. We have been using biotechnology in agriculture since the 19th century to fertilize the soil with the help of N2 bacteria.

Well, what’s new is the development and advancement of science. In the 1960s and 1970s, human knowledge of cells and molecules reached the point of manipulating organisms at the most basic level, namely cells and their molecules.

Manipulation of organisms at the molecular level makes the accuracy of the desired changes much higher. For this reason, molecular biotechnology is considered a revolutionary technological breakthrough.
From this we can conclude:
Molecular biotechnology is the production of goods and services using biological organisms, systems, or processes at the molecular level.

Examples of Molecular Biotechnology

I mentioned two examples of molecular biotechnology at the beginning, namely DNA fingerprinting and the cloning of organisms. Now let’s describe the following examples.

DNA cloning

If you didn’t envision the Oxygen movie (2021) I described above, perhaps you will envision Naruto’s “Kage Bunshin no Jutsu” move making him have many copies or clones.
Have you figured it out yet? Okay, then I’ll just explain the importance of DNA cloning.
DNA cloning is a technique for making copies of DNA or duplicating identical DNA.
This technology arose from the discovery of Paul Berg in 1971, who succeeded in cutting DNA. Now DNA can be cut, meaning the discovery is a gateway to genetic engineering.

A year later, in 1972, Stanley Cohen and Herbert Beyer succeeded in transferring genetic material to bacteria. Science was even more complete because it could edit genetic material and then insert it into bacteria.
Why bacteria? hey…someone can answer or not? The reason is simple, bacteria can divide quickly.

PCR (polymerase chain reaction)

Ever since Covid-19 hit our beloved earth, terms that were originally foreign have become something we often hear: rapid tests, swabs, and PCR. Have you done a PCR test yet?
Previously, those wishing to travel by air had to show negative antigen and PCR tests – the latest regulations no longer require test results to be shown for those who received a second dose or booster for domestic travel.

What is PCR (polymerase chain reaction)?

PCR is a method of amplifying or amplifying DNA.
So, this method is based on DNA replication. At first, there was only a small amount of DNA, but it grew large enough to be examined.

Electrophoresis

Did you see the news about the murders? Many reported that a murder had taken place and that the perpetrator was unknown. Then, a few days later, there was an update that the culprit had been found, be it the victim’s ex-girlfriend, boyfriend, or even his brother.

Where from? Molecular biotechnology is playing a role in finding the killers, folks. Mainly by electrophoresis.
Electrophoresis is a method for separating DNA by size.

In a murder case, the forensic scientist determines the perpetrator from the DNA analysis of the victim and the suspect using DNA electrophoresis.

In addition, electrophoresis is also used to match the DNA of children and their biological parents: “Whose child are you? You are not my son!”

DNA fingerprinting method

Everyone’s DNA is unique, nothing is the same. Even twins do not have identical DNA. Now, back to the case of Princess Anastasia’s disappearance.

How come evidence was found in the end that the woman claiming to be Princess Anastasia lied? The trick is to do DNA fingerprinting using the electrophoresis method.

DNA fingerprinting is the process of analyzing and identifying samples of DNA from a specific person to determine the characteristics of their DNA.

This is how it was eventually discovered that the woman’s DNA did not match the DNA of Nicholas II and Prince Philip (a close relative of the kingdom).

Sequencing

Sequences are used to sequence DNA. You remember that DNA has a sequence, like A, G, C, C, G, T. Well, that sequence is called a sequence. Sequencing is a method of determining the base of a DNA sequence.

For example, when we take a sample of DNA, we see the shape of chemical compounds found in DNA: phosphate groups, nitrogenous bases, and deoxyribose sugars. So it’s not the letters A, G, C, or T, right?
Then how do we know these letters from a DNA sample? Here we need sequencing technology. Later, this sequencing determines the order of the nitrogenous bases.

How about you, do you know what molecular biotechnology is?