By radioisotopes or radiation, we generally mean some extraordinary type of energy or rays, which is emitted by radioactive isotopes. Such rays are alpha (α), beta (β) and gamma (γ), which are invisible, spontaneous and penetrating. These rays are generally harmful for all living beings and their presence can be easily detected with the help of the some latest monitoring devices such as Geiger Muller or Scintillation Counters and Gamma Survey Meter etc. These instruments are used for the detection of even the minutest quantity of radioactive elements present anywhere on the earth surface. Thus, this new tiny tool (radioactivity) is proving very helpful in several fields including agriculture. At present, the radioactive isotopes and radiation that have become available as by-product of nuclear reactors are of greater importance to agriculture. Their contributions to food and agriculture is indirect, but nevertheless of immense potential.
Synthetic biology technology has many potential applications, including designing bacteria that can detect chemical or biological agent signatures, engineering bacteria that can clean up environmental pollutants, and engineering organisms or compounds that can diagnose disease or fix faulty genes. Although initial efforts are focused on microbial cells, some synthetic biologists imagine a day when they will be able to pro-
Using Radioisotopes in Microbiology.
Bioprospecting is the search for previously unrecognized, naturally occurring, biological diversity that may serve as a source of material for use in medicine, agriculture, and industry. These materials include genetic blueprints (DNA and RNA sequences), proteins and complex biological compounds, and intact organisms themselves. Humans have been exploiting naturally-derived products for thousands of years. Even as high-throughput technologies like combinatorial chemistry, described above, have practically revolutionized drug discovery, modern therapeutics is still largely dependent on compounds derived from natural products. Excluding biologics (products made from living organisms), 60 percent of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration and pre-new drug application candidates between 1989 and 1995 were of natural origin. Between 1983 and 1994, over 60 percent of all approved cancer drugs and cancer drugs at the pre-new drug application stage and 78 percent of all newly approved antibacterial agents were of natural origin. Taxol, the world’s first billion-dollar anticancer drug, is derived from the yew tree. Artemisinin, one of the most promising new drugs for the treatment of malaria, was discovered as a natural product of a fernlike weed in China called sweet wormwood. And aspirin—arguably one of the best known and most universally used medicines—is derived from salicin, a glycoside found in many species in the plant genera Salix and Populus.
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This field is rapidly evolving, with the computational tools still in an immature state and inadequate for handling the reams of data derived from microarray assays and their functional correlates. Unconventional means of recording experimental results and conveying them rapidly to others in the field using an Internet-based approach are being pursued in an effort to manage the scale of data collection and analysis required for this effort. Whereas scientists previously may have examined only a single facet of a signal transduction pathway involved, for example, in control of a cellular response to infection, they are now looking more broadly at the effect of a particular stimulus on multiple different pathways, including what happens at common nodes and the counter-regulatory pathways that are activated in response to a particular signal. They are coming to realize that many novel molecular mechanisms are involved in controlling these signaling pathways, not only phosphorylation and kinase activation as classically recognized in signal transduction but also specific protein conformational changes, the translocation of proteins to different cellular compartments, proteolytic cleavage of signaling partners and latent transcription factors, and the binding and release of modulatory proteins from key signaling intermediates. A similar multiplicity of mechanisms exists within the extracellular regulatory networks, that must ultimately take their cues from intracellular events. In all of these signaling networks, tremendous specificity of responses stems from the timing, duration, amplitude, and type of signal generated and the pathways from which it emanates. At present, perhaps it could be said that while the magnitude and nature of the challenge posed by systems biology are increasingly well recognized, it remains unclear exactly how these challenges will be met, or how successful such attempts to do so will be.
Radioactive Carbon in the Study of Photosynthesis
A computational perspective or metaphor on biology applies the intellectual constructs of computer science and information technology as ways of coming to grips with the complexity of biological phenomena that can be regarded as performing information processing in different ways. This perspective is a source for information and computing abstractions that can be used to interpret and understand biological mechanisms and function. Because both computing and biology are concerned with function, information and computing abstractions can provide well-understood constructs that can be used to characterize the biological function of interest. Further, they may well provide an alternative and more appropriate language and set of abstractions for representing biological interactions, describing biological phenomena, or conceptualizing some characteristics of biological systems.