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Biology and Biotechnology: Science, Applications, and Issues

Authors: Helen Kreuzer1, Adrianne Massey2
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Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; 2: A. Massey & Associates, Chapel Hill, North Carolina;
Content Type: Textbook
Publication Year: 2005

Category: Applied and Industrial Microbiology

offers an inviting exploration of biotechnology, carefully blending science, consumer applications, regulatory information, and social issues. Providing a strong basis in the fundamentals of biological science, the book focuses on the material that is needed to understand and evaluate technologies that are available to consumers. is largely intended for undergraduate nonmajor science courses; however, biology majors will benefit from the unique perspective. In addition, with its highly readable writing style, this new volume will intrigue members of the lay public who have little scientific background and seek to educate themselves on the burgeoning field of biotechnology.

Logically organized for maximum comprehensibility, the book opens with a section covering the critical interrelationships between science, technology, and society. The next section, The Foundational Science, provides a comprehensive overview of the basic science underlying the principles of biotechnology. Chapters in this section cover cellular and molecular biology in sufficient detail to enable readers to put evolutionary and environmental issues into proper context. Numerous examples throughout this section illuminate how scientific knowledge translates into technologies that are used to solve problems both in modern medicine and in everyday settings. Important narratives document the history of specific scientific developments, illustrating both how progress is made in science and how society directly impacts science.

The last section, Biotechnology Applications and Issues, utilizes the material learned in previous sections to explain biotechnology and its significant applications. Focusing first on the research laboratory, readers will gain insights into specific biotechnology techniques and precisely how they are used to gain new scientific knowledge in fields spanning from archaeology to zoology. The commercial applications of biotechnology products are also explored, detailing the use of biotechnology in medicine, food, agriculture, and the environment. Readers are introduced to specific products, the factors associated with introducing these products into the market, and the regulatory process that affects decision making about the future directions of science and technology.

There are no separately available contributors for this publication.

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Doody Enterprises

26 January 2013

At A Glance

Biology and Biotechnology: Science, Applications, and Issues offers an inviting exploration of biotechnology, carefully blending science, consumer applications, regulatory information, and social issues. Providing a strong basis in the fundamentals of biological science, the book focuses on the material that is needed to understand and evaluate technologies that are available to consumers. Biology and Biotechnology is largely intended for ...undergraduate nonmajor science courses; however, biology majors will benefit from the unique perspective. In addition, with its highly readable writing style, this new volume will intrigue members of the lay public who have little scientific background and seek to educate themselves on the burgeoning field of biotechnology.

Description

Breakthroughs in biology, from decoding the human genome to directing the differentiation of stem cells, are part of the fabric of our lives. Biotechnology companies are busy translating bench discoveries into important clinical applications. Thus, it is important for beginning biology students to have a clear vision of how biological concepts can be applied to address medical and social concerns as well as to consider the strong ethical implications of biomedical research. This exciting textbook presents a new approach to general biology, providing a guide to both key concepts and current applications. The book is divided into three parts: Part I provides a short introduction to the interplay of science, technology, and society; part II presents the foundations of biological science, including sections on "atoms to organisms" and "organisms to ecosystems;" part III introduces biotechnology applications and issues.

Purpose

According to the authors, the purpose is to "give readers the foundation they need for understanding the many inevitable advances in biotechnology... [and provide] a context for making decisions as potential customers." In every chapter, the authors blend basic science with consumer applications, regulatory information, and social/ethical issues. The book is self-contained and does not assume prior training in biology.

Audience

The book is written primarily for college students interested in exploring the biomedical and life sciences. It presents a new pathway for learning biology, because it places traditional concepts and recent discoveries in the context of application and social interpretation. Because of this new approach, the book will attract readers from many disciplines (e.g., biomedical engineering and medical technology). It will also appeal to instructors and students who wish to explore the moral and ethical issues raised by modern biological research. Should human stem cells be harvested from discarded embryos or fetuses? Should therapeutic cloning be permitted by law?

Features

The authors provide thoughtful introductions to each chapter. The book includes beautiful full-color figures and call-out boxes for in-depth focus on interesting topics. Each chapter is followed by lists of summary points and key terms. The text covers much ground and pays considerable attention to ecology, as well as the biology of plants and lower organisms.

Assessment

The authors provide interesting core material to engage the reader in active learning. Beginning students will be motivated by one section or another, and immediately grasp the significance and social implications of the subject matter. The authors' premise is that "decisions we make about biotechnology will contribute to our societal decisions as a whole and thus to the future of science, technology, and society." The authors correctly note that "applications can trigger ethical dilemmas in which there are no easy or perfect answers." To their credit, the authors do not answer these questions, but rather they provide students with "tools for conducting their own informed, critical evaluations." Although the book does not cover all traditional topics in biology, it does address modern innovation and teach by example, showing practical application. This new book will be appreciated by educators who wish to communicate the excitement of pure and applied research in the life sciences.

Doody Enterprises

Reviewer: Bruce Fenderson, PhD (Thomas Jefferson University)

Review Date: Unknown

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