B4  Medicine

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Essential Idea:

Biotechnology can be used in the 

diagnosis and treatment of disease


  • Infections by a pathogen can be detected by the presence of its genetic material or by its antigens
  • Predisposition to a genetic disease can be detected through the presence of markers
  • DNA microarrays can be used to test for genetic predisposition or to diagnose the disease
  • Metabolites that indicate disease can be detected in blood and urine
  • Tracking experiments are used to gain information about the localization and interaction of a desired protein
  • Biopharming uses genetically modified animals and plants to produce proteins for therapeutic use
  • Viral vectors can be used in gene therapy


  • Use of PCR to detect different strains of influenza virus
  • Tracking tumour cells using transferrin linked to luminescent probes
  • Biopharming of antithrombin
  • Use of viral vectors in the treatment of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)


  • Analysis of a simple microarray
  • Interpretation of the results of an ELISA diagnostic test