Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Electronic Journal of Biotechnology]]> vol. 2 num. 2 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<B>PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY IN THE 21<SUP>ST</SUP> CENTURY: THE CHALLENGES AHEAD</B>]]> In a world where population growth is outstripping food supply agricultural -and especially plant-biotechnology, needs to be swiftly implemented in all walks of life. Achievements today in plant biotechnology have already surpassed all previous expectations, and the future is even more promising. The full realisation of the agricultural biotechnology revolution depends on both continued successful and innovative research and development activities and on a favourable regulatory climate and public acceptance. Biotechnology should be fully integrated with classical physiology and breeding: (1) as an aid to classical breeding, (2) for generation of engineered organisms, (3) for integration of microorganisms into agricultural production systems. Biotechnology is nowadays changing the agricultural and plant scene in three major areas: (1) growth and development control (vegetative, generative and reproduction/propagation), (2) protecting plants against the ever-increasing threats of abiotic and biotic stress, (3) expanding the horizons by producing specialty foods, biochemicals and pharmaceuticals. <![CDATA[<B><I>Medicinal Plants: A Re-emerging Health Aid</B></I>]]> Interest in medicinal plants as a re-emerging health aid has been fuelled by the rising costs of prescription drugs in the maintenance of personal health and well being, and the bioprospecting of new plant-derived drugs. Several issues as well as a range of interests and activities in a number of countries are dealt with. Based on current research and financial investments, medicinal plants will, seemingly, continue to play an important role as a health aid. <![CDATA[<B>Ethics and Transgenic Crops: a Review</B>]]> This article represents a review of some of the ethical dilemmas that have arisen as a result of the development and deployment of transgenic crop plants. The potential for transgenic crops to alleviate human hunger and the possible effects on human health are discussed. Risks and benefits to the environment resulting from genetic engineering of crops for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses are considered, in addition to effects on biodiversity. The socio-economic impacts and distribution of benefits from transgenic technologies are reviewed. Fundamental issues of man’s relationship with nature and the environment, and theological matters are also addressed. An almost unprecedented amount of discussion has been stimulated on the merits and demerits of genetic engineering of crop plants, and has divided both the public and scientific communities. The arguments for and against transgenics are invariably based on visions of the new technology from widely different ethical perspectives. <![CDATA[<B>Copolymerization of lignin with cresol catalysed by peroxidase in reversed micellar systems </B>]]> Peroxidase catalysed copolymerization of lignin with cresol in a reversed micellar system was performed successfully. The molecular weight of the copolymer was controlled by adjusting the surfactant concentration and a maximal mean molecular weight of 1890 kDa was obtained. <![CDATA[<B>Lipopolyamine-mediated transfection of reporter plasmids into a fish cell line</B>]]> Conditions have been optimised to transfect the fish cell line CHSE-214 to measure expression, maintenance and putative chromosomal integration of the reporter gene LUC, spliced into two versions of an expression vector. The first is pCMVL, and the second p103, a novel pCMVL-derived plasmid to which a highly conserved tandem repeat from the salmon genome was added in an inverted configuration flanking the LUC gene to promote its chromosomal integration. A minimal ratio of one to one, lipopolyamine carrier to plasmid DNA, was enough to efficiently transfect the cell line to follow the fate of target DNAs up to five cell passages. In this time-span we demonstrated the maintenance of the foreign DNA in the cells, the concomitant expression of the reporter gene, and a higher stability of p103 over the control plasmid which might suggest a higher potential for integration. Thus, we define an efficient model system for future in vitro evaluation of potential target genes of commercial interest for fish transgenesis