Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology

Notes Class 12

Please refer to the Biotechnology Principles and Processes heritance and Variation Notes Class 12 Biology given below. These revision notes have been designed as per the latest NCERT, CBSE, and KVS books issued for the current academic year. Students will be able to understand the entire chapter in your class 12th Biology book. We have provided chapter-wise Notes for Class 12 Biology as per the latest examination pattern.

Revision Notes Chapter 11 Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology

Students of Class 12 Biology will be able to revise the entire chapter and also learn all important concepts based on the topic-wise notes given below. Our best teachers for Grade 12 have prepared these to help you get better marks in upcoming examinations. These revision notes cover all important topics given in this chapter.

  • The term biotechnology is derived from the fusion of biology and technology. Biotechnology means any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms or their derivatives to produce or modify products or processes for specific use.
  • The definition of biotechnology given by the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) which covers both traditional views and modern molecular biotechnology is as follows: “Biotechnology is the  integrated use of biochemistry, microbiology and engineering sciences in order to achieve technological application of the capabilities of microorganisms, cultured tissues/cells and parts there of.”

The science of biotechnology is mainly based on two core technologies :  

Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology

Genetic Engineering

  • Genetic engineering is the technology involved in synthesis of artificial genes, repair of genes through fusion, deletion, inversion, shifting of genes, products of recombinant DNA & manipulating them for improvement in human beings, plants, animals and microbes.
  • An important aspect of genetic engineering is recombinant DNA technology. Recombinant DNA  technology is employed for combining DNA from two different organisms to produce  recombinant DNA.
  • Three basic steps in creating genetically modified organism (GMO) or transgenic organism are:
    (i) Identification of DNA with desirable genes
    (ii) Introduction of the identified DNA into the host
    (iii) Maintenance of introduced DNA in the host and the transfer of DNA to its progeny  
Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology


  • Restriction endonuclease was isolated for the first time by W. Arber in 1962 in bacteria. In 1978, Arber, Smith and Nathan were awarded the Nobel Prize for discovery of restriction  endonucleases. These enzymes recognise the base sequence at palindrome sites in DNA duplex and cut its strand.
  • The palindromes in DNA are base pair sequences that shows the same sequence on both the strands when read forward (left to right ) or back ward (right to left) from a central axis of symmetry.
  • For example, restriction endonuclease EcoRI found in the colon bacteria E. coli, recognises the base sequence GAATTC in DNA duplex and cuts the DNA strands between G and A as shown here:  
Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology

Types of Restriction Endonuclease
Three main types of restriction endonucleases are type I, type II and type III.  

Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology

Nomenclature of Restriction Enzymes :
(i) Type II restriction enzymes are named for the bacterium from which they have been isolated For example EcoRI enzyme has been isolated from, Escherichia coli the bacterium  RY13.
(ii) The first letter used for the enzyme is the first letter of the bacterium’s genus name (in italics),
(iii) then comes the first two letter of its species (in italics).
(iv) The fourth letter of the name of enzyme is the letter of strain.
(v) The end of the name is roman numeral, which indicates the order in which the enzyme was isolated.

Functioning of Restriction Enzyme

  • Restriction enzymes are present in many bacteria where they function as a part of their defence mechanism called the Restriction Modification System. Molecular basis of this system was first explained by Wemer Arber in 1965. The restriction modification system consists of restriction endonucleases and a modification enzyme.
  • Synthesising enzymes, DNA ligases, Alkaline phosphatase are other enzymes used in rDNA technology.  
Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology


  • The vectors are DNA molecules that can carry a foreign DNA segment and replicate inside the host cell.
  • Vectors may be plasmids, bacteriophages, cosmids, Yeast Artificial Chromosomes (YACs), Bacterial Artificial Chromosomes (BACs), transposons and viruses.
  • Out of these vectors, plasmid vectors and bacteriophage vectors are commonly used.
  • Plasmids are extra-chromosomal, selfreplicating, usually circular, double-stranded DNA molecules, found naturally in many bacteria and also in some yeast.
  • Plasmids are usually not essential for normal cell growth and division, but they often confer some traits to the host organism e.g., resistance to certain antibiotics.
  • The most widely used, versatile, easily manipulated vector pBR322 is an ideal plasmid vector.  
Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology
  • Bacteriophages (a virus that eats upon bacteria) are required for cloning of large DNA fragment.
  • Two phages that have been extensively modified for development of cloning vectors are lambda phage and M13 phage.
  • Lambda phage vector has a double-stranded, linear DNA genome of 48, 502 bp, in which the 12 bases at each end are unpaired but complementary.
  • These vectors allow cloning of DNA fragments up to 23 kb in length.
  • M13 phage vector is a filamentous phage which infects E. coli having F-pili. Its genome is a single stranded, circular DNA of 6407 bp.
  • Some other cloning vectors are cosmid, bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC), Yeast Artificial Chromosome (YAC), Phagemid, animal and plant vector, transposon as vector, shuttle vectors.
  • The cosmids (like pJC74, pJC720 etc.) can be defined as the hybrid vectors derived from plasmids and phage λ which contain cos site.

Characteristics of a Cloning Vector
The desirable characteristics of a cloning vector are:

  • Origin of replication (Ori) is a sequence from where replication starts. The replication occurs inside the host cells. A prokaryotic DNA has a single origin of replication while eukaryotic  DNA may have more than one origin of replication.
  • Selectable markers (antibiotic resistance gene) are required to identify and eliminate non-transformants and selectively permit the growth of the transformants. Generally, the genes encoding resistance to antibodies such as tetracycline, ampicillin, kanamycin or chloramphenicol, etc., are used as selectable markers for E.coli.
  • A valuable feature of the cloning vector is the presence of specific restriction sites (or cloning sites), where the enzyme restriction endonucleases make a cut so that a foreign DNA segment may be introduced (joined) to the vector. This property helps a vector to act as trusted cloning vehicle during gene transfer in genetic engineering. The ligation of alien DNA is carried out at a restriction site present in one of the antibiotic resistance genes.

Competent host is essential for transformation with recombinant DNA. Since, DNA is a hydrophilic molecule, it cannot pass through membranes, so bacterial cells must be made  capable to take up DNA. This is done by treating them with a specific concentration of a divalent cation, such as calcium ion which increases the eciency. Recombinant DNA can then be forced into such cells by incubating the cells with recombinant DNA on ice, followed by placing them briefly at 42°C (heat shock) and then putting them back on ice. This ebables the bacteria to take up the recombinant DNA. In eukaryotic  cells, the term transformation is replaced by the term transfection. 

Vector Mediated Gene Transfer
Various kinds of vectors e.g., pBR322,  λ phage, etc. are used to introduce DNA into many kinds of host cells, including E. coli, yeast, animal and plant cells available for genetic engineering. For the expression of some eukaryotic proteins eukaryotic cells may be the preferred hosts. Yeasts have been used extensively for functional expression of eukaryotic genes because they are the simplest eukaryotic organisms and like bacteria are single celled, genetically well characterised, easy to grow and manipulate.

Vectorless Gene Transfer

Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology

Processes of Recombinant DNA Technology

  • Isolation of the genetic material (DNA)
    1. In order to cut the DNA with restriction enzymes, it needs to be in pure form, free from other macromolecules.
    2. This can be achieved by treating the bacterial cells/plant or animal tissue with enzymes such as lysozyme (bacteria), cellulase (plant cells), chitinase (fungus).
    3. The RNA can be removed by treatment with ribonuclease whereas proteins can be removed by treatment with protease .
    4. The purified DNA finally precipitates out after the addition of chilled ethanol. This is seen as collection of the threads in suspension.
  • Cutting of DNA at Specific locations
    1. Restriction enzyme digestions are performed by incubating purified DNA molecules with the  restriction enzyme, at the optimal conditions for that specific enzyme.
    2. Agarose gel electrophoresis is employed to check the progression of a restriction enzyme digestion.
    3. ‘Gene of interest’ from the source DNA and the cut vector with space are mixed and ligase is added. This results in the preparation of recombinant DNA.
    4. If required, gene of interest is amplified using PCR.
  • Insertion of recombinant DNA (rDNA) into host cell/organism
    1. The vector DNA ( plasmid DNA) and alien (foreign) DNA carrying gene of interest are cut by the same restriction endonuclease to produce complementary sticky ends. With the help of DNA ligase enzyme, the complementary sticky ends of the two DNAs are joined (annealing) to produce a recombinant (chimaera) DNA.
    2. Eukaryotic genes do not function properly when cloned into bacterial cell, because of introns. In such cases, DNA is made from mRNA by reverse transcription or synthesised artificially. This rDNA is inserted into host bacterium by transformation using cold CaCl2 solution. The bacterial cell containing the desired rDNA is selected using selective antibiotic in the culture medium.
  • Obtaining the desirable foreign gene product
    1. When recombinant DNA is transferred into a bacterial, plant or animal cell, the foreign DNA also multiplies. Most of the recombinant technologies are aimed to produce a desirable  protein.
    2. If any protein encoding gene is expressed in a heterologous host it is known as a “recombinant protein”
    3. After the cloning of gene of interest one has to maintain the optimum conditions to induce the expression of the target gene and consider producing it on a large scale.

These steps have been summarised in the flow chart : 

Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology


  • Bioreactors are considered as vessels in which raw materials are biologically converted into specific products by microbes, plant and animal cells or their enzymes.
  • Small volume cultures cannot give large quantities of the products. To produce large quantities of these products, development of bioreactors was required where large volume (100 – 1000 litres) of culture can be processed.
  • Bioreactor provides the optimal growth conditions such as temperature, pH, substrate, vitamins, oxygen and salts for obtaining the desired product.
  • The most commonly used bioreactors are of stirring type. Stirring type bioreactors are 
    (i) Simple stirred tank bioreactor and
    (ii) Sparged stirred tank bioreactor
  • A simple stirred tank bioreactor is a large stainless steel vessel which has the main parts as cooling jacket, air inlet and filter, stirrer, sparger, lines, temperature sensor and control  unit.
  • In the sparged stirred-tank bioreactor, sterile air bubbles are sparged. The surface area for oxygen transfer is hence increased.
  • Microorganisms turn raw materials into products such as glucose into alcohol through fermentation. The two basic type of fermentation are possible batch fermentation and continuous culture.
  • In batch fermentation nutrients and microbes are put in closed chamber and not changed from outside once the fermentation starts whereas in continuous fermentation nutrients are added continuously and products are taken out as fast as they are made.
  • After the formation of product in bioreactors, it undergoes through a series of processes like separation and purification (collectively known as downstream processing) before it is ready for marketing as a finished product.
  • The downstream processing and quality control testing varies from product to product.


  • Electrophoresis is a technique of separation of charged molecules under the influence of an electrical field so that they migrate in the direction of electrode bearing the opposite  charge, through a medium/ matrix.
  • The most commonly used matrix is agarose which is a polysaccharide extracted from sea weeds.
  • DNA fragments separate according to size through the pores of agarose gel.  
Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology
  • The separated DNA fragments can be seen only after staining the DNA with a compound known as ethidium bromide (EtBr) followed by exposure to UV radiation as bright orange  coloured bands.
  • The separated bands of DNA are cut out from the agarose gel and extracted from the gel piece. This step is called as elution.


  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique of synthesising multiple copies of the desired gene (or DNA) in vitro. This technique was developed by Kary Mullis in 1985.
  • It is based on the principle that a DNA molecule, when subjected to high temperature, splits into  two strands due to denaturation. 

Basic Requirements of PCR 
1. DNA template. The desired segment of the target DNA molecule that is to be amplified. 
2. Two nucleotide primers. Two nucleotide primers, usually 10-18 nucleotides long and complementary to the sequences present at the 3′ borders of the target DNA segment.
3. Enzyme. High temperature (more than 90°C) stable DNA polymerase (usually Taq polymerase), for synthesis of new DNA molecules.

Procedure of PCR
It includes three steps as follows : 

Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology
  • This process is repeated many times to amplify the required gene of interest. For second cycle, DNA obtained after first cycle is used as template and so on.
  • PCR is used in many areas like detection of pathogens, diagnosis of specific mutations, DNA fingerprinting, prenatal diagnosis etc.
Notes Biotechnology Principles and Processes Class 12 Biology