Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

The left part of this image is an illustration of a gene chip. The chip is a grid comprising nine columns and 21 rows. Most cells in the grid are blue, but some are green, yellow, or red. The green, yellow, or red color shows that DNA has hybridized with the chip, indicating the presence of a particular gene. The right part of the image is a satellite image of Spain, with a small region outlined in a square. This image is meant to reinforce the concept that, like regions of the world, DNA can be mapped.
Figure 17.1 In genomics, the DNA of different organisms is compared, enabling scientists to create maps with which to navigate the DNA of different organisms. (credit "map": modification of photo by NASA)

Some of the greatest accomplishments of biotechnology are in the fields of medicine and medical research. For example, intestinal failure due to missing or abnormal intestinal tissue is a frequent problem in premature babies. Intestinal problems are also common for people who have had parts of their small intestines removed for reasons , such as Crohn’s Disease, cancer, and blockages. Complications from intestinal failure may include liver disease, bacterial overgrowth, dehydration, and malnutrition.

Scientists have recently developed a way to engineer human intestines from human cells using mice. Using a mixture of healthy mouse and human intestinal cells and placing it on scaffolding in the abdominal cavity of immunocompromised mice, functional human intestinal cells grow within four weeks. This could be the breakthrough needed to help patients suffering from intestinal failure. More details about this exciting research can be found here.

Teacher Support

This chapter gives the instructor the opportunity to explore the developments in the areas of biotechnology and genomics for both the good and detriment of individuals and society. The newest developments will have exceeded the scope of this text and will need to be supplemented during the course.

Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Apr 26, 2024 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.