Microbio Question

OrganicDisco rock at roll.com
Tue Dec 11 00:58:25 EST 2001

Hello I am tutoring a student and have come accross a homwork of his and am
at an impass...could someone please check out these questions and offer some
solutions. I would very much appreciate it.

"Scientists at a Biotech company screen for enzymes by isolating DNA from
soil, water, whale skin ...preparing an Ecoli DNA library, and screening the
library for the desired enzyme activities.  In a particular experiment a
scientist was looking for cellulases and took a sample from a woodchip pile.
However, he was unable to identify any gene that encoded a cellulose
degrading enzyme.  On the other hand thoughm he was able to isolate
cellulose degrading organisms from the same woodchip sample.  Using reverse
genetics he could identify the gene encoding a novel cellulase that was
unrelated to any previously identified cellulase.

a.  What could have been a possible reason for not being able to identify
the enzyme using the first approach?
b.  If the first approach was so unsuccessful in the example, why do you
think this company is doing so well--if you were asked to raise money for
the company, how would you sell this method over the other method?
c.  Could the scientist have tried another approach to identify his gene,
but by purifying the organism?

Any answers would be much appreciated.

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