Lecture: Extract certain compounds from plants: Narrator: Listen to part of the lecture in a biology class. Professor: I'm sure most of you know that we've been able to extract certain compounds from plants for use in medicine. Oh, compounds like proteins. Proteins from some plants can be used in medicine as antibodies and vaccines. And we can even cause some plants to produce certain proteins by incorporating DNA into the plant's cells, usually in the leaves. We then extract the proteins to use as the antibodies. However, we've never been able to produce enough proteins to make the process worthwhile. It ... it hasn't been practical until now. Now it appears that it is possible to get a large amount of usable proteins from plants. Some researchers have recently succeeded in doing this by using plant seeds to produce these proteins rather than leaves or the other parts of the plant. Now, there are a number of advantages to getting protein from plant seeds to produce antibodies, but we have to be sure that these proteins are just as effective as human proteins, and so far the research has shown that they are. Then antibodies produced from plant seed proteins are effective in humans, which is great, because typically antibodies from vaccines and medicines too are produced from microorganisms like yeast or bacteria and it's a rather complicated process. Ok, so what makes plant seeds good production units? Well, for one thing, there's lots of them right? One plant can produce a lot of seeds. And then, there's the issue of storage. Seeds can be stored for long periods of time and the protein retains its effectiveness. Now, that's not true with other parts of the plant. Leaves, for instance, you can't store them very long which means you have to get that protein out right away, as soon as it's produced, but using plant seeds as production units allows you to isolate the protein whenever you need it. And you can transport seeds all over the world, even the places where refrigeration might be a problem. Not so, for yeast or bacteria. But with seeds, it seems quite possible that we'll be able to supply vaccines to places that need them. Whereas before, transporting and preserving these products over long distances simply wasn't feasible. And another major benefit of extracting plant protein for medical use: It's cost effective. Unlike the production of protein for medicinal purposes using yeast or bacteria like insulin which is a vital protein used in medications, extracting proteins from seeds doesn't require high tech production labs with all kinds of equipment. And since refrigeration is not crucial for maintenance or transport, it's just much less expensive to store and maintain plant seeds than other sources of protein. We estimate that the total production cost to be ten to a hundred times lower.