Insulin is a type of protein hormone produced by pancreatic cells islets of Langerhans. It controls the glucose level in the blood for the body to function properly. Glucose is absorbed from the blood with help of insulin into the liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells and converted into glycogen Without insulin glucose forms in the blood due to which there is a lack of glucose in the cells. This may result in fatigue numbness increased thirst etc. Therefore insulin is very important for our body. A lot of researchers worked on making insulin as a drug for the treatment of diabetes and to treat high blood potassium levels.

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In 1921, Frederick G. Banting and Charles H. Best were able to purify insulin from a dog’s pancreas Latter it was extracted from porcine or bovine pancreases, But this insulin had its problems. Although the structure of this insulin was similar to human insulin due to minute differences it leads to coagulation and inflammation in patients. Thus it was very vital to produce human insulin for curing diabetes which was later resolved with the advent of DNA technology.


In 1955, Sanger determined the pattern of insulin concluding that proteins are made up of specific amino acids which are attached in a peptide chain. The research in the production of human insulin began in the 1980s using genetic engineering. Recombinant DNA (rDNA) is DNA which particularly encodes a protein. Human insulin is developed in the lab in bacteria like Escherichia coli which is the most widely used type of bacterium and yeast can be used too. These bacteria are grown and replicate so that the insulin gene replicates millions of times.

Bacteria produce the protein, and insulin which was named Humulin was similar to that of humans can be produced. This can be used to treat people suffering from diabetes without any inflammation. In the 1990s improvement in insulin began by modifying its amino acid sequence creating insulin which leads to fewer clumps and diffuses rapidly into the blood. Later even faster-acting insulin was developed named Ultrapid insulin which was first approved by FD as first in 2017 which was more than five times faster. A lot of research is still going on to modify it for better results like correcting its gene’s mutation so that diabetics would be able to produce insulin on their own.

The advent of recombinant DNA technology proved to be very beneficial for developing and modifying insulin. Had it not been developed people would have been suffering from diabetes and various other diseases. The application of DNA technology is so vast that every research in it opens new possibilities and new fields.

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