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factual
You and Yours: The Triumph of Technology
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You and Yours
Louis Pasteur's germ theory of infection
Professor Ian Wilmut
Image: Professor Ian Wilmut and Dolly
Professor Ian Wilmut is the leader of the team that produced Dolly the sheep, the first clone of an adult animal. Subsequently he researched the use of nuclear transfer to introduce precise genetic changes into livestock and the molecular mechanisms that are required for normal development of cloned embryos.

Other research has been concerned with the factors that cause the death of developing embryos and gene transfer in sheep to produce proteins needed to treat human disease.
Image: Michael Faraday's electro-magnetic induction ring, courtesy of the Royal Institution of Great Britain
French microbiologist, Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), is renowned for the development of germ theory. He showed that the growth of micro-organisms in fermenting liquids like milk was not due to spontaneous generation but came from outside contamination. Although others had suggested this theory earlier, it was Pasteur who conducted the experiments and managed to persuade others that it was correct.

He went on to invent a process in which liquids were heated to kill all bacteria. It is for this reason that we talk about milk having been 'pasteurized'. His work lead Joseph Lister to develop antiseptic methods in surgery.

In recent years there has been a backlash against pasteurization with the rise in popularity of organic farming. Some people believe that vitamins and nutrients survive much better in unpasteurzied liquids. However, doctors do not recommend unpasteurized products for pregnant women, breast feeding mothers or anyone whose is undergoing treatment for cancer or diseases such as AIDS.



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