We have used biotechnology since the rise of the progress of humans. Egyptians used yeasts to bake bread, the Chinese began using fermentation techniques for brewing and cheese making, and the Aztecs used Spirulina algae for making cakes. Now, when people think of biotechnology, they think of recombinant DNA which is modern biotechnology but classical biotechnology began long before the talks of genes and chromosomes even started.
Modern biotechnology arose around the end of the nineteenth century when the work on genetics was concluded by Mendel and some institutes for investigation on various processes were set up. At the start of the twentieth century, manufacturing and farming industries began to include biotechnology in their processes. The flourishing machine industry and automobile industry, for example, practiced using fermentation to produce acetone and paint solutions. Later, significant progressions were done in genetics and these dominated the biotech research. This was the time when Watson and Crick discovered genetic code and structure of DNA. Today scholars and ethicists work along with research experts and advocates to plan what we can do and what we should do to help the nation with genetic knowledge.
Today, biotechnology is being used in innumerable areas including agriculture, bioremediation and forensics. Industry and medicine make use of the techniques of PCR, immunoassays and recombinant DNA. Genetic manipulation has been the principal object for giving biology as a tool of the future.
What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is a wide discipline that harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies that help in improving the health and lives of the people.
William Miller defined Biotech as “Biotechnology harnesses the potential of cells and biological molecules to benefit people and the environment”. It is the combination of theoretical and practical scientific capacity with skills like biological sciences and problem-solving. This interdisciplinary field includes mathematics, chemistry, engineering, physics and a combination of various other technologies.
It is one of the most progressive and advantageous scientific progress of the quarter-century. It deals with creating new products and modifying the existing ones according to the dynamic needs. With genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology and cell biology- as theoretical and chemical engineering, information technology and robotics as practical aptitudes, biotech finds its application in different industries like from food, pharmaceutical, chemical, bio-products, textiles, medicine, nutrition to environmental conservation etc. Due to numerous applications of biotech, even after many challenges it gives us multiple career opportunities.
Biotechnology is a global phenomenon; whose sole purpose is to put the world on a road to recovery. And it is important to continue to be a part of a field that is setting its course to solve global problems.
It is trying to make the world a better place.
Biological systems are divided into five groups and corresponds to five types of biotechnology by object criterion, they are:
− Plant biotechnology;
− Animal biotechnology;
− Biotechnology of microorganisms and its colonies (viruses, bacteria, fungi, algae, etc.)
− Cell and cell culture bio-technologies;
− Biotechnology of subcellular systems(organelles).
However, there are two types of biotechnology by the level of human intervention in a biological system: molecular biotechnology based on recombinant DNA technology and technology of microorganisms, and cell biotechnology focused on micromanipulations with nuclei and cells.
“Red” (medical) which is one of the most significant areas of modern biotechnology includes the production of drugs and diagnostics employing cellular technology and genetic engineering.
“Blue” biotechnology is focused on efficiently using the resources of the ocean, particularly the marine biota for food, medical and other biologically active substances.
“Green Biotechnology includes the area of agriculture and has the goal to create biotechnological methods and products to control pests and pathogens of crops and livestock, producing bio-fertilizers, the increasing the yield by using genetic engineering tools.
“White” biotechnology uses industrial biotechnology which concentrates on the manufacturing of goods which are earlier produced by the chemical industry, for instance, alcohol, vitamins, amino acids etc.
“Grey” biotechnology deals with technologies and drugs for protecting the environment, like soil recultivation, discharge treatment, pollution reduction, recycling and utilization of manufacturing waste, etc with the help of bioprocesses and biologically active agents.
“Red” is one of the most important areas of modern biotechnology that includes the generation of drugs and diagnostics using cellular technology and genetic engineering.
“Blue” biotechnology is concentrated on the effective use of ocean resources, especially on the use of aquatic biota for food, technical, medical and biologically active substances.
“Green Biotechnology incorporates the field of agriculture and is intended to produce biotechnological methods and produce that controls pests and pathogens of crops and livestock, production of biofertilizers, the productivity of plants using genetic engineering tools.
“White” biotechnology encompasses industrial biotechnology which concentrates on the manufacturing of goods previously produced by the chemical industry, such as alcohol, vitamins, amino acids etc.
“Grey” biotechnology appointments the technologies and drugs for protecting the environment, specifically: soil re-cultivation, discharge treatment, pollution abatement, recycling and utilization of industrial waste, degradation of toxicants with the help of bioprocesses and biologically active factors.
Importance of Biotechnology
Health- Biotechnology helps in healing the world by employing nature's toolbox and doing our genetic makeup to improve and guide research by diminishing rates of infectious disease, saving numerous lives by altering the chances of severe, life-threatening conditions concerning millions throughout the world, tailoring approaches for treatments to individuals to decrease health risks and side effects, generating more precise tools for finding the disease, combating dangerous sicknesses and common problems and challenges confronting the developing world.
Agriculture- Biotechnology advances crop pest resistance and enhances crop herbicide tolerance. It also promotes the use of more environmentally sustainable agriculture methods. It serves the world by producing higher crop yields with fewer inputs, reducing volumes of agricultural drugs required by crops, which in turn reduces the mixing of these drugs into the environment this uses biotech crops that need some applications of pesticides which is comparatively less and that allow farmers to reduce tiling farmland, growing crops with improved nutrition that solving the problem of vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, producing foods free of allergens and toxins such as mycotoxin, and advancing food and crop oil content thus helping in improving the cardiovascular health.