Bio-Tech-A Revolutionary Institution
Biotechnology is technology based on biology, especially when used in agriculture, food science, and medicine. The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity has come up with one of many definitions of biotechnology:
Biotechnology has contributed towards the exploitation of biological organisms or biological processes through modern techniques, which could be profitably used in medicine, agriculture, animal husbandry and environmental cloning.
Biotechnology is often used to refer to genetic engineering technology of the 21st century; however the term encompasses a wider range and history of procedures for modifying biological organisms according to the needs of humanity, going back to the initial modifications of native plants into improved food crops through artificial selection and hybridization. Bioengineering is the science upon which all Biotechnological applications are b With the development of new approaches and modern techniques, traditional biotechnology industries are also acquiring new horizons enabling them to improve the quality of their products and increase the productivity of their systems. Before 1971, the term, biotechnology, was primarily used in the food processing and agriculture industries. Since the 1970s, it began to be used by the Western scientific establishment to refer to laboratory based techniques being developed in biological research, such as recombinant DNA or tissue culture-based processes, or horizontal gene transfer in living plants, using vectors such as the Agro bacterium bacteria to transfer DNA into a host organism. In fact, the term should be used in a much broader sense to describe the whole range of methods, both ancient and modern, used to manipulate organic materials to reach the demands of food production. So the term could be defined as, “The application of indigenous and/or scientific knowledge to the management of microorganisms, or of cells and tissues of higher organisms, so that these supply goods and services of use to the food industry and its consumers.
Biotechnology combines disciplines like genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology and cell biology, which are in turn linked to practical disciplines like chemical engineering, information technology, and robotics. Biotechnology has applications in four major industrial areas, including health care (medical), crop production and agriculture, non food (industrial) uses of crops and other products (e.g. biodegradable plastics, vegetable oil, biofuels), and environmental uses. For example, one application of biotechnology is the directed use of organisms for the manufacture of organic products (examples include beer and milk products). Another example is using naturally present bacteria by the mining industry in bioleaching. Biotechnology is also used to recycle, treat waste, cleanup sites contaminated i industrial activities (bioremediation), and also to produce biological weapons. Pharmacogenomics is the study how the genetic inheritance of an individual affects his/ her body’s response to drugs. It is a coined word derived from the words “pharmacology” and “genomics”. It is hence the study of the relationship between pharmaceuticals and genetics. The vision of pharmacogenomics is to be able to design and produce drugs that are adapted to each person’s genetic makeup. Traditional pharmaceutical drugs are relatively simple molecules that have been found primarily through trial and error to treat the symptoms of a disease or illness. Biopharmaceuticals are large biological molecules known as proteins and these target the underlying mechanisms and pathways of a malady; it is a relatively young industry. They can deal with targets in humans that are not accessible with traditional medicines. A patient typically is dosed with a small molecule via a tablet while a large molecule is typically injected.
Biotechnology is also commonly associated with landmark breakthroughs in new medical therapies to treat diabetes, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, cancers, arthritis, hemophilia, bone fractures, multiple sclerosis, and cardiovascular disorders. The biotechnology industry has also been instrumental in developing molecular diagnostic devices than can be used to define the target patient population for a given biopharmaceutical. Modern biotechnology can be used to manufacture existing drugs more easily and cheaply. Genetic testing involves the direct examination of the DNA molecule itself. A scientist scans a patient’s DNA sample for mutated sequences.
Hence the proper use of this scientific tool can help in forming a better, safer, and disease free society. Though there are various ethical issues about biotechnology regarding use of animals in clinical trials and many more, one has to see the broader spectrum of Biotechnology.