What are the Most Important Areas in Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is the field of exploration and exploitation of technology and biological life forms to find solutions to problems to incurable diseases, genetically induced diseases, depletion in crop yielding, etc. Biotechnology is a progressive pathway that connects biology, agriculture, Informatics, and technology.
We use the biology of cellular and bio-molecular processes in living cells of animals and plants to develop techniques, solutions, and products that improve the quality of humans.
It is a dynamic field with many-many sub trajectories that it is difficult to keep track of. It is continuously developing with new research and innovations. Knowledge of biotechnology is being applied in various fields to produce more products and solutions to tackle the challenges of humankind.
Biotechnology generally started with the contribution of medical and pharmaceuticals. But if we disintegrate the definition of biotechnology then years of agriculture and animal breeding are a part of biotechnology also.
Since, biotechnology is used in pharmaceutical, medical, food and agriculture, environment, and marine industry.
All the other fields are only extensions of these groups.
It is the study and research of living cells and their components to understand the working, functioning, and processes of the human body. This knowledge is used to improve the quality of human life by finding cures to diseases, birth ailments, and finding prevention.
It involved producing drugs to cure and improve the functioning of the human body.
Extensive research was done on animal cells too.
The study of genetics was the result of biotechnology only which encompassed the study of DNA of cells. The study of DNA helped in the manipulation of genetic characteristics to our benefit like producing more insulin.
We all know vaccines are chemicals used to stimulate our body against pathogens and viruses. If not for vaccines thousands of children still might be suffering from vaccines, dying from smallpox and other diseases. The vaccine works on the principle of inserting a weaker version of disease into the bloodstream to create the illusion of an attack. The body combats the pathogens and in process, stores the information. When the body is actually under the attack body immediately recognizes it and defends the body against it.
Tremendous developments in the invention of antibiotics have been possible because of biotechnology. To make this process more cost-effective plants are grown that are genetically feasible to produce antibodies.
Biotech startup revolution in producing medical drugs
This approach was different from the conventional chemical focused ways of pharmaceutical companies. This gave a boost to startups in the field which produced and invested in research of more effective and drugs
With increasing population and depletion of lands, continuous deterioration of the environment, disruption in climatic cycles the crop yields are not enough. Hunger is already amongst the top concerns of the world. Biotechnology aids in the development of modified plants that have a higher yield rate, increasing plant potency to grow in difficult conditions also. This is done through a genetic infusion of one plant to others to provide for the lacking ability.
Crops resistant to pests
Pests and insects have been a problem for crops as long as we can remember. Using pesticides is not ideal as it not only proposes a threat to humans but the land also gets corroded duet o chemicals. So, pest-resistant crops can be a major savior of our health and resources. Eg. Bacillus thuringiensis is a gene that is transferred to crops.
Plant and animal breeding
Selective breeding has been a practice to produce a desirable offspring by choosing to species having the required characteristics. Offspring in animals are bred to have qualities like strength, resistance to diseases, domiciled animals.
This concept, when taken to the molecular level, serves the same purpose with more profound results.
Genetic markers are pointed out in the animals and plants and bred together. It is biotechnology that helps in understanding if the traits will be transferred or lost recessively.
This area is for applying biotechnology to industrial aims like industrial fermentation. By bringing biotechnology in the industrial processes efficiency is increased. Also, the impacts of industries on the environment can be reevaluated and toned down a bit
General places where biotechnology has shown its work are the use of enzymes to produce food products, detergents, textiles, and paper, etc.
Biocatalysts, Fermentation, biofuels, etc are products of industrial biotechnology.
Waste treatment, pollution prevention, is much more successful when implemented by biotechnological processes. Biotechnology has helped in reducing the dependency on land disposal of waste. This is done by stimulating bacteria that thrive on chemical and industrial waste.
Applications of biotechnology
- Supplementation of nutrients in food like golden rice.
- Abiotic Stress resistance by producing crops that are resistant to weather, climate, saline land, droughts, water scarcity, etc.
- Producing strength fibers from the infusion of spider web and goat milk.
- Production of environmentally friendly fuel.