What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is a broad field that deals with the exploitation of living organisms using techniques and other living organisms, to manufacture products beneficial for human beings. It comprises of a broad spectrum from agriculture, genetically modified organisms and medicines, to transgenics, food production, etc. Biotechnology is an emerging field of research as it has the potential to solve many of the world’s biological problems which could not be solved until now with conventional techniques.
Applications of Biotechnology
Biotechnology is widely used in different fields to modify and produce a useful product for human benefits. Scientists have been working on the new techniques in the agricultural sector, food processing industries, etc. which will prove beneficial in increasing crop production without affecting human health. In today’s scenario, it is very difficult to feed a huge population with limited resources. Biotechnology has helped in serving the purpose. Genetically modified crops or the transgenic crops are one such application which provides the crops with a beneficial trait. Genetically Modified Crops has improved crop quality and yield, are less dependency on pesticides and fertilizers. In turn, soil quality has also improved. The crops are less vulnerable to biotic and abiotic stresses.
Biotechnology has a wide range of applications in different food and non-food industrial. Let us now discuss the application of biotechnology in Medicine more in detail.
Application of Biotechnology in Medicine
Biotechnology applications, especially in the field of medicine, have influenced healthcare sector immensely. It has changed the face of the medical field. Genetic engineering contributed more safe and effective treatments and medications. The application of biotechnology in the medical field began long back from the time of discovery of insulin.
Long gone are the days when a genetic disorder could incapacitate or render a person handicapped. Modern research has led scientists to grow organs and transplant them on to individuals safely, and it has saved lives too. In 2012, scientists created a synthetic 3D printed trachea to replace a damaged one in an infant. This has consequently saved the life of the toddler. There are even reports of clinical trials that have grown pigs with organs that are genetically similar to people who need it. This could lead to a lower rate of organ rejection or other unpleasant complications
Medical Biotechnology commonly deals with the use of recombinant DNA technology in various therapeutic forms. The advantage of using this technique is, it rules out the earlier problems of graft rejection or other immunological actions against the administered therapeutics. One of the most classic examples is the production of insulin. Earlier, the insulin was manufactured from the pancreas of pigs and other cattle which constantly gave the problem of immunological reactions. Medical biotechnology gave the solution to it as genetically engineered insulin was manufactured with the help of E.coli. The insulin thus produced was compatible with the human body and manufacturing became efficient too.
More to Read: Human Insulin
Gene Therapy holds the most promising answer to the problem of genetic diseases. Gene therapy is used to treat a genetic disorder usually by the insertion of a normal gene or correct gene for the defective or inactive gene into a baby or an adult with the help of vectors such as retrovirus, adenovirus, and herpes simplex virus.. This normal gene usually takes up the place of the defective or inactive gene and carries out its functions. The therapy has the highest chances of developing a permanent cure if introduced in the earliest stages of life.
Detailed Insight: Gene Therapy
Medical diagnosis is another application of biotechnology in the health sector. The symptoms caused by pathogens are the only indication that we are diseased. However, many will be late to diagnose this and the pathogen concentration might be already high by this time. Hence, early diagnosis and knowledge of pathophysiology are essential for an effective cure. This can be achieved with the help of techniques such as Recombinant DNA technology, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Enzyme-Linked Immuno-sorbent Assay (ELISA), etc. PCR amplifies the pathogen before it starts to produce signs and symptoms.
Detailed Information: ELISA Technique
Biotechnology scope is very wide, it has been used in various fields and many industries. However, its applications in the field of medicine garner more interest as its implications are revolutionary. From gene therapy to molecular diagnosis, the technological advancements in this field have opened up new frontiers and eliminated drawbacks or bottlenecks that have plagued mankind for ages.
Learn more about Biotechnology, its applications, importance and other related topics @ BYJU’S Biology