Biotechnology is the use of technology to modify or manipulate any biological system or living system for the development or improvement of products for various purposes.
Biotechnology is widely employed in different fields of life such as agriculture, medicines and even in genetics. The ideology of traditional biotechnology has changed a lot and there is a line of division between the traditional and the modern view of biotechnology. This difference was defined by the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) as follows:
“The integration of natural science and organisms, cells, parts thereof, and molecular analogues for products and services”.
Also Refer: Role of Biotechnology in human welfare
What is Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a wide discipline that deals with the exploitation of living organisms involving the use of technology and other living organisms, to create new techniques for our sustainable development. There are two main techniques that have given rise to modern biotechnology, genetic engineering, and bioprocess engineering.
Genetic engineering involves the alteration in the genetic material of a living organism and inserting the altered genetic material with the help of a cloning vector in the host, to transform the phenotype of the host.
In Bioprocess engineering certain specific conditions are provided to enable the growth of desired microorganisms required for the production of vaccines, enzymes, etc.
Explore more: Process Of Biotechnology
Here we will discuss the principles of biotechnology.
Principles of Biotechnology
The dawn of modern biotechnology started with two crucial technologies: genetic engineering and chemical engineering.
The principle of genetic engineering is to modify the existing organisms by changing the genetic material in them. It mainly includes recombinant DNA technology.
Recombinant DNA Technology is a technique which changes the phenotype of an organism (host) when a genetically altered vector is introduced and integrated into the genome of the organism. Inserting the desired gene into the genome of the host is not as easy as it sounds. It involves the selection of the desired gene for administration into the host followed by a selection of the perfect vector with which the gene has to be integrated and recombinant DNA formed. This recombinant DNA then has to be introduced into the host. And at last, it has to be maintained in the host and carried forward to the offsprings.
The genetic engineering or the so-called Recombinant DNA Technology requires certain tools like restriction enzymes, and vectors to carry out the entire process.
- The restriction enzymes belong to the major category of nucleases which are required to make a cut in the DNA at the respective positions.
- This DNA is then ligated into the vector with the help of ligases before inserting it into the host organism.
- The DNA-vector combination is known as the Recombinant DNA which is then transformed into the host.
- These vectors can independently replicate within the bacterial cells and are, hence, used for the transformation of the recombinant DNA within the host organism.
- This recombinant DNA, also known as the foreign DNA gets multiplied within the host.
- It is then provided with optimum conditions to induce the expression of the target protein. This protein is known as the recombinant protein.
Modern biotechnology raised the pharmaceutical industries to the peak point. Its application resulted in many biotechnological products both in terms of quantity and quality. It improved the methods of manufacturing, storage, and maintenance. Antibiotics, enzymes, vaccines, etc are a few examples.
The multiplication of the cells can also be carried out in the bioreactors where a large amount of culture is obtained leading to a higher yield of the required protein, in optimum conditions. This is known as bioprocess engineering/chemical engineering.
Also Refer: Bioreactors
- The obtained products are subjected to a series of processes before being marketed.
- The products are purified by a process called downstream processing and formulated by undergoing clinical trials.
- The product undergoes a strict quality check before it is subjected to further trials.
These principles and processes are working for human welfare and have made life a lot easier. The products thus obtained had improved the human health and food production to a great deal. Researches are being carried out in the field of biotechnology and are believed to change the entire quality of life in the near future.
Also Read: Applications Of Biotechnology in Medicine
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