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Biotechnology is the use of technology for modifying or manipulating a biological system for the benefits of human beings. Biotechnology utilises a living system for making different products.
Biotechnology is widely used in several fields such as agriculture, medicine, genetics and the production of various commercial products such as alcohol, wine, chemicals, etc. People have been using biotechnology for ages for brewing and baking purposes.
Also Refer: Role of Biotechnology in human welfare
What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is an amalgamation of biology and technology for our betterment and sustainable development. Modern biotechnology includes genetic engineering, bioinformatics and bioprocess engineering.
Genetic engineering is used to alter the genetic composition of an organism. It is widely used to insert a gene of choice like pest-resistant or antibiotic-resistant genes, etc. to a host by using a cloning vector. It integrates the desirable gene in the host genome and transformation can be seen in the phenotype of the host.
In Bioprocess engineering, the production of various products such as enzymes, antibodies, organic acids, vaccines, etc. is facilitated and done on a large scale. The desired microorganisms are grown under controled, sterile and suitable conditions for this purpose.
In bioinformatics, the biological data like genome and protein sequences are stored, maintained and retrieved for various purposes.
Explore more: Process Of Biotechnology
Here we will discuss the principles of biotechnology.
Principles of Biotechnology
Modern biotechnology is highly dependent on genetic engineering and bioprocess engineering.
The principle of genetic engineering is to manipulate and modify the genetic material of an organism to incorporate desirable traits. Recombinant DNA technology is the main pillar of genetic engineering.
Recombinant DNA Technology is a technique to alter the genes of an organism. The desired gene is inserted into host using recombinant DNA technology. The host shows the desired trait phenotypically, which is governed by the inserted gene.
The recombinant DNA technology involves the following main steps:
- Selection of the desired gene
- Selection of vector for the transfer of the gene known as a cloning vector, e.g. plasmid
- Insertion of recombinant DNA into the host
- Maintaining the introduced DNA in the host so that it is passed on to the next generation
Recombinant DNA Technology requires various tools like vector, host and enzymes such as restriction enzymes, ligases, polymerases, etc.
- Restriction enzymes are known as molecular scissors that cut the desired sequence of DNA.
- 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.
- This recombinant DNA along with 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.
- Many genetically modified crops are produced using this technology, e.g. Bt cotton, a pest-resistant variety of cotton.
Modern biotechnology is responsible for the advancement of the pharmaceutical industry. It helped in the production and storage of products like antibiotics, enzymes, vaccines, etc. on a large scale.
A large amount of culture can be obtained by carrying out the multiplication of organisms in the bioreactors under sterile and optimum conditions. We get a higher yield of the required product using bioprocess engineering.
Also Refer: Bioreactors
- The host organism containing the rDNA is cultured in a sterile bioreactor by providing suitable growth conditions. The products formed are either released in the growth medium or accumulated inside the cells
- 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 various processes.
- The product undergoes a strict quality check before it is subjected to further trials.
The modern processes in biotechnology are used for human welfare and have a significant impact on our life. The products have greatly enhanced various medicines and food production. Extensive research is going on in this field to combat various diseases and improve quality of life.
Also Read: Applications Of Biotechnology in Medicine
Learn more in detail about Biotechnology, its principles, process, and other related topics at BYJU’S Biology
Frequently Asked Questions on Biotechnology and Its Principles
What is bioprocess engineering?
Bioprocess engineering refers to the culturing of microorganisms in large quantities along with their downstream processing for the production of various products.
What is rDNA technology?
The rDNA technology (recombinant DNA technology) involves creating recombinant DNA by using a cloning vector and gene of interest. This rDNA has the ability to express the gene of interest in the host organism.
What is a cloning vector?
Cloning vector is also known as gene vehicle. It carries the gene of interest into the host organism. E.g.: Plasmid, BAC, retroviral vectors.
What are the steps involved in rDNA technology?
Selection of the desired gene
Selection of vector for the transfer of the gene known as a cloning vector, e.g. plasmid
Insertion of recombinant DNA into the host
Maintaining the introduced DNA in the host so that it is passed on to the next generation