Biotechnology is defined as the broad area of biology which uses both the technology and the application of living organisms and their components to develop, modify and to produce a useful product for human welfare. The term ‘Biotechnology’ was coined in the year 1919 by an agricultural engineer Karoly Ereky, hence he is called as the father of Biotechnology.
Let us have a look at some of the important applications of Biotechnology.
Applications of Biotechnology
Biotechnology is widely used in different fields to modify and produce a useful product for human benefits. These applications include:
Applications of Biotechnology in Agriculture
The application of Biotechnology in the field of agriculture is known as Green Biotechnology or Green Revolution. Biotechnology has contributed a lot to the field of agriculture and they include:
- Organic agriculture
- Agro-chemical based agriculture
- Genetically engineered crop-based agriculture.
The application of Biotechnology has tripled the yield and the food supply. Apart from the regular crop production, pest-resistant plants and genetically modified crops are introduced to increase food production and to feed the growing human population.
Genetically modified crops have their genes altered by inserting the genes with desired characteristics. Bt cotton, Bt brinjal, golden rice are a few examples of Genetically modified crops.
Applications of Biotechnology in Medicine
The recombinant DNA technology has added to the advancements in the field of healthcare by permitting mass production of safe and more effective therapeutic drugs.
The drugs are mainly produced by the process of genetic engineering. Humulin, the genetically modified insulin, is used to treat diabetes is produced through genetic engineering.
Biotechnology has developed gene therapy which helps in the removal of the genetic disorders in the embryo. Other applications of Biotechnology in the field of medicines and molecular diagnosis include:
Transgenic animals can be defined as those animals in which a new or altered gene has been experimentally inserted into the genome by genetic engineering technique.
Few examples of transgenic animals are rats, rabbits, pigs, sheep, cows, fish, etc. Among all other transgenic animals, the mouse is the existing transgenic animal.
The main aim behind the creation of transgenic animals are:
- For the production of Biological products.
- To study the different types of diseases.
- To study the contribution of genes in the development of the disease.
- For testing the safety of vaccines and toxicity of drugs before they are used on humans.
- To study how genes are regulated and how do they affect the normal functioning of the body and its development.
Applications in Aquaculture
Biotechnology applications help in the improvement of quality and quantity of fish. The gonadotropin-releasing hormone is introduced into the fish to enhance breeding. This helps in enhancing growth and improving their genetic characteristics. It also prevents a number of diseases.
Production of Antibiotics
Biotechnology helps in the production of vaccines, antibiotics and artificial hormones, using plants. Genes with desired characteristics are introduced into the plants to manufacture the encoded proteins. Edible vaccines are cost-effective, can be easily stored and administered in the body. These are used to cure diseases such as measles, hepatitis, cholera, etc.
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Few Important Questions
- What is gene therapy?
- What are Pest Resistant Plants?
- What are the advantages of golden rice?
- What are transgenic Animals? Explain with examples.
- List out the applications of Biotechnology in the field of medicines and healthcare?