What is Biotechnology?
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.
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 use of Biotechnology in the fields Agriculture is known as Green Biotechnology or the Green Revolution. There is a huge contribution towards the improvement of agriculture and they include:
- Organic agriculture
- Agro-chemical based agriculture
- Genetically engineered crop-based agriculture.
The application of Biotechnology has succeeded in increasing the yield and the food supply by triple times. 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 Organisms generally includes plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi, whose genes are altered by manipulation. BT cotton, BT brinjal, golden rice are few examples of Genetically Modified Crops.
- Applications of Biotechnology in Medicine
The recombinant DNA technological processes have made an immense impact in the area of healthcare by permitting mass production of safe and more effective therapeutic drugs. The use of biotechnology in medicine is known as Medicinal Biotechnology.
In the field of medicine, genetic engineering is mainly used to make various biopharmaceutical drugs including:
The genetically modified insulin known as Humulin, which is used to treat a large number of diabetes patients.
Biotechnology has given rise to a technique known as gene therapy to remove the genetic defect in embryo or child. Other applications of Biotechnology in the field of medicines and molecular diagnosis includes:
- ELISA to detect different diseases.
- PCR to detect HIV in AIDS patients.
- Transgenic Animals.
Transgenic animals can be defined as those animals in which a new or altered gene has been experimentally inserted into their genome by genetic engineering techniques.
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 production of transgenic animals are:
- For the production of Biological products.
- To study the different types of diseases.
- To understand 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 functions of the body and its development.
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?
Learn more about Biotechnology and its applications from the topics given below: