INTRODUCTION TO PERSPECTIVES IN BIOTECHNOLOGY


 Introduction 

Plant, animal and microbes have been used by humans for nutrition and development of products for consumption such as beer or bread. Understanding of Physical phenomenon has allowed the invention of different types of electronic gadgets, machines, devices and altogether these have been used to increase the efficiency of human activities. Technological advancement has also allowed him to exploit plant, animal and microbial wealth to provide products of commercial or pharmaceutical importance. All these activities (research and development) fall under the big umbrella of biotechnology. In simpler word, Biotechnology is the summation of activities involving technological tools and living organism in such a way that it will enhance the efficiency of production. 


In simpler terms Biotechnology can be Defined as  ‘’Technology that is derived from living things and their natural processes’’.
General Categories
• Medical Biotechnology-Vaccines, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals
• Industrial Biotechnology - Enzymes and microorganisms for processing products
• Environmental Biotechnology - Microorganisms for bioremediation
• Agricultural Biotechnology – Enhanced crops, feed and fertilizers
Medical Biotechnology
• Diagnostics
• Pharmaceuticals

Medical Biotechnology
• Diagnostics
• Pharmaceuticals– Antibiotics, vaccines, chiral molecules etc
• Gene Therapy
• Vaccines
• Xenograft and transplants etc..
 • Antibody production – Immunoglobins 
• Recombinant protein- e.g Insulin

Agricultural Biotechnology
•Enhanced Plants– Genetically Modified Plants (GMO)
– Insect Resistance
– Herbicide Resistance
– Increased Nutrition
•Enhanced Animals characteristics

Environmental Biotechnology
- Microorganisms for bioremediation
• Miniature toxin demolition machines
- Green technology for decontamination
• Plants also take toxins: Phytomediation

Lastly we also have industrial biotechnology which uses basic and advanced biological concepts to produce arrays of industrially important goods and services.


              IMPACT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY

Biotechnology is producing a scientific revolution. Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in biotechnology, the application of genetic engineering to practical human health problem. The first and perhaps most obvious commercial application of genetic engineering was the introduction of gene encoding clinically important proteins into bacteria.

Human insulin: the first commercially produced genetic engineered product.
The human insulin extracted from these bacterial cells, called recombinant human insulin, can be given to diabetic patient.

With similar approach, other medically important proteins as well as vaccines are now manufactured .

Biotechnology is revolutionizing agriculture. It increases yields and resistance to pests, improving nutritional values, and producing animals or crops with desirable traits.
For instance, In 1999, over half of the 72 million acres planted with soybeans in US were planted with seeds genetically modified to be herbicide resistant,
• so less tillage has been needed, soil erosion lessened
• cultivation of crops become cheaper and more efficient
• the food cost less to get it to your table !

The real promise of agricultural biotechnology is to produce genetically modified crops with desirable traits that can directly benefit the consumer.

The new and emerging tools of biotechnology offer significant opportunities to enhance agricultural productivity, food and nutritional security, and environmental quality worldwide. Some countries have already developed and commercialized genetically engineered transgenic crops. Many developing countries have initiated biotechnology research and development programs to benefit from the new tools of biotechnology. Several developing countries are also importing products of biotechnology.

The use, deployment and importation of biotechnology products, however, have raised worldwide a number of regulatory issues related to risk/benefit analysis associated with biodiversity, the environment, and human health. The issue of environmental and food safety risk-assessment and management becomes increasingly critical as we move along the development continuum from laboratory research to research field trials and large-scale commercial releases of biotechnology products

To ensure that benefits are maximized and risks are minimized, nations at all levels of development are addressing the environmental and health aspects by implementing biosafety guidelines for the safe use of genetic engineering and its products. In addition, research partnerships between developed and developing nations are stimulating considerations and development of biosafety guidelines/laws that fit with international biosafety treaties and agreements.



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