An Introduction to Biotechnology

David Johnston CFO

April 12, 2023


Biotechnology uses living cells to develop or manipulate products for specific purposes, such as genetically modified foods. All living things have a hereditary material called DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid). Each unit of this material contains four nucleotides, Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, and Thymine. These nucleotides pair up in strands that twist together in a double-helix spiral structure. This is what allows DNA to be programmed to make proteins.

What Is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology is a broad field of science that includes several areas, including agriculture, medicine, and environmental engineering. Its main goal is to create new technology using living organisms and their products. In agriculture, biotechnology uses techniques such as genetic modification to create crops that can resist certain pests or grow more quickly.

It also allows farmers to use fewer pesticides and other chemicals. Likewise, medical biotechnology develops pharmaceutical drugs and other chemicals to treat diseases. It also helps us understand the biology of pathogens and improve human health.

While that has many advantages, it can also create ethical and safety concerns. It can lead to unforeseen allergies and poisonings of recombinant organisms, and it may disrupt the natural balance of ecosystems.

The History of Biotechnology

In the early years of civilization, humans began domesticating plants and animals to provide food and protect themselves from dangers. This practice of selective breeding was seen by scientists as the first form of biotechnology.

For example, cattle, sheep, and goats were bred for meat, milk, and other traits, which made them useful for farming. People also discovered how to store food for long periods in cool caves or pots filled with sour liquids.

Eventually, they learned how to produce cheese by adding rennet to sour milk. This discovery of direct biotechnology is considered one of the oldest biotech applications and was based on an understanding of microbes.

The Basics of that field

Biotechnology is a field of science that works with living cells and molecules derived from them. It combines biological sciences with engineering to create products and services that benefit human welfare.

The basic biotechnology techniques to achieve these goals include gene cloning and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). These can be applied to plants, animals, and microorganisms to help grow crops resistant to pests, yield more food, or develop new medicines and therapies.

Some biotechnological tools can also be used on an industrial scale to produce chemicals, fuels, plastics, and many other products. This is called industrial biotechnology and can lower carbon dioxide emissions by producing renewable chemical feedstocks from plant and animal sources instead of using fossil fuels for energy production.

That technology in Agriculture

Biotechnology is a collection of techniques used to improve agriculture. It includes genetic engineering of crops to increase yields and create disease resistance and biotechnology-derived vaccines used in livestock.

Plant biotechnology mainly focuses on improving crop production efficiency and developing plants that can withstand environmental stresses such as drought, flood, or frost. Other uses include adapting plants to areas not generally grown because of climate or altitude or increasing their tolerance to weeds and pests.

Biotechnology also helps improve soil quality and reduce the impact of fertilizers on natural resources such as water and land. The use of genetically modified plants for phytoremediation, which detoxify polluting substances in the soil, is another area of research.

Biotechnology in Medicine

These technologies offer several advantages over traditional medicine. For example, they can reduce side effects and improve patient outcomes. They can also increase the effectiveness of drugs and reduce the risk of drug interactions. They can also be tailored to a patient’s genetic makeup, known as pharmacogenomics.

Medical biotechnology is a growing field of science that involves preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases. Several innovative techniques, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), gene sequencing, fluorescence in situ hybridization, microarrays, and cell culture, have significantly contributed to the development of medical biotechnology.

The field of medical biotechnology has also expanded to include the manufacture of large-molecule drugs known as biologics, which are created by extracting living cells from healthy tissue and genetically engineering them. These drugs can help treat many conditions.