Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recent Trends in Biotechnology

Humans have used biotechnology for thousands of years. Plants,animals and even microorganisms like bacteria are used to produce some benefits to mankind.The advance of biotechnology have been relatively rapid over the last 20 years. Biotechnology is the basis for many different kinds of research in the fields of environment,food science,agriculture and medicine.New Biotechnological methods can improve and increase the efficiency of traditional technologies.

Traditional Biotechnology
Traditional biotechnology refers to ancient ways of using living organisms to make new products or modify existing ones.It includes such techniques as selective breeding,hybridization and fermentation.The most practical use is the cultivations of plants to produce food suitable to humans.The other primitive examples of biotechnology include breeding of dogs and using yeast to make bread and wine.
Modern Biotechnology
Modern Biotechnology involves the intentional manipulation of genes, cells and living tissue to produce new tissue or to generate changes in the genetic make-up of an organism.Some examples include genetic engineering,tissue culture and mutagenesis.Modern biotechnology began with the discovery of DNA in 1953.
Biotechnology Revolution
The “Dawn of Biotechnology” is considered from the first production of insulin around 1970.The first cloned sheep Dolly was made from an adult cell in 1998.In 1999 antibody analysis was made available to investigators to identify criminals.The year 2000 was one of the most defining years in biotechnology as well as human history.A breakthrough in 2001 was the completion of human genome map, a genetic map showing where the genes are located in chromosome.Biotechnology is the science for this century.
Sub Groups of Biotechnology
Modern Biotechnology is generally divided into four sub fields
  • Red biotechnology
  • White biotechnology
  • Green biotechnology
  • Blue biotechnology

    Red Biotechnology

It refers to medical applications of biotechnology such as production of antibiotics,vaccines and pharmaceuticals that are based on the re-combinant DNA technology.Red biotechnology also helps in reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization,DNA profiling,forensics and in organ transplantations.
White Biotechnology
It is the application of biotechnology for industrial purposes including manufacturing, bio-energy and bio-materials.It uses living cells - from yeast,moulds,bacteria and plants - and enzymes to synthesize products that are easily degradable, require less energy and create less waste during their production.
Green Biotechnology
It also involves the manipulation of plants and animals to produce species that are more environment friendly and productive.Green Biotechnology, also known as agricultural biotechnology, deals with applications related to agriculture.An example is the designing of transgenic plants that are modified for improved flavour, for increased resistance to pests and diseases and for enhanced growth in adverse weather conditions.Other examples include production of Bio-fuels such as ethanol or methane from crops such as corn or even from marine algae grown at land-based production facilities.
Blue technology 
The term has been used to describe the marine and aquatic applications of biotechnology.An example is land-based marine aquaculture, which is based on methods for large-scale hatching and growth of marine fishes in a completely self-contained re-circulating environment.
Multicolored biotechnology is often inter disciplinary and so many applications may be classified into more than one colour category.For example production of Biodisel fuel from agricultural or waste materials could be considered to be both white - green or white - blue, biotechnology.
Bioinformatics and Genomics
A fundamental tool for all biotech is the use of bio-informatics, an inter disciplinary field which addresses biological problems using computational techniques,often referred to as computational biology.It plays a key role in various areas such as functional genomics,structural genomics and proteomics. It is an important resource for the discovery and understanding the function of genes leading to new applications.
The Future of Biotech
Scientists have come to believe that biotechnology is a boon for human society and it has the great potential to solve many of the issues.Biotechnology has to progress to become user friendly.Plant breeders see a big future in the technology.With the emergence of genetic engineering,one can breed new varieties of crops,fruits,vegetables.The human Genome project refers to the international effort to discover all the human genes and make them accessible for further biological study.The ultimate goal is to improve human health.Scientists are now using nanotechnology to manipulate life at the atomic level.

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