Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Biotechnology - An Introduction

Biotechnology is one of the innovative branches of science. Biotechnology has created new revolutions in this era by contributing industries, medical sciences, food technologies and genetics.

"Biotechnology is basically defined as the use of living organisms, their parts and their biochemical processes for the creation of beneficial products."


The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity defines biotechnology as:

Biotechnology - An Introduction

"Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use."

History of Biotechnology

This is an incorrect perception that Biotechnology is a new field. However, this is utterly wrong. The production of yogurt and cheese from the milk is an old and simple technique of this field. Man has been using this method for centuries. Production of beer, leavening bread and making of the wine from fruit juices are some techniques of biotechnology. Humans have been using breeding techniques to produce different desirable crops and animals for many years. The use of different organisms and plants for the control of pests and nitrogen production is another example of this field. The researches of some archeologists have revealed that some of these techniques were used before 5,000 B.C.

The invention of the microscope aided the progress of biotechnology, as man got the ability to observe the small organisms. Pasture's work can also be referred as the foundation of modern biotechnology, because he showed the presence of microorganisms and their mechanism of working. On the other hand, the work of Gregor Mendel also gave rise to this field in that particular era.

History of Modern Biotechnology

Karl Ereky was the first person, who used the term "biotechnology" for some specific biological techniques to produce crops, meat and milk, in 1917. He mentioned this word in his book.

In 1953, American biochemist James Watson and British biophysicist Francis Crick presented their double-helix model of DNA. This discovery is referred as the beginning of modern biotechnology. Werner Arber discovered the special restriction enzymes for DNA. In 1973, American geneticist Stanley Cohen and American biochemist Herbert succeeded in the removal of a specific gene from a bacterium, and they inserted it into other by the help of the restriction enzymes. This invention started the era of DNA technology, commonly called genetic engineering. In 1977, attempts were made to produce insulin from bacteria by inserting human gene in it. In 1980s, The Human Genome Project was started, which is regarded as the significant project of biotechnology.

Biotechnology - An IntroductionSilver Linings Tube. Duration : 16.50 Mins.

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