Since human has put his first step on earth, he is changing the earth to feed his own benefits. In this way that humanity has chosen to develop and meet his needs, the variety of tools give him a hand like, sciences, identification and information from the world around us, several technologies, etc.
One of these technologies that help us to provide our requirements and at the same time to keep and escape earth and its resources from the effects of every single action that left damaging footprints on it, is Biotechnology.
What does biotechnology mean
In general biotechnology, is refers to any intelligent human activities to produce and improve various products by using alive creatures. It has different methods such as Genetic Engineering, Protein Engineering, and Tissue Engineering.
Biotechnology contains many scientific fields like physics, mathematics, biology, and engineering sciences. All this stuff had formed this essential and unique technology. In this century biotechnology is known as one of the indexes of countries’ development because of its applications.
Evolution of biotechnology
First of all, it will be interesting to read about the process of how biotechnology got grow years ago until now. It is including three periods, first one is traditional biotechnology. In this period people were using biotechnology unknowingly, actually, they discovered the uses of this technology accidentally by the experiences.
To produce fermented products like vinegar, bread and dairy were happen in traditional biotechnology.
The second one is classic biotechnology. An important difference between traditional and classic biotechnology is that in classic biotechnology all actions and researches are conscious. In this period biotechnology could produce Foods and enzymes and antibodies by using methods like the Culture of microorganisms and also fermentation.
The third and last one is modern biotechnology which is common nowadays, in general scientists change and modify the microorganisms’ features for having products with higher quality and amount by transferring their genes.
Types of biotechnology
- Red biotechnology: It includes researches and methods which are related to producing medicine, drugs, antibiotics, etc, by using genetic engineering.
- Yellow biotechnology: Microorganisms got changed in their features and chemical makeup by some techniques such as fermentation, which was a good example of explaining yellow biotechnology. This type includes all products.
- White biotechnology: It refers to manipulating chemical formula to decrease the negative effects of industrial actions. White biotechnology keeps the water and climate-safe and declines pollution.
- Green biotechnology: This one refers to agriculture. Scientists work on transgenic plants to meet some special needs in agriculture such as biopesticides and biofertilizers. Genes transferred from living microorganisms.
- Grey biotechnology: In general this type focused on modified and unmodified microorganisms or plants in an area to discover their weaknesses and remove them by changing their gene’s combination ( genome)
- Blue biotechnology: This type is related to marine based resources. Due to the abundance of water resources, blue biotechnology can develop well. When we create transgenic aquatics or microorganisms and let them reproduce and live in water, so we’re going to have a less polluted and more healthy environment underwater.
- Gold biotechnology: To using data and computing genes and models ( microorganisms/ bacteria) for having better products in biotechnology, biotechnologists use gold biotechnology.
- Violet biotechnology: Violet biotechnology category includes ethical biotechnology and the legality of this technology’s activities.
- Dark biotechnology: this one is to create weapons and warfare products which is illegal and harms the health condition of human and also the earth.
Biotechnology in Agriculture
Applications of biotechnology are improving day by day and requests to use it are increasing. One of the fields that got changed by the hands of modern biotechnology in agriculture. We can say that biotechnology is a renascence for agriculture because biotechnology scaped it from pests, highly spraying which is harmful to the environment, destroying water and soil resources, and many more things.
To produce plants which are resistant to pests is one of the challenges that scientist has passed. Scientists transfer pest resistance genes from a special type of soil bacteria to the genes of plants. The cutout and separate this gene from the genome of bacteria. (Simply all genes and DNA’s that exist in the body is called Genome). With this method, some plants such as corn and cotton have resistant to pests.
Another example is to make tomatoes resistant to cold. These genes are transferred from a type of cold-water fish. To produce plants that can grow up well in dry and saline farms and soils, Increase or decrease the speed of fruit ripening, Seed modification to produce better and more plants, and Increase the nutritional value of products are other applications in the agriculture field. All these changes have been done by genes ( DNA, RNA, Proteins) related methods as exampled.
Application in medicine
Drugs: Pharmaceutical industry improved by methods of recombinant DNA technology (fields of biotechnology). These drugs that have been made by recombinant DNA technology don’t cause safety response but before biotechnology drugs cause fever, skin allergies, digestive system problems, etc. For instance, insulin was separating and purification from the pancreas of animals such as cows before using biotechnology, but nowadays we use recombinant DNA and make bacteria to make insulin.
Vaccine: Previous methods including to Weaken microbe or kill them and inject it. In this way, if there was a little mistake in maintenance or producing could cause illness. The vaccines that genetic engineering make don’t have these weaknesses because by using them we don’t inject any harmful bacteria or virus, we just inject the genes that cause the immune system to make more antigens to fight illness. The vaccine of hepatitis B is made with this method.
Gene therapy: Gene therapy means placing an intact copy of a gene in a cell that has an incomplete copy of the same gene. The first successful gene therapy was in 1990 on a four years old girl who had a mutated gene, this gene couldn’t make an enzyme in the immune system.
Diagnosis: Biotechnology help us to diagnose sicknesses that don’t have apparent symptoms. AIDS is one of the illnesses that biotechnology methods make it easy and as fast as it’s possible to diagnose and start treatment and prevent transmission of the virus to others.
Biotechnology use animals and in a general organism for some reasons:
- Discovering how some special genes like the genes that cause the growth of the body works in organs of livestock
- An example for studying human diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and MS.
- To produce proteins or drugs in the living animal’s body.
This application has been opposed by many people because it doesn’t care about animal rights, so it can be one disadvantage of biotechnology.