Biotechnology is the important component of life sciences which is the integration of biology and technology in order to produce products or services for human use. The term was coined by the American biologist Thomas J. Davenport, who used it in his book “The New Genetics” published in 1958. In this book, he defined biotechnology as the application of biological sciences to industry and commerce with a view toward improving health, food, energy, environment, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, medicine, public safety, and national security.
Biotechnology is the science that deals with living organisms, their structure, function, development, evolution, genetics, physiology, pathology, nutrition, reproduction, growth, and behavior. It also includes the study of the effects of these processes on the environment. Biotechnologies are now being applied in many areas of life such as medical care, environmental protection, agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, and research. They have been widely used in the production of drugs, vaccines, foods, cosmetics, agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, research. They have been used in the production of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, plastics, paints, fabrics, paper, textiles, and other materials. Biotechnology is an important tool in modern society. Biotechnology has made possible the discovery of new medicines, improved crop yields, more efficient methods of producing food, safer drinking water, better animal feed, and cleaner air.
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History of biotechnology
The history of biotechnology can be traced back to the early 19th century when Louis Pasteur discovered that microorganisms could cause disease. The first major breakthrough in the field was the discovery of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. This discovery led to a revolution in biology, which resulted in the development of recombinant DNA technology (RDT). In 1974, Paul Berg published his book “Molecular Biology of the Gene”, which became one of the most influential books in the field of molecular biology. Since then, Recombinant DNA Technology has become an integral part of biological sciences.
The first commercial application of biotechnology was the production of insulin for diabetes treatment. It was developed by Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best at the University of Toronto in 1921. However, it took almost 50 years before this product reached the market. In 1981, Genentech Inc. was established to develop humanized antibodies. In 1982, Genentech produced the first monoclonal antibody against cancer. In 1986, Genentech introduced Humulin, the world’s first commercially available recombinant human insulin.
The modern biotechnology sector is growing at a rapid pace. It is estimated that the global biotechnology market size was $200 billion in 2010. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is expected to reach $300 billion by 2020. The United States leads the world in terms of biotechnology investment. The U.S. government spends over $41.7 billion every year on biomedical research. As per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. invests nearly 20% of its total budget in biomedical research.
The biotechnology industry employs approximately 1 million people worldwide. A large number of these employees are employed in pharmaceutical companies. However, the demand for skilled workers is increasing day by day. Therefore, the employment rate is expected to increase significantly in the coming years.
Four main types of Biotechnology:
- Medical Biotechnology (Red)
- Industrial Biotechnology (White)
- Environmental Biotechnology (Green)
- Marine Biotechnology (Blue)
Approaches and tools in Biotechnology
There are two approaches in biotechnology:
- the classical approach
- the systems approach
The classical approach involves the use of traditional laboratory techniques. These include cell culture, genetic transformation, protein purification, etc. The systems approach focuses on the whole organism or ecosystem. It uses mathematical modeling, computer simulation, and computational analysis to understand how the system works and to predict its future behavior.
Applications of Biotechnology
Biotechnology is being used in a variety of industries including food processing, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, energy, environment, and medicine. Some of the applications of biotechnology include:
Biotechnology and Food Science
Food biotechnology refers to the use of biotechnological methods to improve the quality and safety of foods. It includes the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), fermentation, and enzyme engineering. Currently, GMOs have been approved for sale in many countries. They are grown in large quantities and sold directly to consumers without passing through any government approval process. Due to their high yield and low cost, they are rapidly replacing conventional crops. For example, corn, soybeans, and cotton are now mostly GMO-based. Fermentation also plays an important role in the food industry. It is used to make cheese, wine, beer, yogurt, and vinegar. Enzymes are another essential part of the food industry. They play a key role in food preparation and preservation. Most enzymes are derived from microorganisms. They are used in the dairy, meat, and vegetable industries.
The pharmaceutical industry uses biotechnology extensively. Pharmaceutical companies use recombinant DNA technology to create vaccines against diseases like AIDS, cancer, and malaria. Other biotechnologies include tissue culturing, stem cell research, and bioinformatics. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can become any type of cell in the body. They are found in embryos, adult tissues, and umbilical cord blood. They can be harvested from embryos and adult tissues. Stem cells are useful because they can be used to treat patients who suffer from genetic disorders. Bioinformatics is the study of how information is stored and processed by living things. It helps scientists understand how genes work together to form proteins. It also helps scientists identify mutations in genes associated with the disease.
Environmental biotechnology deals with environmental issues such as pollution, waste management, air, and water purification, and climate change. The main goal of environmental biotechnology is to minimize or eliminate harmful effects caused by human activities. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to develop new technologies that can clean up polluted areas and remove pollutants from the environment.
In recent years, there has been increased interest in using renewable energy sources. Biofuels are fuels produced from biological materials. Examples of biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol is made from sugar cane, corn, wheat, and other plants. Biodiesel is made from oilseeds, animal fats, and recycled cooking oils. Both these types of fuel are more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. However, they still produce carbon dioxide during combustion. This makes them less desirable than fossil fuels. There is currently no way to completely avoid producing carbon dioxide. Therefore, researchers are looking for ways to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. They are also searching for ways to recycle carbon dioxide back into the environment.
Biotechnology plays a vital role in agriculture and is used in the development of Agricultural products. Plants are genetically modified to make them resistant to pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals have negative side effects on humans and animals. Some crops are engineered to contain higher levels of protein than normal. Soybeans are engineered to contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Wheat is engineered to contain gluten which is used in bread making. Rice is engineered to contain lower amounts of starch which reduces its weight and increases shelf life. The world’s population continues to grow at an alarming rate. As people live longer, they require more food. Food production must be increased to meet the demand. Biotechnology is being used to improve the efficiency of farming. New varieties of seeds are developed to help increase crop yield. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are also being used to create pest-resistant crops.
Human Genome Project
It was a project started in 1990 to map out the entire human genome. This project was completed in 2003. It took about 10 years to do this task. There were 2 phases to this project. Phase I involved mapping out all of the DNA sequences on chromosomes 1-22 and X. Phase II involved mapping out all of the chromosomes 23 and Y. The Human Genome Project cost $2 billion dollars. Scientists hope to use the information found in the human genome to treat diseases like cancer and diabetes.
Industrial Applications of Biotechnology
There are many industrial applications of biotechnology. One example is the production of enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that speed chemical reactions. For instance, one type of enzyme speeds the breakdown of carbohydrates. Another type of enzyme speeds the formation of vitamin C. Many pharmaceutical companies have used genetic engineering to develop new drugs. Pharmaceutical companies can now manipulate genes to change how a drug works. This allows them to make better drugs with fewer side effects. Biotechnology is also used to produce vaccines.
Aspects of Biotechnology
The following aspects of biotechnology have been studied:
- Molecular Biotechnology
Molecular biology involves the manipulation of nucleic acids, including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), ribonucleic acid (RNA), and protein. Molecular biologists manipulate DNA to make changes in organisms. For example, molecular biologists have used recombinant DNA techniques to make viruses resistant to antibiotics. They have also created transgenic animals that carry a gene for a specific trait. These genetically modified animals are called GMOs. Molecular biologists are studying the structure of RNA and DNA. They are also investigating how genes work.
- Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering uses genetic technology to modify living things. Genetic engineers use recombinant DNA techniques to create GMOs. Recombinant DNA is DNA that comes from two different species. For example, scientists may take a gene from a bacterium and insert it into another organism’s genome. If the inserted gene codes for the desired characteristic, then the resulting organism will be better able to survive and reproduce. Genetic engineers may also alter the structure of an organism’s chromosomes. Chromosomes contain genes that determine characteristics such as eye color and hair color. By altering the chromosome, scientists can change the traits of an organism.
- Drug Development
The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most important sectors of the biotech industry. Pharmaceutical companies seek out drugs that treat diseases. Drugs are usually developed through research on laboratory animals. Scientists first test their drug on mice. If the results are promising, they move on to larger mammals like rabbits or dogs. Once they find a drug that works well in animals, they begin human trials. Human clinical trials involve testing the new drug on humans. The FDA requires all drugs to undergo extensive testing before being approved for sale.
- Bioprocess Engineering
Bioprocess engineering is the study of how cells function. It includes the design of bioreactors. A bioreactor is a device that keeps cells alive while they are growing. Bioprocess engineers help develop methods to grow large amounts of cells. They also help produce vaccines and proteins. They study the growth cycle of bacteria and yeast. They also investigate cell metabolism. They look at how nutrients are taken up by cells. They study how cells break down sugars and proteins.
- Bioinformatic Analysis
Bioinformatics is the application of computer science to biological problems. Bioinformaticians analyze data about genomes and proteins. They use computers to search databases of information about genes and proteins. Bioinformaticians use bioinformatics to identify genes associated with the disease. They also use bioinformatics tools to predict the effects of mutations on proteins. Structural Bioinformatics analyzes the three-dimensional structures of biomolecules. Computers are used to predict the effects of these structural changes. Functional Bioinformatics studies the interactions between molecules. This type of analysis helps researchers understand biochemical pathways.
- Cell Biology
Cell biology is the study of cells. Cellular biologists study the chemical composition of cells. They study how molecules interact inside cells. They also study how cells communicate with each other. Cellular biologists examine the role of hormones in regulating body functions. They also study the cellular basis of inherited disorders.
- Protein engineering
Protein engineering is the process of modifying existing proteins to make them more useful. Protein engineers try to improve enzymes so that they can be used to make medicines. They also try to increase the activity of antibodies. They engineer viruses to kill cancer cells. Protein engineers work on the design of artificial enzymes. These enzymes could have applications in medicine. Therapeutic proteins can come from natural sources such as milk, eggs, or blood. They can also be made in laboratories. Therapeutic proteins are used to treat cancers, autoimmune diseases, and infectious diseases.
- Food Products
Genetically modified foods are foods produced using genetic engineering. Genetically engineered food products include corn, soybeans, tomatoes, potatoes, and cottonseed oil. Some genetically engineered crops are designed to withstand herbicides. Others are designed to resist insects. Still, others are designed to produce higher yields.
- Evolutionary Biology
Evolutionary biology is the scientific discipline concerned with the theory and evidence of evolution. Evolutionary biologists study the causes and consequences of evolutionary change. They study the relationship between genetics and behavior. They also study the history of life on Earth over time.
- Drug Discovery
Drug discovery is the process of developing new drugs to cure diseases. The goal of drug discovery is to find safe and effective medications for the treatment of various diseases. New discoveries are based on finding out what happens when you take chemicals that affect different parts of the human body. Scientists often start with an initial compound and test it against many different targets. Drug development takes a long time because scientists must conduct experiments that prove whether a particular target affects the way the body works. Once they have proven their hypothesis, they may begin testing the drug in humans.
Biochemistry is the branch of chemistry that deals with the chemical processes within living organisms. It studies the structure and function of organic compounds. Biochemists study the biochemical reactions involved in metabolism. They also study the interactions between nutrients and the human body.
- Molecular Genetics
Molecular genetics is the field of biology that focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying hereditary traits. Geneticists use DNA technology to identify genes associated with specific traits. This information can help people develop treatments for genetic diseases. Geneticists also study gene regulation and protein synthesis.
How To Become A Biotech Engineer
Becoming a biotech engineer requires a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or physics. After completing your undergraduate studies, you should apply to graduate school. Graduates who wish to become biotech engineers must complete their master’s degrees in biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, microbiology, pharmacology, physiology, immunology, or pathology.
Where and what do biotechnologists work on
Biotechnologists work at pharmaceutical companies, research labs, universities, government agencies, hospitals, and many more places. Biotechnologists work on developing new drugs, performing genetic tests, studying diseases, and designing new vaccines. Their jobs require them to use a wide range of skills such as science, engineering, mathematics, computer programming, and much more.
How Much Can You Make Working in Biotech
Pharmaceutical Company: Pharmaceutical industry hires biotechnologists to design and produce new drugs. These companies spend billions of dollars each year researching new medicines. They need talented individuals to create new products. In addition, pharmaceutical companies employ biologists to perform genetic tests. They look for people with advanced knowledge in genetics.
Biotechnology companies: Biotechnology companies are some of the largest employers in the world. These businesses develop medical treatments and other products using biological materials. Some examples of biotechnology companies include Amgen, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, Pfizer, Moderna, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Biomarin Pharmaceuticals, and Incyte Corp.
Universities offering Biotechnology Programs
There are several schools that offer bachelor’s degrees in Biotechnology. The degree usually takes four years to complete. A student must take courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, and engineering. After completing the bachelor’s degree students can apply to graduate school to earn their master’s or doctoral degrees.
The following universities have accredited programs in Biotechnology:
- Harvard University
- University of California at Berkeley
- University of Connecticut
- University of Florida
- University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
- University of Maryland
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of Oregon
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Rochester
- Yale University
Graduate Programs in Biotechnology
Doctoral Level Study in Biotechnology is an advanced level study that focuses on the development of new drugs and therapies for diseases. Students who want to pursue Doctoral-level studies should be well versed with basic concepts of molecular biology and genetics. They should also know how to design experiments and analyze data. Doctoral level research involves developing new methods and techniques to treat various disorders. The candidate has to work closely with experts in the field and collaborate with them to develop new drugs and therapies. Doctoral level researchers may also need to conduct clinical trials to test the effectiveness of these treatments.
A doctorate is awarded after the completion of a dissertation based on original research. The dissertation is the culmination of the doctoral program. In most cases, it consists of a series of papers describing the results of the research.
How do I get a job in a Biotech company
If you want to pursue a career in biotechnology, then you need to do your research about this industry. You should know what kind of jobs are available in this field. You should also know what skills are required for these positions. If you have decided to enter into this field, then there are some steps which you should follow:
- Choose Your Career Path
Before choosing any course, you should decide what path you would like to follow. There are many options available for you to choose from. So, you should consider all aspects before making your final decision.
- Learn About the Industry
You should learn about the basics of the industry so that you will be able to understand how things work around here. By learning more about the industry, you will be able to make informed decisions.
- Find Out What Skills Are Required
You should always keep yourself updated with the latest trends in the market. This will help you to get the best job opportunity. You should try to acquire as much knowledge as possible about the company where you want to work.
- Get Some Experience
Once you are done with your education, you should start working right away. Work experience is very important if you want to secure good opportunities in the future. You should focus on getting hands-on experience by doing internships or volunteering. These experiences will help you gain valuable real-world
- Networking Is Important
Networking is one of the most important things that you should do while pursuing your career. Make sure that you attend events related to your area of interest. You should go to conferences and seminars to meet other professionals.