Biotechnology branch of biology deals with the the techniques of using living organism or enzymes to produce useful product for human welfare.

European federation of biotechnology (EFB) has has given a defination of biotechnology from both traditional and modern molecular biotechnology point of view. The definition given by EFB is as follows :

The integration of natural science and organisms,cells,parts thereof, and molecular analogues for products and services”

Engineer Karl Ereky first coined the term ‘biotechnology‘ in 1919, meaning the production of products from raw materials with the aid of living organisms 

Humans have used biotechnology since the dawn of civilization. Egyptians used yeasts to bake leavened bread, the Chinese developed fermentation techniques for brewing and cheese making, and the Aztecs used Spirulina algae to make cakes. Today, when most people think of biotechnology, they probably think of recombinant DNA. Although much of modern biotechnology does deal with manipulating DNA, classical biotechnology began long before we even knew about genes or chromosomes. What began as recipes for production of food now includes technology to enhance everything from farming to pharmaceuticals.

principles of biotechnology.

Traditional biotechnology

Traditional biotechnology refers to ancient ways of using living organisms to make new products or modify existing ones. An example of traditional biotechnology is what human beings have been doing for centuries: cloning plants. Each time a little branch is cut off from a plant and placed in soil to grow a new plant, cloning occurs. Over the past 30 years, biologists have increasingly applied the methods of physics, chemistry and mathematics in order to gain  precise knowledge.

Modern biotechnology

Modern biotechnology we are not only doing the physical manipulation at the visual level but also at the molecular level. In modern molecular biotechnology, we select the desired characteristic at the molecular level and add it to the organism’s genetic makeup. Whereas traditional biotechnology exploits  the potential of processes performed by living organisms, such as fermentation, modern biotechnology manipulates the genes of organisms and inserts them into other organisms to acquire the desired trait. 

However, both traditional and modern biotechnology share the same foundation:  the use of living organisms to enhance crops, fuels, medical treatments and other tools to help humans.

Among many, the two core techniques that enabled birth of modern biotechnology are:

1. Genetic engineering : Techniques to alter the chemistry of genetic material (DNA and RNA),to introduce these into host organisms and thus change the phenotype (physical character) of the host organisms.

2.Chemical engineering : Maintance of sterile microbial contamination free ambience in chemical engineering processes to enable growth of only the desired microbe/ eukaryotic cell in large quantities for the manufacturing of biotechnological products like antibiotics, vaccines, enzymes, etc.

Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer in 1972 isolated the first recombinant DNA and the antibiotic resistance gene by cutting out a piece of DNA from a plasmid( autonomously replicating circular extra- chromosomal DNA) which was responsible for conferring antibiotic resistance.

The cutting of DNA at specific locations became possible with the discovery of the so- called ‘molecular scissors’ – Restriction enzymes

Biotechnology is the emerging field nowadays and in coming future it will be the important part For the development of the country. By manipulating genes we can produce more and more useful products for the human welfare.

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