Biotechnology plays a very vital role in our lives and in our daily affairs. It is referred as a field of biology that requires the use of living organisms and it’s by products for modifications of the human health and environment. It draws mainly from the biological sciences such as cell biology, genetics and microbiology although most of the time it also draws its methods from non-biological areas such as chemical engineering and information technology.
Major Applications of Biotechnology
Just some of the industrial areas where major applications of Biotechnology are highly evident are:
Health Care ( Medical field)
Crop Production and Agriculture
Non-food (industrial uses) of crops and products such as biofuels and biodegradable plastic
Biotechnology Applications in Medicine
The importance of biotechnology in enriching human life is undeniable and covers a very wide scope of coverage and processes. With the modernization and onset of more advanced technologies there are a continuous need for more product discoveries and revision and modification of previous products. One major field where Biotechnology has varied applications is in Medicine most specifically in these areas:
Pharmacogenomics – this area results to the following benefits:
Development of tailor made medicines
More accurate methods of determining appropriate drug dosages
Improvements in drug discovery and approval process
Genetic testing – this is highly substantial in detecting genetic diseases such as Down Syndrome by harnessing techniques in molecular biology
Biotechnology Advances and Developments in Agriculture
While there is a growing demand for more beneficial products and services it should be stressed how Biotechnology has brought about vital changes in recent years. One such area which has benefitted most is Agriculture which is equally important in human survival and sustenance. Just some of the advances and developments made in recent years are the following:
Ability to increase crop yield – by applying Biotechnology among various crop varieties in order to come up with better crop yield
Reduced vulnerability of crops to environmental stresses – one of the latest developments in this area is in the identification of a plant gene A+ DBF2 for plant research to carry out tests leading to this objective.
Increased nutritional qualities of food - one classic example is the development of the Golden rice initiated by Prof. Potrykus and Peter Beyer
Improved taste, texture and appearance of food – examples are the development of modified soybeans and a tomato variety transformed to delay its ripening. Delayed ripening of papaya is also currently undertaken among researchers in some Asian countries such as Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam in collaboration with the University of Nottingham and Zeneca.
Ongoing biotechnology techniques in cheese production and in bread to make it stay fresh longer.
Reduced dependence on fertilizers, pesticides and other agrochemicals
Production of novel substances in crop plants other than for food- a classic example is the discovery that oilseed can be modified to produce fatty acids for detergents.
Emerging Trends in Biotechnology
Much is still to be achieved by human minds when it comes to biotechnology advances despite the continuous efforts made by researchers and biotech experts from all over the world. Health care and the medical field, while experiencing rapid breakthroughs in recent years towards better products and treatment of diseases; is still grappling with a wave of problems. This may be due in part to the rapid population explosion in most countries all over the world owing to the still premature delivery and application of most biotech innovations.
Nevertheless, emerging trends in Biotechnology have been observed and clearly noted in recent years. One such trend is the trend in partnering and acquisition deals. This is more aptly applicable when it comes to the business perspective towards the delivery and realization of more up to date by-products.
The trend was brought about by pressing issues and problems faced by biotech companies in recent years. One such problem is in attracting capital with propositions that demand high investments. This is by far only attainable by partnering with business teams to manage portfolios and help leverage biotech companies through licensing deals towards the advancement of commercial revenue.
Alliances, so to say, has been noted in between biotech companies and pharma companies which are creating unions and a strong bond towards a more unified effort to bring about more effective advancements.
Other Noteworthy Emerging Trends and Developments in Biotechnology
Biotechnology in the production of food stuff and nutritional products
Industrial processes and environmental management such as the use of biofuels