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Biotechnology and Its Principle

Last Updated : 22 Nov, 2023
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Biotechnology can be outlined as the vast area of biology that uses the technology and the understanding of living organisms and their building blocks to develop, enhance, and produce applicative products for human well-being. The term ‘ Biotechnology’ was chased in 1919 by an agrarian mastermind Karoly Ereky; hence he’s called the Father of Biotechnology. Karoly Ereky was known as the Father of Biotechnology as he coined the term itself in 1919. Biotechnology results in the production of beneficial products which are altered according to the requirements of an individual. Biotechnology these days has been catering to major sectors of Health, Medicine, and Agriculture.


Principles of Biotechnology

Biotechnology encompasses a wide range of fields under it. The major principles are listed below:

  • Genetic Engineering: This part involves the manipulation of the gene to its base level, to produce artificially enhanced organisms. This further includes DNA cloning and Recombinant DNA technology. DNA cloning results in the production of multiple DNA copies of a particular DNA. On the other hand, recombinant DNA technology involves the removal or insertion of small gene/DNA parts to produce a different gene expression.
  • Chemical Engineering: In this, a large number of Microbes are produced under sterile conditions, which are further utilized to produce modified antibiotics, medicines, and vaccines. Biotechnology helps us in the development of quantitative and qualitative products.

Genetic Engineering and its Process

DNA cloning and recombination are two major techniques that come under genetic engineering. They have been explained as follows:

DNA Cloning

DNA cloning helps in the production of multiple copies of the target DNA. It utilises the vector, which is a piece of the DNA that can replicate itself. The DNA to be replicated is inserted into the vector , which then replicates to produce multiple copies of the DNA. A suitable vector should possess the following properties:

  • It should be small in size, but can carry a large piece of DNA.
  • It should possess an Origin of Replication, which allows it to replicate autonomously.
  • It should have a restriction site and multiple cloning sites should be available.

Recombinant DNA Technology

Another name of genetic engineering is Recombinant DNA technology. This process allows the joining of two DNA molecules from two different organisms using enzymes. Following are the steps required for recombining DNA:

  1. The first step involves the isolation of DNA.
  2. Enzyme Restriction endonuclease helps in the fragmentation of DNA.
  3. Ligation of the target DNA into the vector.
  4. Recombinant DNA vector is transferred into the host.
  5. The desired product is extracted.

Applications of Biotechnology Principles

Biotechnology can be employed in multiple fields which are given below:

  • In Agriculture: When Biotechnology was combined with agriculture, it resulted in the great Green revolution. Crops which are resistant to diseases are called GM crops or Genetically Modified Crops. Tissue culture has been used to produce large copies of plants fom only a piece of tissue. Chemical fertilizers were largely substituted with biofertilizers such as Rhizobium.
  • In Medicine: Recombinant DNA technology has led to the production of therapeutic drugs. These are targeted drugs that work only for a specific receptor. E.g. Vaccines for diseases such as COVID-19, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are produced using recombinant DNA technology. Diseases such as SCID can be treated using gene therapy, in which a healthy gene is inserted into the host to correct the defective gene.
  • In Industry: Biofuel is produced from renewable sources such as corn and algae.These help in reducing greenhouse emissions. Another very important use is Bioremidiation. Bioremidiation is the use of microorganims to clean up pollution. Food industry also uses biotechnology to make wine, bread using fermentation technique.

Types of Biotechnology

The biotechnology field is further divide into different categories:

  1. Medical Biotechnology: This field includes the development of medicines, vaccines, diagnostic tools and gene therapies.
  2. Agricultural Biotechnology: This field deals with the development of pest resitant crops using Genetically modified organisms.
  3. Environmental Biotechnology: This involves using microorganisms for treating pollution and developing sustainable practices.
  4. Industrial Biotechnology: In this field, microorganisms and enzymes are utilised for the development of industrial products such as bio-fuels.
  5. Bioinformatics: This involves utilising the biological data and converting it for analysing genomes and understanding the central dogma of biology.
  6. Food Biotechnology: This covers the use of enzymes in food processing, the creation of food additives, and the genetic engineering of crops.
  7. Nano-biotechnology: It combines biotechnology and nanotechnology to develop new tools and uses at the nanoscale.

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FAQ’s – Biotechnology and Its Principle

1. Define Biotechnology.

The utilisation of biomolecular processes and techniques to that aid in the development of organisms across the planet is called Biotechnology.

2. What is the underlying principle of Biotechnology?

The main principle of biotechnology is to alter the normal processes of living organisms to create new products that may benefit humans and other living beings.

3. What is the main aim of Biotechnology?

The main aim of biotechnology is to harness the biological potential of living organisms to create better and advanced products and processes for humans.

4. What are 2 risks of Biotechnology?

The two risks of Biotechnology are:

  1. One of the biggest risks of biotechnology is the potential for sideeffects. For example, Genetically enhanced crops could cross-pollinate with wild plants, resulting in new weeds that maybe resistant to Herbicides.
  2. Another risk of Biotechnology is that it could be used for unethical purposes.

5. How does Biotechnology impact society?

Biotechnology aids society by developing advanced healthcare diagnostics which can help save millions of lives. Vaccines can be developed for unknown disease like covid by synthesising them chemically in a lab.

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