Biotechnology is the use of organisms, their parts or processes, for the manufacture or production of useful or commercial substances and for the provision of services such as waste treatment. The word denotes a wide range of processes from the use of bacteria as a source of medicines (antibiotics), use of a stem cell to produce an entire animal anew, using an insect to make enzymes. After the discovery of cell biology, biochemistry and molecular biology ‘modern biotechnology’ advanced. Before we proceed further, let us get familiar with some basic terms.
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Cells are the basic building blocks in our body and the entire living world around us. Human body is composed of trillions of cells. Cells although microscopic perform important functions like providing energy to cells and carry out specialised functions. Cells make copies of hereditary material present inside the nucleus which is passed from generation-to-generation. Cells have many organasims generation-to-generation. Cells have many organelles (parts) such as plasma membrane, cytoplasm nucleus etc.plasma Membrane Plasma membrane is the outer covering of the cell and it protects the cell.
It allows nutrients to enter the cells and removes waste from the cell. Cutoplasm Cytoplasm is a jelly like fluid and other structures that surround the nucleus. Nucleus Nucleus is the command centre of the cells directing its growth, maturity, division and death. It contains hereditary material that is passed on from one generation to other. Nucleus has its own nuclear membrane. This is the area of the cell that biologist and biotechnologist explore. They process the cell’s genetic instructions to create proteins. These organelles can free float in the cytoplasm or are attached to endoplasmic reticulum.
DNA is a complex organic compound and is a class of nucleic acid molecules called Deoxyribo Nucleic acid. DNA is a master material of every cell. In every cell DNA is same in a person however every individual has different DNA this makes very individual unique from others. DNA is made of up of two long-paired strands spiraled into the famous double helix. Each strand contains millions of chemical building blocks called bases. DNA is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms expect rheo virus and Tobacco Mosaic Virus (have RNA as genetic material). Mitochondria has a small amount of DNA also called mitochondrial DNA. Information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four chemical bases: Adenine ‘In 1953, James D Watsonand (A), Guanine (G), Cytosine(C) and Thymine (T).
Human DNA consists of about 3 billion bases and more than 99% of bases are same in of DNA at Cambridge University. Later all human beings. The arrangement of these bases in genes determines the all three Watson, Crick, Wilkins information stored in the cell or DNA. The unique character of DNA is that it received the Noble Prize in Medicine coordinates the making of itself and also other proteins. If these bases are slightly for the discovery of the DNA’s changed then the information also changes which in turn can lead to serious structure. consequences. The cell dies if, DNA is changed beyond repair. Changes in the DNA of the cell in multicellular organisms produce variations in the characteristics of a species.
Each cell in the human body contains about 25000 to 35000 genes. Genes carry the information that determines our traits, which are features or characteristics that are passed on or inherited from our parents. e.g. if both the parents have green eyes, one might inherit the trait for green eyes from them. Or if mother has freckles, child might have freckles too because child inherited the trait for freckles. Genes aren’t just found in humans, all animals and plants have genes, too. The chromosomes and genes are made up of DNA.
In humans, a cell nucleus contains 46 individual chromosomes or 23 pairs of chromosomes (chromosomes come in pairs, 23 2 = 46). The first twenty two of the pairs are called autosomes; the final pair of chromosomes are called sex chromosomes, X and Y. The sex chromosomes determine whether The baby is a boy or a girl: females have two X chromosomes while males have one X and one Y. But not every living thing has 46 chromosomes inside of its cells. For instance, a fruit fly cell only has four chromosomes!
Genes are found on tiny structures called chromosomes. And chromosomes are found inside cells. Body is made of billions of cells. Chromosomes come in matching set of two (or pairs) and there are thousands of genes in just one chromosome.
CLASSIFICATION OF BIOTECHNOLOGY
The field of biotechnology has accelerated to various dimensions and is still progressing. Till date biotechnology can be classified into five types based on colours.
It brings together all those biotechnology uses connected to medicine. Red biotechnology includes producing vaccines and antibiotics, developing new drugs, molecular diagnostics techniques, on regenerative therapies, and the development of genetic engineering to cure diseases through genetic manipulation. Some relevant examples of red biotechnology are cell therapy and regenerative medicine, gene therapy and medicines based on biological molecules such as therapeutic antibodies.
It comprises all the biotechnology uses related to industrial processes – that is why it is also called industrial biotechnology’. White biotechnology pays a special attention to design low resourceconsuming processes and products, making them more energy efficient and less polluting than traditional ones. There can be found many examples of white biotechnology, such as the use of microorganisms in chemicals production, the design and production of new materials for daily use (plastics, textiles) and the development of new sustainable energy sources such as biofuels.
It includes all those applications of biotechnology directly related to the environment. These applications can be split up into two main branches: biodiversity maintenance and contaminants removal.
Regarding the first, it should be mentioned the application of molecular biology to genetic analysis populations and species that are part of ecosystems, their comparison and classification and also cloning techniques aimed to preserve species and genome storage technologies. As for pollutants removal of bioremediation, grey biotechnology uses microorganisms and plants to isolate and dispose of different substances such as heavy metals and hydrocarbons, with the added possibility of subsequently making use of these substances or by-products from this activity.
It is focused on agriculture as working field. Green biotechnological approaches and applications include creating new plant varieties of agricultural interest, producing biofertilizers and biopesticides, using in vitro cultivation and cloning plants The first approach is the one to undergo further development and attract the most interest and social controversy. Producing modified plant varieties are based almost exclusively on transgenesis or introducing genes of interest from another variety or organism into the plant. Three main objectives are pursued by using this technology.
Firstly, it is expected to get varieties resistant to pests and diseases eg. currently used and marketed maize 4 varieties resistant to pests such as corn stalk borer. Secondly, use of transgenic plants is aimed at developing varieties with improved nutritional properties (e.g. higher content of vitamins). Finally, transgenesis in plants is also studied as a means to develop plant varieties able to act as bio-factories and produce substances of medical, biomedical or industrial interest in quantities easy to be isolated and purified.
It is based on the exploitation of sea resources to create products and applications of industrial interest. Taking into account that the sea presents the greatest biodiversity, there is potentially a huge range of sectors to benefit from the use of this kind of biotechnology. Many products and applications from blue biotechnology are still object of study and research, although some of them are actually used on a daily basis.
APPLICATION OF BIOTECHNOLOGY
Biotechnology can be applied in forests and especially plantations to improve fibre production and to protect trees. When exotic tree species were initially planted in South Africa, it was observed that stunted growth occurred due to the absence of mycorrhizal symbionts. Soil, containing these fungi, was then introduced into the country to improve growth of trees. Today, it is believed that fiber production can be improved by inoculating seedlings with more efficient mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhizal fungi enhance plant growth through improvement of mineral and water absorption, protection against pathogens and even secretion of growth enhancing hormones.
Micro-organisms are used in food processing industry like yeast extract to make bread. Vitamins are made on commercial scale like B12. Genetically improved lactic acid bacteria are used to make cheese. Two amino acid in aspartame (artificial sweetner) are made from bacterial fermentation. Nutraceuticals an indication of their role as a cross between nutritional supplement and pharmaceuticals.
Nutraceuticals include antioxidant and oils or acids to reduce cancer risk.
Environmental biotechnology is a system of scientific and engineering knowledge related to the use of micro-organisms and their products in the prevention of environmental pollution through biotreatment of solid, liquid and gaseous wastes, bioremediation of polluted environments and biomonitoring of environment and treatment processes.
The advantages of biotechnological treatment of wastes are biodegradation or detoxication of awide spectrum of hazardous substances by natural microorganisms; availability of a wide range of biotechnological methods for complete destruction of hazardous wastes; and diversity of the conditions suitable for biodegradation.
The main considerations for application of biotechnology in waste treatment are technically and economically reasonable rate of biodegradability or detoxication of substances during biotechnological treatment, big volume of treated wastes and ability of natural microorganisms to degrade substances..
Industrial or white biotechnology uses enzymes and micro-organisms to make biobased products in sectors, such as chemicals, food and feed, detergents, paper and pulp, textiles and bioenergy (such as biofuels or biogas). In doing so, it uses renewable raw materials and is one of the most promising, innovative approaches towards lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
The application of industrial biotechnology has been proven to make significant contributions towards mitigating the impacts of climate change in these and other sectors. In addition to environmental benefits, biotechnology can improve industry’s performance and product value and, as the technology develops and matures, white biotechnology will yield more and more viable solutions for our environment. These innovative solutions bring added benefits for both our climate and our economy.
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