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Image: economist.com

By Prakriti Sapkota

Biotechnology is the use of living organisms, usually micro-organisms to provide us with a substance or a process which has wide range of applications. For e.g. Escherichia coli can be genetically modified and then used to manufacture human insulin. Biotechnology is also applied in the manufacture of antibiotics, mining of low grade ores and production of biosensors that can help to diagnose pregnancy.

People have used biotechnology for thousands of years. Yeast has been used to make wine and beer. Bacteria have been used to make yoghurt and cheese. Now, more and more uses are being found for microorganisms and this technology is expanding at a tremendous rate.

A process called as bioleaching introduced from biotechnology has been used commercially in the manufacture of metals from the ores since 1980s. In the same way, it has introduced gene therapy, recombinant DNA technology and polymerase chain retort which employ genes and DNA molecules to make a diagnosis diseases and put in new and strong genes in the body which put back the injured cells.

Likewise, biotechnology also have a greater impact in the agricultural and environmental field. It has been applied for transgenic plants/ Genetically Modified Plants (GMPs), seeds and tailor made vaccines for cancer treatment. Biotechnology has been used to make an improvement to other common ornamental plants, in particular shrubs and trees. It helps to keep our environment safe and clean for the use of future generations.

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As biotechnology is applied in many fields including medicine, it is one of the most efficient methods in the detection of diseases, environmental and agricultural hazards; control of diseases, curing of health related disorders, modification of genes, and conservation of environment and human development as a whole. Biotechnology has succeeded in creating sustainability in the overall field of science and technology and is a boon for this 21st century.


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