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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scope of biotechnology

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Bio- technology has scope in the fields of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Molecular Medicine, Forensic Science, Microbial Genetics, Environmental Sciences etc. According to Dr. P. M. Bhargava (2003), - Biotechnology may be as old as human civilization but modern biotechnology is less than three decades old. Traditional Biotechnology that led to the development of processes for producing products like yogurt, Vinegar, alcohol and cheese was entirely empirical and bereft of any understanding of the mechanisms that led to the product. There was no possibility of a deliberate design to produce a desired new product.

Agriculture and Animal Husbandry
The scope of bio- technological applications in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry is concerned with- the development of disease and pest resistant varieties of plants and animals; the production of food containing high nutrient value; the production of vaccines and the development of drought resistant crop varieties.

Molecular Medicine
This field of Bio- technology incorporates- disease diagnosis through cultural and different biotechnological methods and through Gene Therapy (cure of diseases through improvement and modification of genes.Gene therapy is the insertion, alteration, or removal of genes within an individual's cells and biological tissues to treat disease. It is a technique for correcting defective genes that are responsible for disease development. The most common form of gene therapy involves the insertion of functional genes into an unspecified genomic location in order to replace a mutated gene, but other forms involve directly correcting the mutation or modifying normal gene that enables a viral infection. Although the technology is still in its infancy, it has been used with some success.

 Forensic Science
This science relates to the identification of criminals and researches pertaining to crime. Forensic science (often shortened to forensics) is the application of a broad spectrum of sciences to answer questions of interest to a legal system. This may be in relation to a crime or a civil action. The word forensic comes from the Latin adjective forensis, meaning "of or before the forum." In Roman times, a criminal charge meant presenting the case before a group of public individuals in the forum. Both the person accused of the crime and the accuser would give speeches based on their sides of the story. The individual with the best argument and delivery would determine the outcome of the case. This origin is the source of the two modern usages of the word forensic – as a form of legal evidence and as a category of public presentation.

 This field of bio- technology, the Forensic Science incorporates- the DNA- matching tests; the establishment of genetic relationships; DNA-mapping; DNA- Fingerprinting and Genetic Analysis etc.
 Microbial Genetics
 Microbial genetics is a subject area within microbiology and genetic engineering. It studies the genetics of micro organisms. This involves the study of the genotype of microbial species and also the expression system in the form of phenotypes. It also involves the study of genetic processes taking place in these micro organisms i.e., recombination etc.

In a nutshell, this field of bio- technology incorporates- Study of microorganisms and their genetic make up; the study of genetic behavior and possibilities of genetic alterations; recombination etc.These microbial Genetics is also concerned with the study of bio- weapons; bio-wars and bio- fuels.

Environmental Science
 This field of bio- technology incorporates- studies pertaining to the detection of microorganisms causing health hazards; environmental pollutions and the monitoring of environmental problems concerned with the living world. According to a report, “Biotechnology is also being used for dealing with environmental problems Fears are also being expressed about the implication of advances in biotechnology in terms of release of harmful organisms developed through recombinant DNA technology. In view of this, rules and laws have been framed from time to time to safeguard against the risks, which the recombinant DNA technology poses to the clean and friendly environment”.

Key Words: biotechnology, scope, agriculture, genetic engineering, gene therapy, DNA

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