“The integration of natural science and organisms, cells, parts thereof and molecular analogues for products and services” according to the European federation of biotechnology. Biotechnology is the use of an organism, or a component of an organism or other biological system, to make a product or process for a specific use.
The research and developmental achievements in applied biotechnology:
1. Stem cell research: Stem cells can keep dividing infinitely and have the capacity to differentiate into different types of body cells during the early development of an organism. With the help of stem cell research, it might be possible to grow these stem cells in vitro, in a lab setting, and then implanted back into the affected individual’s body.
2. CRISPR: Clustered Regularly Interspersed Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is a new gene-editing system that has been hailed as a groundbreaking tool in medical research.
3. Targeted Cancer Therapies: Targeted cancer therapies are drugs that work either by interfering with the function of specific molecules or by only targeting known cancerous cells, in order to minimise damage to healthy cells.
4. 3D printed Organs: It has made it possible to artificially construct internal organs like heart, kidney, and liver. Doctors have been able to implant these into individuals that need them successfully.
5. Human Genome Project: This work of the HGP has allowed researchers to begin to understand the blueprint for building a person. It was officially launched in 1990 with the goal of determining the sequence of nucleotide base pairs that make up human DNA. In April 2003, the researchers announced that they had completed a preliminary sequencing of the entire human genome.
6. Genetically modified crops: Resistant to pests, improve crop yield, and have higher nutritional value. Ex: GM Soybean, Bt Brinjal
7. m-RNA vaccine: An mRNA vaccine is a type of vaccine that uses a copy of a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA) to produce an immune response. Used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
8. Assisted Reproductive Technologies: IVF, Test tube babies, etc.
How will these achievements help to uplift the poorer sections of the society?
1. Helps control epidemics and pandemics by the use of Vaccines. Ex: Malaria or COVID19
2. Bioremediation: Its purpose is the conservation and restoration of contaminated natural ecosystems. Can be used to clean polluted areas such as slums and squatter settlements.
3. Biotechnology helps in accessing health of the people from the corners of India through genome sequencing which is ultimately conducive for the government in framing targeted policy initiatives. For example: National nutrition mission, Indradhanush mission, Universal immunisation programme.
4. Stem cells help treat genetic diseases. Tribal belt suffering from Sickle cell anaemia.
5. Biotechnology helps biofortification which inturn helps in improving the nutritional quotient of the food. Helps malnourished por children. Also Biotechnology helps increase the shelf life of the food.