Fundamental Biotechnology and Bioremediation Uses
Biotechnology is considered the commercialization of life sciences. It has a significant impact on various applied sciences, manufacturing processes, on medicine and health, and agriculture and environmental sciences. With monitoring and diagnostic systems it made giant strides in the field of health and medicine. Biotechnology plays an important role in monitoring the use of both traditional and non-conventional energy resources. Commercial biotechnology products are already available and include, for instance, new diagnostics, recombinant vaccines and therapeutic proteins, and biochips or DNA chips. The biochips or the DNA microarrays currently being produced are revolutionizing the design and output of gene analysis in the field of molecular medicine. Bioremediation technologies for the elimination of toxic factory effluents with the help of genetically-altered microorganisms, purification of rivers, fresh water ecosystems, and drinking water are now carried out commercially. In its economic potential, biotechnology runs parallel with the computer industry. The biotech industry is waiting to explode in the consumer market. Consumers are going to see scores of new biotech products, such as foods that contain vaccines or super-nutritious foods that will change the way people view agriculture.
In addition to the similarities in their economic potential, there is also a resemblance in the technical side also. There’s a parallel between genetic code and computer code. Computers and living organisms both organize their essential information in a similar fashion. Computers are directed by a series of ones and zeros, known as the binary code. All living organisms use a code made up of four parts, a quaternary code. Instead of ones and zeros, the information is conveyed by a series of four chemicals adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine which geneticists simply call A, T, G, and C. Like computer code, the arrangement of these four chemicals strung together form genes, which contain the information that tells the cells whether you are to be a linebacker-sized human or a lemming! Scientists first learned that they could manipulate these four chemicals to form new genes in the mid-1970s. The recombinant DNA technique was first developed in 1974, and today even high school kids can cut and stitch genes together. The development of this science has been mind-boggling and so has been the rise of biotech industries all over the world.
Even though the basic sciences—physics, chemistry and biology—seem to be independent of each other, they are really not. The research and development in a particular discipline is not at all possible without the involvement of other scientific disciplines. By the middle of the twentieth century there was tremendous growth in every scientific discipline because of the very close interplay of physical, chemical, and biological sciences. The close interaction of these sciences has created a large number of hybrid disciplines. This has proved that at the higher levels of study, science is interdisciplinary. Modern biotechnology is really an interdisciplinary science, which takes the fundamental principles of biological sciences and integrates it with all the other sciences including mathematics, statistics, and engineering. Recently, out of its interaction with Information Technology, a new branch has emerged Bioinformatics.
Journal of Biochemistry & Biotechnology