Keywords: importance of biotechnology, biotechnology in everyday
Biotechnology! Biotechnology! Biotechnology!!! Seems such as this word has turned into a buzz term nowadays. You can hear this term from classroom to cafeterias. It can be commonly within newspapers, magazine, publications and a variety of media outlets, which include print multimedia to electronic media. People are organizing huge meetings, conferences and workshops on biotechnology, where participants result from different arenas like knowledge, industry, administration, communal work etc. As days pass by, it looks like the way our life is heading, biotechnology can be an essential component of our life. Your day is not far from reality, that we cannot fathom our life without biotechnology. If, I have to say in simple words it can be said "we wake up with biotechnology and we go to bed with biotechnology".
The expression "biotechnology" has received its importance and relevance in last two decades, which is merely unprecedented. Probability and alternatives behind this kind of attention towards biotechnology is because of its unrestricted potential to provide and benefit humanity. Up to now biotechnology has touched our life in all respects like our food, health and animals. We've also noticed the importance and potential of biotechnology for the improvement of the environment for a better living along using its capability to meet the need of the depleting energy reserves of fossil fuels, through Bio-fuels as each one of these things have become limited for their availability to ever increasing populace. In simple terms our life starts off with biotechnologically developed tooth-paste, to driving a vehicle our car predicated on biotechnologically developed fuels and we retire for the day with bed-side medicine either to keep us healthy or control long-term disease like diabetes to make our life better. Rationally, biotechnology expression has been derived from two simple conditions of research i. e. , Biology and Technology. If we try to decipher these words, it simply advises in lay-man's term that it's the technology which is making our life convenient and comfortable with the job of natural resources. Question still remains, that is Biotechnology such a fresh branch of science? A real simple truth is that biotechnology has been around practice even a long time before the term "Biotechnology" was itself coined. It is interesting to learn and understand that how so when biotechnology evolved.
The term biotechnology was used for the very first time by Karl Erkey, a Hungarian Engineer in 1919. Was it the beginning of biotechnology, answer is not a! Down the road biotechnology was described by different scientists. As per one definition biotechnology is "Application of concepts of engineering and biological science to create new products from recycleables of biological origins, e. g. vaccines or food. " Or in other words it can also be defined as "the utilization of living organism/s or their product/s to modify or improve human health and individuals environment". Apart from their beneficial applications, biotechnological key points can be used for destruction too, the best example to describe this is "bioterrorism". Biotechnology from fiction, myth and actuality can be simply grasped by seeing a movie entitled as "Frankstein" where, a individuals known as Frankstein was created by your physician who became grounds for his destruction itself.
As we know that the scientific application of natural material is considered as biotechnology. If, we want to understand, how exactly does it work? Then it is vital for all of us to know what is the starting place or material for biotechnology or biotechnological applications. Generally biotechnology uses either living materials or biological products to build services for use in various pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural, environmental applications with an ultimate goal to profit mankind e. g. , Creation of recombinant protein, resistant crops, vegetables, higher dairy producing animals, etc.
There are various levels of development of biotechnology to meet the various needs of humans. Its development was in essence based on the observations and applications of these observations to sensible scenarios. The complexity of system and evolution has increased with time, which is based on the career of improved scientific advancements along with the better understanding about various life-science concepts. If we study systemically the evolutions of biotechnology up to its current periods, it could be divided into 3 different periods or categories 1) Ancient Biotechnology, 2) Classical Biotechnology, and 3) Modern Biotechnology. Some important discoveries related to biotechnology has been proven in Fig 1.
Most of the improvements in historic period can be grouped as the discoveries or development before the years of 1800. If we research all these development, we can merely conclude that all these inventions are based on the normal observation of mother nature, which could be put to the test for the betterment of human life at that point of time.
Food, cloth and shelter are the most important basic needs of any human being whether s/he resided in historic period or modern period like nowadays. Only thing that has improved is their type and origins. Food has been an inevitable need because the lifetime of man as well as for the lifetime of human being. Early man used to consume raw meat, whenever they found a lifeless pet animal, However, during harsh weather seasons, there is a paucity of food, in order it is stated requirement is the mother of technology, which resulted in the domestication of food product which in other words can be categorised as Agriculture. In old time real human explored the options to offer food by growing them near their shelter so that the basic need of food could be achieved. They brought seeds of plants (mainly grains) and sowed them near his shelter, where they understood the value of normal water, light and other requirements for best growth of food vegetation. The similar principles and need also led to start domestication of different wildlife which helped them to boost their living condition and today to satisfy their hunger. They need not go for hunting; as family pets are available to them at closer proximity as well as they want not to package with the dangerous condition of hunting, too. Domestication of wild animal was the beginning of observation, implication and software of animal breeding. Certainly we can say these were the original times for the evolution of farming, which resulted in another need like development of methods for food preservation and storage, where they used frosty caves to protect food for long-term storage as well as advancement for the pots for the safe-keeping of food products in the form of leather bags, clay jars, etc.
After domestication of food plants and wildlife, man moved on to other new observations like cheese, curd, etc. Certainly, cheese can be viewed as among the first immediate product (or by-product) of biotechnology, since it was prepared by adding rennet (an enzyme within the abdominal of calves) to sour dairy which can be done only by exposing milk to microbes (although this understanding was not there in those days). Yeast is one of the oldest microbes which were exploited by humans because of their profit. Yeast has been trusted for loaf of bread making, vinegar production and other fermentation operations which include production of alcohol consumption like whisky, wine beverage and beverage. Vinegar has its significant importance because of its low pH, vinegar is capable of preventing development of certain microbes, and therefore, vinegar can be used successfully for food preservation. The discoveries and benefits of these observations led people to focus on further improvement of the procedure. Fermentation was such a robust tool to improve their living conditions, even though these were ignorant about the theory behind it.
One of the oldest examples of crossbreeding for the benefit of humans is Mule. Mule is an offspring of male donkey and a female horse. People began using mule for vehicles, carrying loads and for farming when there were no tractors and pickup trucks. Mule is better to obtain than Hinny (offspring of a male horse and a lady donkey). Mule and Hinny both have a chromosome number 63 unlike horse (64) and donkey (62).
The second stage for the progression and development of biotechnology can be called as Classical Biotechnology. This stage did exist from 1800 to almost mid of 20th century. During this period various observation started out pouring together with scientific evidences, these were all very helpful towards solving the puzzle/s of biotechnology. Each and every contribution from different individuals helped to solve the puzzle and pave the road for new discoveries.
The fundamentals for the copy of genetic information are key to biotechnology. This was for the first time deciphered in seed i. e. , Pisum sativum, often called a Pea place. These observations were deciphered by Gregor John Mendel (1822-1884), an Augustinian Monk. Mendel for the time presented regulations of inheritance to the Natural Research Population in Brunn, Austria. Mendel suggested that invisible internal devices of information take into account observable features, and that these "factors"-later called as genes are passed from one generation to the next. But the miserable area of the story is the fact Mendel didn't get the anticipated recognition for his breakthrough for almost 34 yr later than his death, when other scientist like Hugo de Vries, Erich Von Tschermak, and Carl Correns validated Mendel's in 1900. The reason why Mendel's work remained unnoticed for such a long period of time was, at the same time the Charles Darwin's Theory of Advancement was so discussed which it shadowed the importance of work done by Mendel.
Almost once Robert Brown experienced found out the nucleus of skin cells, while in 1868 Fredrich Miescher, a Swiss biologist reported nuclein, a chemical substance that contain nucleic acid that he extracted from pus skin cells i. e. , White Bloodstream Cells. Both of these discoveries became the basis of modern molecular biology for the breakthrough of DNA as genetic material and role of DNA in copy of hereditary information. 1n 1881, Robert Koch, a German medical doctor described the bacterial colonies growing on potato slices (First ever before stable medium). Walter Hesse, one of the co- staff in Koch's laboratory uncovered agar when he asked her wife what retained the jelly solid even in high temperature of summer. Since then nutritional agar became the most appropriate and useful medium to obtain 100 % pure microbial culture as well as for their recognition. In 1888, Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried Von Waldeyer-Hartz, a German scientist coined the word Chromosome, which is considered as an organized framework of DNA and protein present in cells or an individual piece of coiled DNA made up of many genes, regulatory elements and other nucleotide sequences. Other discoveries during this time period were vaccination against small pox and rabies developed by Edward Jenner a English Medical professional and Louis Pasteur a French Biologist.
By this time the development and expansion of biological sciences seemed to be attaining to the exponential period. Theory of genetics in inheritance were redefined by T H Morgan who shows inheritance and role of chromosome in inheritance using Berries flies i. e. , Drosophila Melanogaster. This landmark work of T H Morgan was called as "The theory of the Gene" in 1926. Prior to the publication of Morgan's work, in 1909 the word "Gene" had already been coined by Wilhelm Johannsen (1857-1927), who referred to "gene" as carrier of heredity. Johannsen coined terms genotype and phenotype. 'Genotype' was designed to describe the genetic constitution associated with an organism, while 'Phenotype' was meant to describe real organism. By this time around genetics started increasing it importance, which lead to start out of Eugenic Movements in USA in 1924. As a result this in 1924 U. S. Immigration Act was used to limit the influx of inadequately educated immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe on the grounds of their suspected hereditary inferiority.
Almost the same time in Britain, Alexander Fleming your physician learned antibiotics, when he observed that certain microorganism may be used to kill other microorganism, a genuine representation "divide and rule" plan of humans. Fleming mentioned that all bacteria (staphylococci) died when a mold was growing in petri-dish. Later he discovered "penicillin" the antibacterial toxin from the mildew Penicillium notatum could be used against many infectious diseases. Fleming wrote, "ONCE I woke up soon after dawn on Sept 28, 1928, I certainly didn't intend to revolutionise all medication by obtaining the world's first antibiotic, or bacteria killer". As a matter of fact vaccine and antibiotics ended up being the best savior of humanity. Can we feature to both of these discoveries for ever increasing population as well ever before ageing populace of the world?
The Second World Conflict became a significant impediment in scientific discoveries. After the end of Second World Battle some very crucial discoveries were reported which paved the road for the modern biotechnology and its own current position. In 1953, JD Watson and FHC Crick for the first time cleared the mysteries around DNA as a hereditary material giving a structural model of DNA popularly known as "Double Helix Model of DNA", this model was able to explain various trend related to DNA replication and its role in inheritance. Later, Jacob and Monad has given the idea of Operon in 1961, while Kohler and Milestein in 1975 developed the idea of cytoplasmic hybridization and produced first ever before monoclonal antibodies.
By this time it seemed like world's methodical community had virtually all the basic tools available to them because of their applications along with most basic concepts have been elucidated, which has fast forwarded the road for important scientific discoveries. Dr. Hargobind Khorana could synthesize the DNA in test tube, while Karl Mullis added value to Khorana's finding by amplifying DNA in a test-tube thousands time more than the initial amount of DNA. Applying this technological advancement other scientists were able to insert a foreign DNA into another variety and were even able to monitor the copy of overseas DNA in to next era. The arrival of HIV/AIDS as a dangerous disease has helped to improve immensely various tools employed by life-scientist for discoveries and applications in various areas of day-to-day life. In the mean time Ian Wilmut an Irish scientist was successful to clone an adult animal using sheep as model and he named the cloned sheep as "Dolly". Craig Venter in 2000 was able to sequence Individual Genome; the first publically available genome is from JD Watson and Craig Venter, itself. These discoveries have unrestricted implications and applications. This year 2010, Craig Venter was successful to demonstrate that man-made genome can replicate autonomously, should that be looked at as a new possibility for creating a life in test-tube, which can be planned and designed by a individual using pen, pencil, computer and bioinformatics as a tool.
Biotechnology has taken humanity to this levels of comfort, another question is where it will it take us? Biotechnology has both beneficial and detrimental potential. It is WE who have to decide that how to use this technology, so it should be there to help humanity alternatively than destroying it.
Some of quite biotechnology discoveries have been plotted in this graph, with a possibility for its unrestricted expansion in future.