— Leon Kass
Biotechnology involves in modifying and manipulating the genes of microbes in order to create new microbes that will make new products – drugs, diagnostic tools, new and exciting foodstuffs - for human use. The whole area of genetic engineering, the science of manipulating genetics, is an offshoot of biotechnology.
Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary branch of science that is rapidly gaining significance and opportunities for youngsters who want to explore the new frontiers of science.Besides biology, this branch of science assimilates diverse subjects like physics, chemistry and mathematics and engineering applications are also an integral constituent of biotechnology.
As it is a blend of numerous disciplines, one has to do a specialization in a number of fields. Some of the common areas of research include fields like: Agriculture and Agricultural Development, Animal Husbandry, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Botany, Dairy Technology, Environmental Protection, Fishery Development, Genetics, Horticulture, Medicine, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Nutrition, Pharmacology, Tissue Culture and Zoology etc. This is an upcoming and constantly growing science and has worldwide scope especially in terms of research.
Biotechnology is what is called a ‘sunrise sector’ – an industry which is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years, making huge scientific advances, affecting our day-to-day lives in ways we cannot even begin to imagine, employing large numbers of people. The good news is that biotechnology is not just what is happening in the rest of the world (like most other cutting-edge research), it is happening right here in India. The government has even established a Department of Biotechnology (DBT), which, with its six premier research institutes, is granting fellowships and research opportunities to India’s brightest students of the life sciences. The government is also involved in creating biotech infrastructure in every state.
Biotechnology, being a new field, is almost completely research-oriented. Most of the research is being carried out in national laboratories and research institutes. The government of India’s Department of Biotechnology has six units all of which award research fellowships and offer opportunities for research.
The applications of biotechnology is found in areas as varied as medicine, food technology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and environmental conservation. There are many application of biotechnology such as developing various medicines, vaccines and diagnostics, increasing productivity, improving energy production and conservation. In agriculture biotechnology including developing new varieties of seeds, improving livestocks breeds, creating pesticides of various kinds, formulating cures for genetically inherited diseases and developing industrial enzymes that hasten the production and also intervene in the area of animal husbandry has improved animal breeding. It also helps to improve the quality of seeds, insecticides and fertilizers. Environmental biotechnology helps for pollution control and waste management.
The real future of biotechnology has more to do with chemistry. Biotechnology depends on the ability to manipulate chemical structure.
Biotechnology is a source of great promise for innovations ranging from improving the diagnosis and treatment of hereditary diseases, to safer drugs, to more environmentally friendly herbicides and pesticides, to microbial processes to clean up the environment.