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Trends in the area of biotechnology and its use in agriculture - Research Paper Example

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Biotechnology is generally defined as the utilization of technologies that are based on living systems or organism in the development of commercial processes and products (National Research Council (U.S.), 1987). The elucidation of the DNA structure more than fifty years ago…
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Trends in the area of biotechnology and its use in agriculture
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Download file to see previous pages In addition, the sequencing of the human, selected plant, animal and bacterial genomes in the early part of the twenty-first century has led to the identification of genetic elements, and regulatory pathways and mechanism. These all resulted in products of biotechnology that were designed to understand, alleviate and cure diseases, and improve quality of life. The fields of medicine, agriculture/food and environmental protection have benefitted most from biotechnological innovations. As an example, insulin, a hormone which is either lacking or inactive in diabetics, used to be very expensive. Cost of insulin has been significantly reduced by its production using bacteria that have been genetically engineered to express in large amounts the insulin gene and subsequently, the insulin product. Other proteins with therapeutic effects have been produced in the same manner. The designs of drugs specific for different forms of a specific disease have been based on the molecular understanding of the disease and the affected metabolic processes.
Another major area that has exploited advances in biotechnology is agriculture. Traditional biotechnology in agriculture is centuries old. An example is wine-making, which utilizes certain bacteria to ferment grape extract to produce alcohol. Another traditional biotechnology is cheese-making (makes use of bacteria), and bread-making (use of yeast). Agriculture further utilized specific microbial species to kill insect pests, promote nitrogen fixation, nutrient uptake and hasten organic decomposition to produce organic fertilizers. An early type of modern biotechnology, plant tissue culture, revolutionized the asexual propagation of economically important crops like banana, pineapple, orchids and other ornamental crops. Tissue culture is also being utilized to produce disease-free planting materials, like banana ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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