Biotechnology – the combination of “bios” and technology. It translates to a technology engineered on the base of life. Even a century back, people hardly knew about biotechnology. It was only in the 20th century that the scope and role of biotechnology became quite evident.
Since then, biotechnology is only a survival tool for the world, but it has also become a popular career choice for many students. With the passing of time, there has been an escalation in biotechnology awareness among people. Let us explore the in and out of biotechnology and dive deep into the latest biotechniques.
What is Biotechnology?
The Oxford dictionary defines Biotechnology as a field that exploits biological processes to devise products and techniques that are beneficial for the survival of the human race. For time immemorial, human beings have been using biotechnology but unknowingly. Good examples can be cheese fermentation, creating curd out of milk, and preparing wine in celery and bread with the help of yeast.
Recently, biotechnology has been concerned more with pharmacogenomics and gene therapies. Some of the future trends of biotechnologies revolve around creating medicine for diseases once thought incurable. Biotechnology has also revolutionized the diagnosis of various diseases like cancer.
For centuries, humans have been aloof from the genetic mechanism in our bodies. The phenomenal science of genetic inheritance and its molecular basis is genuinely enticing. With the development of improved pharmaceuticals, humans can cure most diseases. Still, diseases concerned with faulty inherited genes were incurable till the discovery of gene therapy.
Modern-day gene therapy revolves around replacing defective genes in the human chromosomes with normal genes that will save people from developing various chromosomal abnormalities and genetic disorders like Down’s syndrome. This field of biotechnological practice has been prevalent since 1990. The field has not yet been fully established and is under significant research.
A few decades back, human beings discovered stem cells could open a whole new world of gene therapy and manipulation. Stem cells, as you know, are unspecialized cells that are multipotent and can give rise to almost all the organs of the human body. Stem cell preservation is a common practice these days. Patients with lost or diseased organs can be gifted with new healthy and disease-free organs if their stem cells are preserved.
Stem cell therapy is a popular medical field with immense potential. With the help of stem cell culture, in vitro cells and organs are developed under laboratory conditions. Stem cell engineering is emerging as a trendiest research field and will open new dimensions of human pharmacogenomics engineering in the future.
Have you heard of personalized medicines? If yes, then you probably know that the nanomedicine field is talking about personalized medicine that will be crafted only for you. These medicines are expected to work at a molecular level, where they will directly work on your DNA. Nanomedicines are a great way to create highly functional medicines that cater to individual needs and lead to better curing potential.
It is creating medicines at a very microscopic level. Currently, Nanomedicines are widely used for treating medicines where the cancer cells are targeted. The best part is that normal cells are not destroyed in this process. That means only the cancer cells will be dead. This has opened new realms in the field of cancer treatment.
Apart from these popular biotechnological treatments, DNA technology has been a prevalent biotech application and probably the first type to be discovered. With successful DNA technology administration on the patients, there can be greater scope for individualized healthcare systems and more excellent advances in preventive medicine. Gene therapy and manipulation are great ways to help individuals lead better.
Future of Biotechnology
Whatever the world has witnessed till now in the field of biotechnology is only the tip of the iceberg. The past [performance is not indicative of the gigantic future of biotechnology that the world is yet to witness. With the introduction of gene editing through CRISPR technology, there has been a vast change in the global biotechnology fronts.
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated how much we need to focus on preventive medicine and vaccines, all of which hold fundamental biotechnology on the pedestal. Inclusiveness is the new guiding spirit of the biotechnology field in the world. Biotechnology is all set to transform our lifestyle and how we look at life.
Not only is it making our lives better, but it will also change how we handle diseases. The nations will get richer, people can dream of a better healthcare system, and the planet’s needs will be catered better. Yes, that is all that biotechnology has in store for us, not exaggerating.
It is not that all spheres of biotechnology will move at the same pace. For example, gene editing and gene therapy are now on the top advancement tier. PCR technologies for more incredible diagnostic modalities are also on the high rise. With better biotechnological achievements, product development times have drastically shortened. We just got an example with the swiftest discovery and development of COVID vaccines.
Another vital side of modern and future biotechnology states that – patients are the center of this revolution. Biopharma is expanding beyond its realms, and precision therapy significantly contributes to handling comorbidities and aging.
Today biotechnology has academia as its central pillar. This scenario will change in the next few years. Human subjects will occupy the center of the system. Future bioengineers will focus more on the application and optimization of the biotechnical procedures in human life rather than keeping it all technical. Though there are significant advancements in biotechnology, there is a lack of awareness. Most of the processes developed are still caged in the laboratories. There must be more significant applications of the processes in daily human life. Many people must be able to access the biotechnological processes. Biotechnology is also an emerging caterer option for many. There is a dire need for better talents in this field.