The below mentioned article will highlight the scope and branches of biotechnology.
Based on application, the five main branches are: (1) Animal Biotechnology (2) Medical Biotechnology (3) Industrial Biotechnology (4) Environmental Biotechnology and (5) Plant Biotechnology.
Scope of Biotechnology:
Biotechnology has rapidly emerged as an area of activities having marked impact on all aspects of human welfare ranging from food processing, protecting the environment, human health to quality of human life throughout the world.
As we can say the 20th century was the era of electronics, similarly 21st century can be designated as the era of biotechnology. Some of the areas in which biotechnology is making marked contributions are Human Health, Animal Health, Agriculture, Medicine, Forestry Fisheries, Mining, Environment, Horticulture, Floriculture, Dairy, Food processing, Animal Husbandry, Renewable energy, Crime detection, parental dispute, Aquaculture etc. Biotechnology basically aims at improving the quality of human life and at protecting him from dangerous diseases.
The scope of biotechnology can be summarized as under:
(i) To produce more food for the growing population using the available land.
(ii) To raise disease-resistant, high-yielding varieties of crops,
(iii) To introduce harmless bio fertilizers instead of harmful chemical fertilizers,
(iv) To introduce biocides in agriculture,
(v) To preserve germplasm of plants, animals and microbes,
(vi) To produce pharmaceutical products to treat severe diseases in man and animals,
(vii) To produce biofuels for reducing the felling of forest trees for fuel wood.
(viii) To make use of various microorganisms in food making and preservation of food,
(ix) To employ microorganisms in the extraction of minerals from their poor quality ores,
(x) To minimize pollution hazards.
Branches of Biotechnology:
Based on applications, there are five main branches of biotechnology, viz.;
(1) Animal biotechnology,
(2) Medical biotechnology,
(3) Industrial biotechnology,
(4) Environmental biotechnology and
(5) Plant biotechnology.
These are briefly discussed below:
(1) Animal Biotechnology:
It deals with the development of transgenic animals for increased milk or meat production with resistance to various diseases. It also deals with in vitro fertilization of egg and transfer of embryo to the womb of female animal for further development.
(2) Medical Biotechnology:
It deals with diagnosis of various diseases; large scale production of various drugs and hormones such as human insulin and interferon; vaccines for chicken pox, rabies, polio etc. , and growth hormones, such as bovine. In the field of medical science, genetic engineering has helped in the large scale production of hormones, blood serum proteins; in the development of antibiotics, and other medically useful products.
(3) Industrial Biotechnology:
It deals with commercial production of various useful organic substances, such as acetic acid, citric acid, acetone, glycerine, etc., and antibiotics like penicillin, streptomycin, mitomycin, etc., through the use of microorganisms especially fungi and bacteria
(4) Environmental Biotechnology:
It deals with detoxification of waste and industrial effluents, treatment of sewage water, and control of plant diseases and insects through the use of biological agents, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi etc.
(5) Plant Biotechnology:
Plant Biotechnology is a combination of tissue culture and genetic engineering. It deals with development of transgenic plants with resistance to biotic and abiotic stress; development of haploids, embryo rescue, clonal multiplication, cryopreservation etc.
The main features of plant biotechnology are briefly given below:
1. Plant biotechnology consists of the application of two basic techniques, viz.,
(i) Tissue culture,
(ii) Recombinant DNA technology:
2. It bypasses sexual process in the development of new crop cultivars.
3. It makes distant crosses (interspecific and inter-generic) practically feasible.
4. It helps in the development of transgenic plants (plants with foreign DNA) with resistance to biotic stress.
5. It is a rapid method of crop improvement. For example, tetraploid plants can be developed in a single step through protoplast fusion.