The Benefits Of Boitechnology And Genetic Enginering
- Pages: 3
- Word count: 614
- Category: Genetics Technology
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Biotechnology pertains to any technology that employs biological materials or processes in order to generate or construct a desired or expected product. Genetic engineering is a category of biotechnology that uses techniques to alter the genetic information of a biological entity. Biotechnological methods are extensively used in the field of agriculture for improved methods in plant cultivation, stimulation of growth and development, as well as generation of new plant hybrids which presents the commercially important traits such as size and sweetness and removes the commercially risky features including drought- and insecticide-resistance. Biotechnology has also improved methods in animal husbandry, wherein specific lines at livestock are selected for further breeding through artificial insemination, together with the incorporation of positive genetic traits that have been pre-screened for genetic markers, or specific DNA sequences that would facilitate identification of species, varieties or subtypes in an organism. In the field of biomedicine, bacterial species are modified through genetic engineering and used as basis for the design and creation of new vaccines which will help the public from acquiring specific infectious diseases.
The benefits of biotechnology and genetic engineering personally benefit us because the products or results of such efforts are currently circulating around us. The cereal we eat every morning are the products of improve plant breeding of wheat and oats, as they have been genetically altered to tolerate drought, as well as to grow faster than the wild-type wheat and oat plants. The milk we use in our cereal may have come from cows that have been inoculated with biotechnologically produced growth hormones for faster growth and maturation of cattle, in order to have more milk produced at a faster rate. The burgers and fries we eat for lunch from a fast food restaurant may also be products of genetically modified potatoes that produce bigger tubers with more starch content and at the same time, are resistant to pesticides. The burger meat came from cattle that have been possibly artificially inseminated with a pre-screened DNA samples that harbor agriculturally competent features that will be expressed in the mature cattle. The salads we eat have been cultured in vitro with plant hormones for faster growth and bigger sizes, as also insecticide resistance.
These enumerated examples show that biotechnology and engineering personally helps the public, yet we are not totally aware of the extent of our current exposure to such products. Several multinational companies such as Monsanto have long been aggressively working for the production of genetically modified crops and animals, all of which are aimed to provide better options for the growing consumer world (Patel et al., 2005). Indeed, there are also several groups that have tried to voice out their concerns over the creation new hybrids agricultural species, expressing their concern that one day, these new hybrids will bring more risks than benefits to the human population. Only time will tell us which is the better approach to daily living, but for now, it is of utmost importance that we understand and appreciate the benefits that biotechnology and genetic engineering have to offer. And we should also know that all novel technological discoveries have benefits and risks, just like the discovery of antibiotics and its promise of eradicating bacterial infection. It did stop bacterial infection yet less than a decade later, antibiotic-resistant strains emerged. Hence, the use of biotechnological and genetically modified products should be accepted by the public with total understanding and caution.
Patel R, Torres RJ and Rosset P (2005): Genetic engineering in agriculture and corporate engineering in public debate: Risk, public relations, and public debate over genetically modified crops. Int. J. Occup. Environ. Health 11:428-436.