In my previous blog on Biotechnology, I told you what biotechnology is and the milestones achieved in its journey till date. For revision, biotech is the study of practical industrial applications of living biological organisms. The technology is mainly used in agriculture, medical, non-food agriculture and environmental applications.
Every technology comes packed in with its own surprising facts. So, is for Biotechnology. The facts which actually make our jaws dropped or pop our eyes out. Well, not sure of the later but for former, I am pretty sure that the facts about Biotechnology will do that.
Here is a list of some amazing facts about Biotechnology.
- Biotechnology comes in different colors.
It seems strange, but is true Biotechnology do come in four colors Blue, Red, Green and White. Every color as always has its own meaning.
- Blue is the color ocean – the study of water and bodies of water is termed as Blue Biotechnology.
- Red is the color of Blood and the Red Cross symbol – the study field in biotechnology related to the medical is termed as Red Biotechnology
- Green is the color of Plants – the study of agriculture in biotechnology is termed as Green Technology.
- White Biotechnology is study related to the industries, which helped factories to develop cleaner manufacturing processes.
- It is actually a jaw-dropping surprise. With almost everyone talking about use of biotechnology in the agriculture, we all get the impression that everything we eat is grown from seeds that has undergone genetic manipulation. But to our surprise we have only 8 crops like that i.e. corn, soybeans, cotton, alfalfa, papaya, canola, sugar beets and squash.
- Agriculture is part of Biotechnology. –
Agriculture is the oldest use of biotechnology. For example the seedless watermelon is a gift of agricultural biotechnology. It has devised approaches to improve cultivation of plants.
- You are not that Special.
99.9% of DNA is same in all human beings. The remaining 0.1% of DNA consists of codes that makes up for all of the differences which gives us our uniqueness.
- Humans shares about 98% of their genes with chimpanzees, 92% with mice, 76% with zebra fish, 51% with fruit flies, 26% with thale cress (a type of weed), and 18% with E. coli bacteria.
- Researchers have been successful at reversing the aging process in brain cells. They have successfully induced brain cells to revert back to neural stem cells.
- The best milestone in biotechnology was production of Antibiotics to fight infection.
- US implemented a labeling system for genetically altered produce.
- The first use of Biotechnology was done in year 500BC. Since then humans have been using this technology unknowingly in many things, specifically in farming and pharmaceuticals. Biotechnology is not a new field, although its intentional use is comparatively new.
- European Union is still skeptical about biotechnology in agriculture.
In 2012 only five countries in the EU planted such crops covering an area of just 129,071 hectares. Whereas, United States planted 69,500,000 hectares of biotech crops last year.
- Year 2012 saw a different pattern in adoption of new techniques in agriculture. Industrial nations lagged behind the Developing countries in plantation of biotech crops. That’s important because the growth rate in developing countries is almost four times as fast (11% vs. 3%) as the growth in industrialized countries.
- Processes like Brewing and fermenting of alcohol done by the people of early civilization specifically by the Egyptians, Chinese, and Indians, and the use of yeast in bread making by many civilizations would fall under biotechnology.
- It protects farm workers –
Biotech crops have a built-in ability to combat insects or diseases, resulting in less use of pesticide. Hence, protecting farmers from Pesticide poisoning. There is a special protective clothing to wear when spraying the pesticides. Due to the hot and humid climate the workers get negligent in that case.
- Since the biotech crops comes with in-built ability to fight insects, the farmers need less spray of pesticides which is done through tractors. Hence, the less use of it mean less use of the tractors, eventually less use of fossil fuels. With this there is also a reduction in Carbon emissions.
- As we all know that every cell our body comprises of Genetic information in the form of DNA. The DNA strand in very cell is about 2meters long. If the DNA strand of a whole human body are laid end-to-end it would measure 200 billion kilometers. If we measure that in comparison to the distance between Earths and Sun it is 1,333 times that distance. If there would have been this much of distance between Earth and Sun then sunlight would take around 7.4 days to reach us.
- DNA fingerprinting, a method which is used in paternity testing or to identify criminals, could be performed with the smallest amount of genetic material thanks to PCR. Innocence of a person could also be proved with the help of DNA finger printing.
- The genetic information in every living organism consists of combinations and sequences of just four molecules — adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. The different sequences of these 4 molecules gives us 24,000 genes found in the human genome.
- Though biotechnology basically revolves around biological sciences (genetics, microbiology, animal cell culture, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology, and cell biology) that doesn’t restricts the usage of its knowledge and methods from outside the field of biology (chemical engineering, information technology, bio-robotics, etc.).
- An important part of biotechnology, genetic engineering has raised many controversial question and ethical issues across the globe, especially cloning issue.
- Biotechnology has emerged as a Savior of Lives.
Many diabetes patients have been given a new life and hope to live because of the insulin, which was approved by FDA. It is a synthetic product of research and experimentation in biotechnology. Many medical antibiotics have been developed because of biotechnology which has improved the lives of many
- As new practices in biotechnology occur, additional subfields of the science have been created, including genomics, gene therapy, immunology, and more.