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Biotechnology Boom - A Global Perspective

BY: Pournami Gouthaman | Category: Others | Submitted: 2011-02-12 18:38:58
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Article Summary: "The rapid growth of biotechnology research and studies and the gradual mushrooming of small and large biotech clusters in different nations around the world is not only an intentional effort to be world leaders in the novel technology, but also an indirect tryout to boost national economy. Inspite of the extensive applications, .."


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Every individual, who are well connected to the world around them will be surely aware of the on-going hustle about biotechnology in every nation around the globe. It is not surprising at all, because people are always interested in anything that is new, especially in latest technology, as it is something that can ease one's effort, quell inquisitiveness, provide more comfort or prove to be extremely useful in daily life. If you have ever wondered why life sciences remain in focus at all times, the answer is very simple; because it provides information regarding life, which influences our existence. What attracted the world to cling on to biotechnology is its power to manipulate a living organism at its basic level of existence, i.e. the cell. It has given man the ultimate authority to 'play God', manipulating living organisms, giving rise to new life forms and new bio-products which are useful to mankind.

Biotechnology is a vast subject, which has potential applications in almost all areas related to our basic interactions in daily life, including food, agriculture, medical field, environmental science, personal care and much more. Realising this extensive scope and future prospects of the subject, developed nations started large-scale investment in biotech sector, encouraging clusters of small and large biotech companies, financing extended research activities and inculcating both the basic ideas and advanced levels of knowledge to youngsters in high schools and universities. The aim of these well-established economies was to lead the world in the latest technology, claim the research findings and rule the world market by being the first to supply biotech products. Whereas, the developing countries followed the trend, dreaming to uplift their national economy using biotechnology to increase job opportunities and attract global investors, thereby yearning to gradually transform themselves into a developed nation.

Major biotech firms have come up with feasible solutions for certain global issues like hunger, environmental pollution, depletion of energy sources, cure for certain deadly diseases and inherent abnormalities, etc. This is successfully done based on the advancements in recombinant DNA technology, which is the key to all modern biotechnological innovations. Using this technique, the scientists can modify the genome of an organism by introducing foreign genetic material obtained from a different organism. Now, there are even theories that explain the possibility of controlling the gene expression by switching on and off the selected genes, just like lighting or turning off a bulb in your home! The introduction of the concept of genetically modified organism (GMO) however forced a part of the world population to rethink seriously before encouraging the new vogue. The media took over the responsibility to expose both sides of the coin and as more and more people became educated about the on-going research works, methodologies and techniques involved, the after effects of biotech products and its impact on the ecosystem, natural gene pool and humans became a major concern.

Some of the major breakthroughs attained in biotechnology, like GMO's and GM foods, gene therapy, animal and human cloning, etc. raised ethical issues and questions aroused everywhere about its moral aspects and mainly about the safety when these techniques are administered to human. The policies made by private companies like DuPont and Monsanto to induce killer genes that prevented the reproduction of the plant cultivated from their GM seeds resulted in a massive protest from farmers everywhere. But, the use of bio-pesticides and bio-fertilisers were happily welcomed and accepted. However its production and supply needs to be increased and improved to compete with the easily available chemical counterparts. Neither the scientists, nor the governments are sure about the safety of some of the controversial technologies and its resultant products.

In-spite of the heated discussions and arguments about the pros and cons about the cultivation and consumption of BT cotton and BT brinjal, one can observe that biotechnology is still advancing and both advanced and advancing economies are competing to setup biotech parks, to attract global focus and provide greater job opportunities to natives. Today's younger generation sees biotechnology as a challenging career option, excellent performance in which gives them chance to earn global recognition. But, a job in this sector demands excellent academic track records, complete dedication and most importantly laboratory or industrial experience.

Every novel technology will have both advantages and disadvantages. When looking with an optimistic approach, the bright side will appear to be more prominent. We do take risks in our everyday life, and still find happiness and comfort with trust. All human innovations and modern technologies are developed in order to make it useful for the common people. With massive studies and researches progressing around the world, one cannot completely doubt the credibility of biotechnology. It is undoubtedly the next revolution in today's world!

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