Biotechnology is the study and use of organisms and organic matter to develop new technologies. Humans have been practicing forms of biotechnology for centuries, and it is a hugely important part of the betterment of life on this planet in general. There are three main branches of biotechnology:
Medical Biotechnology Medical biotechnology is the study of the human body, its diseases, and the prevention of those diseases. This branch of biotechnology focuses on the use of living cells, microorganisms, and cell materials to to research human diseases. Medical biotechnology is most often applied to the pharmaceutical industry, where biotechnology corporations have begun to grow in both size and importance. It can also be applied to pharmacogenomic and genetic testing. Medical biotechnologists use the living materials (cells) to research infectious diseases and develop pharmaceutical drugs to treat and/or prevent medical maladies. Pharmacogenomics is the branch of biotechnology that tests the response that the human body has to those drugs that are created. Genetic testing is the biotechnological research of inherited diseases based on an individual’s genealogy.
Agricultural Biotechnology This branch of biotechnology focuses mainly on improving and changing plants, animals, and microorganisms. Scientists use our current understanding of DNA to modify the genetic makeup of organisms with the intention of improving them. This is most often used in the genetic engineering of crops. Genes are transferred between crops to enhance a variety of qualities; taste, nutrition, appearance, longevity, and even its ability to withstand/endure climate changes and natural predators.
Industrial Biotechnology Industrial Biotechnology uses plants and marine organisms to create industrial goods. Biotechnologists use microorganisms and components of cells to improve the production of a variety of goods including chemicals, textiles, biofuels, and paper. Research is conducted to not only improve the quality of the goods, but also to help improve their environmental impact. Although Medical and Agricultural biotechnology are the branches that get the most media coverage, it’s really industrial technology that would be considered the largest branch of biotechnology. Sources: 1 2 3