Various Definitions of 'biotechnology'
The concept of 'biotech' or 'biotechnology' encompasses a wide range of procedures (and history) for modifying living organisms according to human purposes — going back to domestication of animals, cultivation of plants, and "improvements" to these through breeding programs that employ artificial selection and hybridization. Modern usage also includes genetic engineering as well as cell and tissue culture technologies. The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity defines 'biotechnology' as: "Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use." In other words, biotechology can be defined as the mere application of technical advances in life science to develop commercial products.
Biotechnology also draws on the pure biological sciences (genetics, microbiology, animal cell culture, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology, cell biology). And in many instances it is also dependent on knowledge and methods from outside the sphere of biology including:
- chemical engineering,
- bioprocess engineering,
- bioinformatics, a new brand of information technology, and
Conversely, modern biological sciences (including even concepts such as molecular ecology) are intimately entwined and dependent on the methods developed through biotechnology and what is commonly thought of as the life sciences industry. Biotechnology is the research and development in the laboratory using bioinformatics for exploration, extraction, exploitation and production from any living organisms and any source of biomass by means of biochemical engineering where high value-added products could be planned (reproduced by biosynthesis, for example), forecasted, formulated, developed, manufactured and marketed for the purpose of sustainable operations (for the return from bottomless initial investment on R & D) and gaining durable patents rights (for exclusives rights for sales, and prior to this to receive national and international approval from the results on animal experiment and human experiment, especially on the pharmaceutical branch of biotechnology to prevent any undetected side-effects on safety concerns by using the products), for more about the biotechnology industry, see.
By contrast, bioengineering is generally thought of as a related field with its emphasis more on higher systems approaches (not necessarily altering or using biological materials directly) for interfacing with and utilizing living things.
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