Sunday, January 31, 2010

Careers in Research / Biotechnology / Genetics

The discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953 and the identification of DNA as the genetic material in all life allowed for great leaps in our understanding of life-forms from bacteria to plants to humans. Armed with a better understanding of how organisms "work," we are now able to engineer life to suit our needs.
Biotechnology is the application of technology to living cells to produce substances useful to humans. This may be accomplished by introducing new genes into organisms, breeding organisms to form new variants, or treating organisms with specific compounds.

Biotechnology is the controlled use of biological agents, such as microorganisms or cellular components, for beneficial use. It also includes the application of current scientific methods and techniques for the modifications and improvement of biological systems. It encompasses the exciting and rapidly developing fields like genetic engineering, monoclonal antibody technology and tissue culture.

Modern biotechnology has advanced to gene technology and beyond, and is an interdisciplinary subject covering biomedical research, microbiology, physics, chemistry, mathematics and engineering. Its use and application is mainly in the following fields:

  • Medicine: To find out causes of diseases and to study the role of genetic transmission of diseases from one generation to another. Biotech researchers try to figure out the chemical changes that take place in the cells of body parts which signal the onset of various diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer, diabetes, mental disorders like epilepsy etc. Research related to identification and analysis of chemical processes like muscular contraction, reproduction, metabolism etc also relates to their job.
  • Agriculture: Biotechnology has opened up new opportunities for crop, tree & animal improvement. Tissue culture is helping agriculturists over come the limitations of genetic breeding, disease resistance, soil imbalance etc. Biotechnologists are encouraging a shift from chemical to bio-fertilisers & the development of bio-insecticides & pesticides. Biotechnology is also applied to developments in Horticulture for purposes of export, as well as in the area of animal breeding animal feed & improved food production for human consumption.
  • Environment: Causes of industrial air pollution, waste & effluent treatment, are major areas of concern being handled now through Biotechnology. Recycling of sewage sludge, microbial treatment for oil spills, toxic wastes & biological waste treatment of industrial effluents is increasingly being tackled by biotech firms.
  • Nutrition: Biochemists research and study the effects of certain food stuffs, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins when consumed in excess or in deficient quantities, on the human body.
  • Nuclear Engineering: The practical application of breakdown of atomic nuclei and/or other sub-atomic physics, based on the principles of nuclear physics. It includes, but is not limited to, the interaction and maintenance of nuclear fission systems and components— specifically, nuclear reactors, nuclear power plants, and/or nuclear weapons. The field may also include the study of nuclear fusion, medical and other applications of (generally ionizing) radiation, nuclear safety, heat/thermodynamics transport, nuclear fuel and/or other related (e.g., waste disposal) technology, nuclear proliferation, and the effect of radioactive waste or radioactivity in the environment.
Related Courses/Colleges:
Biotechnology Engineering
Aeronautical, Aerospace & Aircraft Maintenance
Agriculture & Forestry
Architecture Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Electronics, Computers and IT Engineering
Industrial Engineering
Mathematics, Statistics, Related Subjects
Mechanical Engineering


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