Biotechnology is where living organisms and systems are used to create or develop products. Even though it is a relatively new field in the biology sector, biotechnology has helped to change and improve the world in many different ways, and it continues to do so.
While most people might assume that biotechnology is only beneficial for medical progress, it actually falls under a wide range of applications. This includes beer brewing, genetic modification of crops, creating anti-aging cosmetics, and the production of clothing.
The number of biotechnology-related applications is virtually unlimited. However, this article will explore four of the main ways in which biotech continues to see the world evolve and grow.
Thanks to continued advances in DNA technology, biotech has resulted in an assortment of treatments. This includes stem cells, where healthy tissue is surgically implanted into patients to replace diseased tissue, and gene therapy that replaces defective genes with functional ones.
One company that is helping with the advancement in medicine is Anima Biotech. Their leading drug discovery platform, Translation Control Therapeutics, focuses on the dysregulation or dysfunction of proteins. This drug discovery platform identifies medicine which can interfere in the production of “undruggable” proteins. What this means is it could help in the future with hard targets like fibrosis, viral infections, and Huntington’s disease.
2. Cultured meat
There are various environmental issues that are caused via traditional meat production. To limit the necessity for the industry to use energy, water, and land to rear animals, cultured meat could be the solution.
With the use of biotechnology, ‘cultured’ meat, where meat grows directly from fat and muscle cells, can reduce the impact of the meat industry. Along with replacing meat products, biotech companies are also working on replacing animal-derived products such as dairy and egg whites.
3. Construction materials
Along with consuming large amounts of water and energy, concrete is made with toxic chemicals. It also contributes to global warming and high volumes of carbon emissions. This production process is similar for many other construction materials.
In an effort to find more sustainable alternatives, biotechnology is helping to explore ways into using organic waste to produce construction materials. Basilisk, a company in the Netherlands, has also developed self-healing concrete in an effort to expand its durability and lifespan.
When it comes to air pollution, which is said to kill approximately millions of people on an annual basis, there is one culprit that is bigger than any other: fossil fuels.
The good news is that biofuels that originate from crops have become a viable alternative to fossil fuels. The bad news is that these crops are competing for agricultural land, and this can lead to deforestation and rising food prices.
To eliminate forestry and agricultural waste when producing fuels, biotechnology is opening the door to utilizing sustainable sources to do the job. Biotech companies are exploring ways to develop the likes of gasoline and carbon dioxide with, for example, sunlight and algae.