The biotechnology industry is one which most of us would (happily) say that we have had many dealings with. In actual fact, it is much weirder and more wonderful than you may think, not to mention mind-blowingly clever.
First things first, what is biotechnology? It is the application of biology (cellular processes, microorganisms, genetics) into technology for industrial and medical purposes. Essentially, using biology to create solutions to human, animal and plant problems.
I wanted to put together a list of the most fascinating and fun facts that I could find on the biotechnology industry, so that we can really appreciate everything the scientists, researchers and others involved do. There has been a huge increase in the number of jobs being filled in the STEM industries (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) so being well-informed is more important than ever. Moreover, you will have some great conversation starters for dinner parties!
- Three US States have considered having official state microbes. That’s right, they waned microorganisms that represent the state.
- Wisconsin is so famous for its dairy and cheese products that policymaker named Lactococcus lactisthe authorized state microbe in 2010 in a 56 to 41 vote.
- Hawaii has Vibriofischeri, which creates bioluminescence in their bobtail squids.
- Oregon has Saccharomycescerevisiae, a yeast use to make beer.
The European Union has been notoriously slow to grow biotech crops, unlike the US, who last year planted almost seventy million hectares of them. Biotech crops, or genetically modified crops, are plants of which the DNA has been modified, either to introduce a new trait (different growth speed, enhanced resistance to natural elements, stronger defence against pests) or to improve the nutritiousness.
- The production of beer is classed as biotechnology. If you brew your own bottles of the good stuff, then you are technically a scientist.
- On that note, the use of biochemistry was first noted in the year 1750BC, when the ancient Sumerians brewed the first batch of beer using yeast and other microorganisms.
- Scientists at the University Of Michigan School Of Dentistry have managed to produce whole bones, complete with marrow, softer materials and then a hard shell, from just gum tissue and skin.
My main question, although it should really be something more intelligent, is how do they come up with these ideas?! They look at two pieces of material and they find a way to combine them for the good of wider world. I am so in awe of these people, and writing articles like this just makes me realize how little we really know about what they do.
Biotechnology has caused a lot of controversy, but with animal and human rights at the forefront of almost every industry now, the scientists are truly being as harmless as possible. They have discovered new ways to extract genes without causing any injury to animals or damaging plants, and are really committed to maintaining the welfare of all living things.
If you are still unsure of the benefits and huge impact that biotechnology is having on our world, I recommend a screening of Jurassic World immediately.