|By Umberto Salvagnin, CC-BY-2.0. SOURCE.|
It stems from chemistry, biology, physics, engineering, information technology, and other such scientific fields; the phrase "biotechnology" was coined by Karl Ereky in 1919, who was a Hungarian engineer. It is an applied science, which means, unlike some fields which commit to research to find an answer to a theory that may or may not have any industrial, manufacturing, or other commercial value, biotech research usually has specific goals in mind.
Some early examples of biotech include fermentation (for bread, wine, and beer), selective breeding of animals, and cultivation of crops (which was given a boost by Gregor Mendel, who is called the father of genetics), while more recent ones are cloning, biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel), nanobiotechnology (100,000 nanoparticles equals the thickness of a piece of paper), regenerative medicine (the growing of new organs and tissues), and agricultural biotechnology (ag biotech).
Francis S. Collins
|Francis S. Collins. Public domain image. SOURCE.|
He led the Human Genome Project, which aimed to sequence all 3 billion base pairs of human DNA. A draft of the genome was published in 2000, an analysis in 2001, and a reference sequence in 2003. Collins's research has led to the identification of genetic variations associated with Type-2 diabetes, and the genes that cause cystic fibrosis (buildup of mucus in the lungs and digestive tract in children and young people), Huntington's Disease (degeneration of nerve cells in the brain), and Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (accelerated aging in children).
He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 for his work in science/genetics; the medal is the highest honor given to a civilian in the USA.
A video about Francis Collins and his work:
Where do you think biotech will head next? Do you worry about genetic engineering and other newer fields?
-----The Golden Eagle