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The biotechnology sector has also increased its research into traditional medications and monoclonal antibodies to halt disease progression.
FREMONT, CA: Biotechnology is the application of biology to the solution of problems and the formulation of valuable products. The most popular use of biotechnology is the genetic engineering-driven creation of therapeutic proteins and other pharmaceuticals.
Biotechnologists achieved their most tremendous success in their early years when they could generate naturally occurring therapeutic compounds in greater quantities than could be obtained from conventional sources such as plasma, animal organs, or even human cadavers. Pathogen contamination and allergy responses are also less likely to occur when recombinant proteins are used. Researchers in biotechnology nowadays are working to identify the molecular causes of disease and intervene at that level. As in the first generation of biotech drugs, this can involve creating therapeutic proteins that boost the body's own supply or compensate for hereditary inadequacies. (A related procedure is gene therapy, which consists of inserting genes encoding a required protein into a patient's body or cells.)
The biotechnology sector has also increased its research into traditional medications and monoclonal antibodies to halt disease progression. One of the most critical biotechnology approaches to emerge in the final quarter of the twentieth century was the successful manufacture of monoclonal antibodies.
Because of the specificity of monoclonal antibodies and their widespread availability, sensitive assays for a wide range of biologically essential chemicals have been developed, as well as the capacity to distinguish cells by recognizing hitherto unknown marker molecules on their surfaces.The study of genes (genomics), the proteins that they encode (proteomics), and the larger biological pathways in which they act allowed for such advancements.
Applications of Biotechnology
Particularly in medicine and agriculture, biotechnology has several applications. Examples involve the use of biotechnology in uniting biological information with computer technology (bioinformatics), discovering the use of microscopic tools that can enter the human body (nanotechnology), and potentially applying techniques of stem cell research and cloning to substitute dead or defective cells and tissues (regenerative medicine). It is not uncommon for companies and academic labs to combine these disparate technologies to analyze molecules downward and synthesize molecules upward from molecular biology toward chemical pathways, tissues, and organs.
Biotechnology has helped refine industrial processes by discovering and producing biological enzymes that spark chemical reactions (catalysts); in environmental cleanup with enzymes that digest contaminants into safe chemicals and then die after consuming the available 'food supply'; and in agricultural production through genetic engineering.
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