BIOTECHNOLOGY- The third wave of scientific revolution
Biotechnology is the third wave of scientific revolution, after physics and chemistry. For the past 30 years biotechnology is providing several products to heal feed and fuel the world!
You are a witness to biotechnological revolution, even if you are unaware!!
Followed by Physics- the study of matter and energy,
And Chemistry that developed from Alchemy,
To heal, feed and fuel the world, emerged yet another technology,
The scientific manipulation of living organisms- Biotechnology!
This is the third wave of scientific revolution.
That paves its way through innovation!
According to traditional accounts, the scientific revolution began in Europe towards the end of the Renaissance era (17th century) and continued through the late 18th century, influencing the intellectual social movement known as the Enlightenment. By tradition, the ‘Scientific Revolution’ refers to historical changes in thought & belief, to changes in social & institutional organization with the advancements in Mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, etc.
It was an intellectual revolution, a revolution in Human knowledge!
There was a transformation in the views of society and nature. It enlightened the people to look at the world in a different light where Superstitions and fears were replaced by reasoning and knowledge.
Steam engine is one of the important breakthroughs in Physics. It is considered to be a key component of the Industrial Revolution that started in 1850. For most of the period of the Industrial Revolution, the majority of industrial power was supplied by steam. It was an Age of Enlightenment that provided an intellectual framework which welcomed the practical applications of a growing body of scientific knowledge—a factor that was evident in the systematic development of the stationary steam engine.
The scientific revolution has changed the world and it would never be the same again!
The next scientific revolution came from creative thoughts, in chemistry– August Kekule’s reverie of a Snake biting its own tail- a dream that supposedly revealed the true Structure of Benzene ring. It was in 1865 when Kekule suggested that the structure of benzene was a regular hexagon with hydrogen at each corner.
The new understanding of benzene, and hence of all aromatic compounds, proved to be so important for both pure and applied chemistry. Benzene, the parent aromatic compound is one of the first chemicals in history whose unique properties were studied by chemists.
For instance, Millions of Toothbrushes and brush cleaners that are sold out in the market wouldn’t have happened without this discovery!
Next in the series is considered to be the third wave of scientific revolution- Biotechnology that made its breakthrough by the production of INSULIN to treat Diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common chronic diseases across the world. Around 347 Million people are suffering from Diabetes, worldwide and it is still growing! This is a common and sometimes fatal disease in which the supply of insulin is insufficient for the body to break down sugar properly.
The first genetically engineered, synthetic “human” insulin, HUMULIN was produced in a laboratory in 1977 by Arthur Riggs, PhD and Keiichi Itakura, PhD at City of Hope and Herbert Boyer at Genentech using E. coli. Partnering with Genentech founded by Swanson, Boyer and Eli Lilly and Company went on in 1982 to sell the first commercially available biosynthetic human insulin under the brand name Humulin. The vast majority of insulin currently used worldwide is now biosynthetic recombinant “human” insulin or its analogues.
Insulin was the first protein to have its sequence determined!
‘Biotechnology’ encompasses a wide range of procedures that helps modify living organisms according to human purposes. It harnesses cellular and bio-molecular processes to develop products that helps improvise our lives.
It is remarkable that we have been using these processes for more than 6000 years to make useful food products such as bread, cheese and preservatives.
Modern biotechnology provides breakthroughs to combat debilitating and rare diseases, to feed the hungry, to have safer, cleaner and efficient manufacturing processes.
Currently, there are about 250 Biotech healthcare products and vaccines for diseases that remained untreatable in the earlier days. More than 13.3 million farmers use agricultural-biotechnology products to increase yields and preserve crops against harmful pests and insects. There are so many Bio-refineries around the world that help refine technologies to produce biofuels and chemicals that help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.
Heal the World
- Reducing rates of infectious diseases,
- saving millions of lives from life-threatening diseases,
- Help minimize health risks,
- creating accurate Diagnostic tools,
- Combating chronic illnesses and threats.
Fuel the World
- Streamlining the steps in chemical manufacturing processes.
- Improving the efficiency of manufacturing processes
- Reducing & Monitoring the use of petrochemicals;
- Bio-fuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Waste generation and biomass waste products.
Feed the World
Biotechnology improves and enhances the quality of crops by making it insect resistance, enhances crop herbicide tolerance and facilitates the use of better farming practices. It helps feed the world by:
- Generating higher crop yields with fewer inputs;
- Reducing the volumes of agricultural chemicals
- Reducing the applications of pesticides
- Yielding crops with enhanced nutrition profiles that prevent vitamin and nutrient deficiencies;
- Producing Allergen- free foods
- Improvising crop oil content to help improve cardiovascular health
In today’s world, Biotechnology is everywhere around us! It is already playing a major role in our lives by providing these breakthrough products and technologies in enriching our lives by healing, Fueling and Feeding us!
Do you know how many billions of people each revolution helped already ?