∞ generated and posted on 2022.01.25 ∞

Modification of living things for the sake of generating useful products.

Biotechnology literally is the manipulation of biology for technological purposes, with technology potentially defined very broadly to include not only products of laboratories but also products of farms (though not necessarily also of either hunting or gathering).

Biotechnology comes in many forms, ranging from agriculture to gene cloning to pharmacology and back to agriculture again. For example, human growth hormone generated by only 16 transgenic cows would be sufficient to supply the entire world's needs for this hormone .

Figure legend: Sugar maple sap is rich in sucrose, which is the primary means by which plants move energy extracellularly around their 'bodies'. Though it starts out rich in sucrose, with time after collection microorganisms that come to contaminate the sap can breakdown some of the sucrose into the constituent fructose and glucose. This can contribute to a lowering in the grade of the resulting maple syrup, which is based upon color. The pictured tree is found in my brother's front yard.

Biotechnology began, at least potentially, even before the domestication of other organisms, such as animals , with the fermentation of foods using wild microorganisms (e.g., production of alcoholic beverages). The development of biotechnology then continued through the domestication and associated breeding/artificial selection including in terms of the various agricultural revolutions, and exploded during the 20th century, particularly in terms of and as a consequence of genetic engineering .

Biotechnology in one form or another has flourished since prehistoric times. When the first human beings realized that they could plant their own crops and breed their own animals, they learned to use biotechnology. The discovery that fruit juices fermented into wine, or that milk could be converted into cheese or yogurt, or that beer could be made by fermenting solutions of malt and hops began the study of biotechnology. When the first bakers found that they could make a soft, spongy bread rather than a firm, thin cracker, they were acting as fledgling biotechnologists. The first animal breeders, realizing that different physical traits could be either magnified or lost by mating appropriate pairs of animals, engaged in the manipulations of biotechnology.

Biotechnology thus is not completely synonymous with genetic engineering nor genetic engineering completely synonymous with biotechnology. Nonetheless, the following video – which, alas, presents things at a fairly low level – strongly emphasizes molecular biology: