Scientific innovation: How biotechnology fits into America’s future

America, the name itself conjures an image of prosperity, high standards of living, a staggering economy, flourishing industries, and everything nice and good. But all these nice and good things were not achieved in a day. It took years of hard work and organization to reach this epoch. Most importantly, this is the fruit of years of continuous research and innovations which have helped this country to surge ahead of the rest in all fields. A few prime gifts of this country to the world includes Internet, and many others as the country gears up to continue its quest to remain not only the most powerful economy but technologically also the country should dig into new found mines of biotechnology. Biotechnology uses micro-organisms and the various biological processes to generate commercially viable bioproducts. At some instances, biotechnology is not used commercially but more importantly just to protect our mother nature and create a greener environment.
Early years
Long before the term biotechnology came into existence, it was indigenously used in various food processing processes like making beer, wine, cheese, etc. Other than that it was used in various aspects of agriculture like selection of high yielding crops, use of legumes to fertilize soil, making natural manures, etc. The advent of modern biotechnology took place in the 1970s. The red wave, in which the potential of biotechnology were appreciated in the field of medicine and put to practical use. The medical industry has found a new direction on the shoulders of biotechnology and surely it’s way ahead is shining bright with the newer discoveries and methodologies. The white wave, the last to strike the field is the industrial application of biotechnology. Yet to build a strong wave and flood the industry and economy with its immense potentialities.
1. Advancement in the field of agriculture
America’s farming is highly mechanized. With that, the use of biotechnology has led to production more than sufficing the needs of the country. High yielding, pest and drought resistant, better nutritional value, altered tasting crops have been produced. This has provided the country food security. And surely in future, with more advancements in biotechnology will take the agriculture up the ladders of prosperity.
2. Advancement in the field of medicine
Currently more than 50% of the biotechnology industry is concentrated in the medical field with the prime work force, staggering growth rate, speedy discoveries and millions of dollars pumped into research. This field has truly bloomed to serve the cause of human health. Genome mapping, monoclonal antibodies, synthesis of antibiotics and artificial hormones, gene therapy, rapid diagnostic methods, anti cancer drugs are the result of the meticulous research in this field. All this helped improve the health of the people and indirectly the nation. The National Alzheimer’s Project Act has been passed to control the disease and at the same time develop new drugs to treat it. Though a lot has been achieved, but this field shouldn’t be allowed to stagnate under any circumstances. As newer resistant viruses and bacteria emerge, the medical force should be prepared with the weapons made from biotechnology.
3. Advancement in the field of industrial application
Industries entirely based on biotech seem just round the corner as the potential of this field are being recognized with rapidity. Biodiesel now, generated at a commercial level can do away with the country’s dependence on the oil supplies from the gulf countries. Also it is a greener technology. Biomining is a method in which a solution of bacteria is used for extraction of metals (copper and gold). Bio-oxidation, a method in which bacteria is used to extract metal from their oxidized form. Both the forms yield high extraction rates upto 85-95%. Bioplastics, enzymes and many other products are awaited to be produced at an industrial level. Jatropha has the potential to replace petroleum as fuel. If the wonders of biotechnology are tapped commercially definitely it would contribute to the flourishing economy of the country. Although its contribution to the country’s GDP is meager, already it is one of the fastest growing sectors employing 130305 in 2005, with a turnover of US $51,655 million the same year. Needless to say that America is leading in all aspects of the biotechnology industry and hopefully it will continue to do so.
Last but not the least
Recently, America is facing steep competition from other developing nations like India and China and so the country needs to be on its toes. The current policies of the Barak Obama government are very favorable for extensive research and large amount of investments in the field. The other brighter side of this industry is the employment it is generating which has become particularly very important after the unemployment during and after recession. The upcoming new industries, the health and as well as the agriculture sector depend hugely on the advancements of biotechnology, so extensive research is being undertaken at all levels. The National Institute of Health is instituted for biotechnology training programs. Lastly the future of NASA, America’s prime space agency, also rests on newer biotech products as it aims to sustain life for a prolonged period outside earth. We hope that biotechnology will bloom to the most beautiful and prosperous future of America.

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