Currently, biology is one of the fastest developing fields in science. Thousands of scholars conduct research on different biology projects topics in order to find something useful for humanity. A large number of common diseases are curable thanks to findings in biotechnology. Biotechnology also is crucial in security and defense. Biological weapons are very dangerous since they are able to destroy big cities. Some of the most popular biotechnology research topics are an analysis of polluted water, stem cells therapy, building biological machines, and study of genetically modified food.
Analysis of polluted water. Biotechnology, which is applied to the treatment of polluted water can help to solve the problem of water scarcity in many developing countries. One of the popular initiatives of European countries which contribute to coping with water scarcity in African countries is WATERBIOTECH. Scientists collect water samples in such countries as Senegal, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Ethiopia, Morocco, Ghana, and Lybia; and analyze whether harmful substances exist. Then, specialists use special plants and microorganisms, which detoxify water.
Stem-cell therapy. The use of stem cells for the treatment of diseases has become a real breakthrough in biotechnology. Bone marrow transplant is the most widely used type of stem cells therapy. Normally, stem cells therapy is used for the treatment of cancer. However, they are still being studied and scholars are investigating their application for the treatment of other diseases. For instance, the research has been conducted to study their effects on Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Building biological machines. Another example of a combination of biology and technology is the development of biological (molecular) machines. In fact, a molecular machine is a cluster of molecular components that respond to stimuli with mechanical movements. One of the most significant biological machines is a ribosome, which performs the role of a linking element between amino acids. However, biotechnologists are still actively looking for methods to construct more complex molecular machines. In the result of experimental studies, they have already designed molecular propellers, sensors, switches. The most prominent of these scholars are Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, Bernard L. Feringa, and Jean-Pierre Sauvage. In 2016, they won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the construction of molecular machines.
Genetically modified food. Another sphere of active research in biotechnology is genetically modified food (or GM). This food is produced from organisms that have modifications in their DNA (Genetically modified organisms). Usually, a majority of food modifications are made in corn and soybean. The technology of producing genetically modified foods is sometimes called DNA technology, gene technology, or modern biotechnology. In fact, there are ongoing public concerns about safety of genetically modified food to people and environment. Due to its impact on health, scientists have been divided into two groups: some of them believe that it poses small risk to human health while others claim that it can cause cancer.
To conclude, biotechnology seems to be the most rapidly developing field of biology. In order to simplify everyday life, people try to combine biology with technology. Some of the findings have been proven as useful for humanity while others need to be studied more because their benefits and threats have not been investigated yet.
References:Chang, K., & Chan, S. (2016). 3 Makers of World’s Smallest Machines Awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/06/science/nobel-prize-chemistry.html?_r=0Delude, C., & Mirvis, K. (2016). The Gene Revolution in Food. Your World: Biotechnology & You, (1).WATERBIOTECH – Latest News. (2017). Waterbiotech.eu. Retrieved 2 June 2017, from http://www.waterbiotech.eu/en/Maguire, G. (2016). Therapeutics from Adult Stem Cells and the Hype Curve. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 7(5), 441-443. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.6b00125Touyz, L. (2013). Genetically modified foods, cancer and diet: myths and reality. Current Oncology, 20(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.20.1283
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