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"Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use."UN definition of biotechnology.

Blue biotechnology - marine and aquatic applications. The development of genetically –modified salmon that grow at twice the normal rate.

Green biotechnology - agricultural processes. The development of genetically-modified plants (GMO plants) designed to tolerate specific herbicides (eg glyphostae) or resist insects, diseases or viruses. Future developments may include improvements in nutrition, drought tolerance and the development of edible vaccines.

Red biotechnology - medical processes. The designing of organisms to produce antibiotics and the engineering of genetic cures through genetic manipulation. Other promising applications include:

  •   drug production
  •   pharmacogenomics
  •   gene therapy
  •   genetic testing
  •   gene mapping

White biotechnology - applied to industrial processes. The designing of an organism to produce a useful chemical or using novel enzymes as industrial catalysts to either produce valuable chemicals or destroy hazardous/polluting chemicals.

Bioinformatics - addresses biological problems using computational techniques and makes the rapid organization and analysis of biological data possible. Bioinformatics plays a key role in various areas, such as functional genomics, structural genomics, and proteomics, and forms a key component in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector.

Human application:

  • Fighting infectious diseases
  • Antibiotics
  • Producing human products
  • Reproductive technologies
  • The human genome project
  • Genetic disorders
  • Gene therapy
  • Cloning
  • Stem cells
  • Transplantation
  • DNA profiling

Environmental applications:

  • Biological control of pests
  • Protecting species
  • Cleaning up and managing the environment

Agriculture and food production applications:

  • increase crop or animal resistance to pests while reducing the use of chemicals
  • increase crop or animal tolerance to chemicals that are used to kill harmful pests
  • create disease resistance in crops and animals
  • improve the food yield per plant or animal
  • make plants and animals more suited to special environmental conditions such as drier regions or saline water
  • improve the nutritional quality of the food produced by the plant or animal.

Gene technology is also being used to deliver benefits in the forestry and fishery industries.

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