Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Audience: Elementary and Middle School Students
Biotechnology, often referred to as biotech, is a branch of biology that uses living organisms and systems to improve our everyday lives.
Scientists in biotech work with DNA (genes which define what a living organism will be like), crops, machines, natural resources, and even food!
Humans have been using biotechnology for several thousand years. The Egyptians used yeast bacteria to make bread, the Chinese developed fermentation (a process which allows us to make cheese and yogurt) and the Aztecs from South America used spirulina (a type of seaweed) to make cakes.
This seems useful and all, but how exactly does this relate to robot arms and saving the world?
Let's start with robot arms. Scientists working in the red field of biotechnology work with medicine and create regenerative therapies for humans and animals. With the help of modern day technology, they are able to create limbs for those who are lacking them, called prosthetics. Doctors and scientists work together to create arms, legs, and other body parts which will allow disabled individuals to live their lives to their fullest potential!
A doctor helps his patient find a well-fitting prosthetic and shows him how it works.
Now, to invincible plants. In the green field of biotechnology, scientists work to create fruits and vegetables that are superior to their wild ancestors. They make plants bigger, stronger, sweeter, and more withstanding to harsh conditions or pesticides. Without these discoveries, you wouldn’t be able to eat most of the fruit we have today!
Scientist studying DNA Genotyping and Sequencing. Some scientists study the foods we eat every day, all of which are very important in the process of improving the plants humans use.
And finally, how is biotech saving the world?
As everyone knows, we are in the midst of a global pandemic with COVID-19. But biotech can help! Scientists are currently working hard to create a vaccine, using antibodies and lots of testing, that will prevent people from getting sick and will allow us a soon return to normal life. Thanks to biotech, humans are able to speed up this natural process and prevent many unpleasant consequences.
“Biotech Limb and Brace.” BioTech Limb and Brace, 27 June 2019, biotechpossibilities.com/technology/prosthetics/. Accessed 16 Oct. 2020.
https://www.facebook.com/thoughtcodotcom. “What Is Agricultural Biotechnology?” ThoughtCo, 2019, www.thoughtco.com/agricultural-biotechnology-examples-375753. Accessed 16 Oct. 2020.
“What Is Biotechnology?” LSC, 26 Sept. 2017, lscconnect.com/what-is-biotechnology/. Accessed 16 Oct. 2020.