Biotech 101: History and Various Types of Biotechnology

Student research notebook

Biotechnology is the use of biological processes for industrial and other purposes, especially for the genetic manipulation of microorganisms for the production of antibiotics, hormones, and more. Biotechnology is a complicated sector, but it’s a crucial one to understand for those in the scientific community.

Being able to understand the history of this broad area is extremely important and a little intimidating — hopefully, this guide will help you better understand this subsection of biology.

For centuries, humankind has utilized biotechnology in agriculture, food production, and medicine. Biotechnology traces its roots back to 1919, as Hungarian engineer Karoly Ereky coined the term, but it wasn’t until the late 1960s that scientific researchers performed the first successful recombinant DNA experiment.

Biotech relies on all sorts of tools and applications and often overlaps with related fields of molecular engineering, bioengineering, biomedical engineering, molecular biology, biomanufacturing, and more.

Simply put, “Biotechnology is technology based on biology,” according to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. “[Biotech] harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet.

It’s important to note, however, whether you’re a biotech student working towards a career in this field or have been studying and researching for decades, biotech requires a lot of research and diligent note-taking. That’s where quality research notebooks come into play. Biotechnicians of all experience levels rely on dozens and dozens of research notebooks that are filled with formulas, notes, ideas, quotes, experiments, and so much more.

Here are some of the most popular types of biotechnology:

  1. Medical Biotech — This involves the study of DNA to get to know how to manipulate the genetic makeup of cells to increase production of beneficial characteristics that humans might find useful such as the production of insulin. Additionally, this field typically leads to the development of new drugs and treatments.
  2. Agricultural Biotech — This focuses on developing genetically modified plants for the purpose of increasing crop yields. Agricultural biotech involves pest-resistant crops, plant and animal breeding, and more.
  3. Industrial Biotech — The industrial applications of biotech range from the production of cellular structures to creating biological elements for all kinds of uses. For example, industrial biotech leads to the creation of new materials within the construction sector, as well as manufacturing alcohol, washing detergents, and other personal care products.

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