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What is biotechnology ?

 What is biotechnology?

Biotechnology is booming in all economic areas and has contributed to a variety of applications. What are we talking about ?

Biotechnology is a field that covers all technologies and applications that involve the use or modification of living materials, for the purposes of scientific research to increase human knowledge, or for commercial purposes to create products or services.


However, the definition of biotechnology is so broad that it includes ancestral technology for fermentation or domestication of animals and plants that humans have used for hundreds of years. That is why we identified "modern biotechnology" produced by genetic engineering and the countless studies that followed the discovery of DNA in 1953.

Multiple applications in all fields

If California's Silicon Valley were to be a global center for basic and applied biotechnology research, France would not be left out! Several public institutions, such as CNRS and the Pasteur Institute (Institut Pasteur), are actively operating in this area, in addition to many private companies.

Today, the main areas of activity that use biotechnology on a daily basis are the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries. In the field of pharmacology, biotechnology is being used to produce new treatments for genetic diseases that are still considered incurable. In the food sector, 

it is possible to create plants that are more resistant to bacteria and pests, and to increase crop yields. Finally, in cosmetics, it is used to make artificial leather in order to avoid animal experiments.

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However, the enthusiasm for biotechnology is not limited to these areas! It is spreading rapidly in all areas of the economy, especially: green chemistry, fighting water pollution, etc.

Biotechnology terminology and color codes

There are many contemporary biotechnologies that now research laboratories use "color codes" to classify and distinguish them: "Red biotechnology" is a technology that combines medical activities such as the manufacture of drugs, vaccines, or gene therapy. "Green biotechnology" refers to technologies related to agricultural and environmental applications by creating genetically modified plants that require less water and fertilizer.

For manufacturers, they developed their own color codes. Therefore, the biotechnology related to the production of biofuels is called "white", if it is for purely educational purposes, it is called "orange", and if it focuses on the use of marine biological materials, it is called "blue".

 And everything is called "yellow." About pollution control treatment. However, startups typically prefer to use English-speaking terms, such as "agricultural biotechnology".

How do we prevent biotechnology risks ?

Although extremely promising in terms of advances in medicine, agriculture and the environment, biotechnology itself carries potential risks, whether they are biological threats (involuntary or intentional exposure to infectious agents), technical pollution (the spread of GMOs in a natural environment) or even the influence. The unexpected side.

In order to reduce the risks associated with biotechnology development, the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) introduced key ethical principles as the basis for national and international regulations in the late 1980s. Therefore, any biotechnology research or commercial application should include research on physical, chemical and toxicological hazards, and provide solutions to prevent and manage these risks when necessary.

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