Biotechnology vs Biomedical Engineering
Biotechnology and biomedical engineering are highly interdisciplinary subjects influenced by various other fields. As they share certain fundamentals of biology, sometimes, these two terms are used interchangeably. However, their scopes and applications differ considerably. Biotechnology covers a broader scope depending more on natural sciences, while biomedical engineering focuses mainly on medicine and engineering principles.
Biotechnology is defined as “any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.” It is a broad and complex discipline mainly encompassing pure biological sciences such as genetics, microbiology, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry etc. and the fields outside biology, such as engineering and information technology. Although, the term ‘biotechnology’ is modern, it has been practiced since the dawn of civilization. The most common examples being making bread, beer, wine and cheese through fermentation and selective breeding of useful animal and plant species. Modern biotechnology uses new techniques that provide much more understanding and control over, living processes. Today, it has varied applications, predominantly in the areas of health care, agriculture, environment and industrial processes. Some common applications of biotechnology are production of disease resistant and nutritionally enhanced crops, gene therapy, genetic screening and enzymes that act as industrial catalysts. Biotechnology is also applied in the areas of pollution control, waste management, mining, energy production, forestry and aquaculture. However, biotechnology is not entirely free of risks. Huge controversies have arisen over the production of genetically modified organisms due to the alteration of their natural compositions which could damage the balance of nature, eventually leading to unknown consequences.
Biomedical engineering is defined as the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology. It is involved in developing innovative biologies, materials, processes, implants, devices and informatics approaches for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases, for patient rehabilitation, and for improving health. Biomedical engineering is a relatively new engineering discipline. It is an interdisciplinary subject, influenced by many other engineering and medical fields including biomedical electronics, biomaterials, bioinstrumentation, clinical engineering, cellular, tissue and genetic engineering. Some major biomedical engineering applications include the development of biocompatible prostheses, diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices ranging from clinical equipment to common imaging equipment such as MRIs and EEGs. Its biotechnology related applications include regenerative tissue growth and production of biopharmaceuticals. Examples of commonly used biomedical engineering products are prosthetic eye used in ophthalmology, breast implants and pacemakers.
Difference between Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering
The scopes and applications of biotechnology and biomedical engineering overlap to some extent, but posses their own characteristics. Both are interdisciplinary areas influenced by various other fields. Biotechnology is more dependent on natural sciences, while biomedical engineering uses concepts and principles of physical science to solve problems. Further, biomedical engineering is more focused on medicine and healthcare applications while biotechnology addresses almost all forms of life sciences, hence covering a broader scope. The fundamental concepts of biotechnology have been practiced for centuries, but biomedical engineering has only recently emerged as its own discipline. Unlike the direct manipulation of biological materials in biotechnology, biomedical engineering emphasizes more on higher systems approaches when utilizing living things.
Biotechnology vs Biomedical Engineering
- Biotechnology and biomedical engineering are interdisciplinary subjects sharing principles of biological sciences.
- Biotechnology has a broader scope which covers many forms of natural sciences and wider areas of application. The focus of biomedical engineering is mainly centered on the fields of medicine and engineering.
- Both are upcoming and promising fields that has significantly impacted and improved the quality of life.
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