Genetic Engineering vs Biotechnology
Genetic engineering and biotechnology are two very important fields for nowadays lifestyles of humans, when versatility of these fields is considered. However, the increased use of genetic engineering to create different types of products including food and medicine has elevated its status, and sometimes it has been treated at the same level with biotechnology. In fact, it should be noted that genetic engineering comes as a modern and frontline application of biotechnology.
Genetic engineering is a biotechnological application where the DNA or genes of organisms are manipulated according to the requirement. Genetic engineering has been utilizing mainly to benefit the needs of humans. In genetic engineering, an identified gene of other organisms that are responsible for a certain function is isolated, and it is introduced into another organism, let the gene express, and benefit from it.
The introduction of foreign genes into an organism’s genome is performed through the techniques of Recombinant DNA Technology (RDT); the first use of RDT was demonstrated in 1972. The organism to whom the gene has been introduced is called the genetically modified organism. When a certain food is produced through a genetically modified organism, it will be a genetically modified food. Production of food and medicine has been the main practice performed through genetic engineering. In addition, the use of genetic engineering has been starting to benefit the agricultural crops so that there may be an increased immunity against insects or herbicides.
The genetically modified organisms do not have a great chance to survive in the nature unless they are provided with the desired conditions or the scientists continue to manage their population sizes. That is because, the natural selection has not taken place, and natural conditions may be disastrous for the genetically modified organisms.
Biotechnology is one of the very highly productive applications of biology where organisms have been modified in order to gain financial benefits. However, with this definition, one might feel that the use of a circus elephant can be considered as an application of biotechnology, but it is not so. It is important to notice that biotechnology uses a biological system, product, derivative, or organism, in a technological aspect to benefit financially.
The main streams that biotechnology touches are cell and tissue culture, genetic engineering, microbiology, embryology, molecular biology, and many others. Gulping beer, tasting wine, favourite chocolate, ever-loving ice cream, and many other products are proud results of biotechnology. The cultivation of food plants, producing high-yielding crops, antibiotics, enzymes, and hundreds of other products are also involved in biotechnology. Pharmacology, medicine, and other treating means are some of other areas that are being operated through biotechnology. Therefore, it is clear that there are umpteen applications created through biotechnology. It also has a great history that dates back almost towards the early days of human civilizations.
In biotechnology, the organisms are not always modified to be different, but their natural processes are enhanced to get the optimum product. Hence, the organisms that are being used in biotechnology may not be in grave danger under natural conditions.
What is the difference between Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology?
• Genetic engineering is the modification of genome of an organism to yield a desired outcome, whereas biotechnology is the use of a biological system, product, derivative, or organism in a technological aspect to benefit financially.
• Genetic engineering is an application of biotechnology.
• Biotechnology has a very longer history than genetic engineering does.
• Genetically modified organisms have a very slight chance to survive in nature when it is compared with the organisms used in biotechnology.
• Biotechnology has provided more products than genetic engineering has so far.