Search SiteSkip to Main Content

Introduction to Biotechnology

Biotechnology is...

The use of living organisms to produce food, medicine, or other products that provide a benefit to humans.

Most people don't realize biotechnology is thousands of years old! Making cheese, wine, bread, and selective breeding of plants and animals are all examples of using living organisms for our benefit.

Modern day biotechnology takes this a step further though. We can now take genes of one organism and transfer them directly to another organism. Human insulin for diabetics is manufactured in this way, as the insulin gene is introduced into bacteria, which then produce insulin on a large scale. Sometimes, we can actually alter the gene itself and reinsert it into the organism to produce a completely new product. This can be seen in plants that contain a "knockout" gene that make crops resistant to a specific herbicide, allowing greater crop yield.

Biotechnology as a Career

As developments and uses for biotechnology continue to evolve, opportunities for careers will rapidly expand. Below is a brief description of several possible career paths in biotechnology.

Manufacturing Technician

makes life-saving medicines on a large scale using the latest advances in genetic engineering.

Quality Control Analyst

uses sophisticated instrumentation and equipment to ensure product quality and safety.

Research Associate

develops new medicines through experimentation with novel compounds in the laboratory or small-scale manufacturing setting.