The Emergence and Growth of Biotechnology

The Emergence and Growth of Biotechnology

Experiences in Industrialised and Developing Countries

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Rohini Acharya

This innovative book examines the development and evolution of biotechnology in industrialised and developing countries.

Chapter 2: The Development of Biotechnology

Rohini Acharya

Subjects: business and management, international business, economics and finance, economics of innovation, international economics, environment, biotechnology, innovation and technology, biotechnology, economics of innovation


Page 15 2—  The Development of Biotechnology 2.1—  Biotechnology: Definitions The first potential source of misunderstanding faced by most students of modern biotechnology, is defining what they mean by it. More particularly, biotechnology can  be taken to mean considerably different things depending on the limitations placed on the scope of the techniques defined as biotechnology. To many people today, the  word biotechnology has become associated with mutated genes and the fears raised by such images has resulted in strong public anti biotechnology campaigns in  several countries. To others, biotechnology with its abilities, theoretically at least, to produce miraculous new cures, presents a potential which cannot be dismissed  easily by environmental groups or by society in general. For most people, however, biotechnology is already ever present in their daily lives when they make bread,  cheese, preserve food or quench their thirst with a beer. Because biotechnology remains a composite of different techniques and straddles different scientific and technological disciplines, defining those techniques which  together are called biotechnology, remains difficult. One definition calls biotechnology, 'the industrial use of recombinant DNA, cell fusion and novel bioprocessing  techniques' (US OTA, 1991). Broader definitions are used by those who wish to include older technologies as biotechnology and include 'any technique that uses  living organisms (or parts of organisms) to make or modify products, to improve plants or animals, or to develop micro­organisms for specific uses' (US OTA, 1991),  and 'the application of scientific and engineering principles to the processing of materials by biological agents...

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