Oregon State University

biotechnology

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Biotechnology is the fusion of biology and technology to support human nutrition, shelter, health and environment. Early biotechnologists genetically improved plants and animals during domestication and pre-scientific breeding. They also used yeast to make bread and wine, and bacteria and animal enzymes (rennet) to make cheese. Now molecularly bred and genetically engineered (GE) yeast and bacteria produce substances like insulin and antibiotics, GE plants reduce pesticide use and pest damage and are pharmed for medicines and industrial products like plastics, and GE organisms can be used to clean up the environment (bioremediation). Biotechnology underlies many diagnostic tests and medical therapies, and aids biofuel crop breeding and production. While scientists consider biotechnology as a broad array of technologies and do not equate it with GE per se, the public often views GE and biotechnology synonymously.  

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