What are the research and developmental achievements in applied biotechnology? How will these achievements help to uplift the poorer sections of the society? UPSC 2021, 15 Marks

Q15. अनुप्रयुक्त जैवप्रौद्योगिक्की में शोध तथा विकाससम्बन्धी उपलब्धियाँ क्या हैं ? ये उपलब्धियाँ समाज के निर्धन वर्गों के उत्थीन में किस प्रकार सहायक होंगी ? (250 शब्दों में उत्तर दीजिए)
Q15. What are the research and developmental achievements in applied biotechnology? How will these achievements help to uplift the poorer sections of the society? (Answer in 250 words) 15

Answer:

“Biotechnology is a wide discipline that harnesses cellular and bimolecular processes to develop technologies that help in improving the health and lives of the people.”

Recent research  and developmental achievements in applied Biotechnology:

  1. Stem Cell Research:

Stem cells can keep dividing infinitely and have the capacity to differentiate into different types of body cells during the early development of an organism. In a laboratory, researchers can program these stem cells to differentiate into specific types of cells. This is where the innovation of biotechnology steps in. Imagine an individual with the degenerative spinal disorder that severely impacts their quality-of-life. With the help of stem cell research, it might be possible to grow these stem cells in vitro, in a lab setting, and then implanted back into the affected individual’s body. This would help restore their cognitive acuity, vision, hearing, and other physical features. This may sound far-fetched and like a plot from a sci-fi movie, but the preliminary results have been promising.

  1. Human Genome Project:

Often lauded as the one of greatest feat of exploration in human history, the Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international scientific research project coordinated by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy. It was officially launched in 1990 with the goal of determining the sequence of nucleotide base pairs that make up human DNA. In April 2003, the researchers announced that they had completed a preliminary sequencing of the entire human genome. This work of the HGP has allowed researchers to begin to understand the blueprint for building a person. As researchers learn more about the functions of genes and proteins, it has aided them in identifying genes that cause diseases.

  1. Targeted Cancer Therapies:

Currently, established standard chemotherapies are toxic for healthy cells. Targeted cancer therapies are drugs that work either by interfering with the function of specific molecules or by only targeting known cancerous cells, in order to minimize damage to healthy cells. According to the National Cancer Institute, “Eventually, treatments may be individualized based on the unique set of molecular targets produced by the patient’s tumor.”

  1. CRISPR:

Clustered Regularly Interspersed Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is a relatively new gene-editing system that has been hailed as a groundbreaking tool in medical research. Of its many uses, HIV research is one of them. Researchers can now keep up with the constant genetic mutations by actively testing newly found mutations and constantly editing them to tweak targeted therapies.

  1. 3D Printed Organs:

Artificial limbs have been in use for centuries, and there has been a steady improvement in the mobility and versatility of bionic limbs. Now new advances in bionic technology and 3D printing have taken it even further. It has made it possible to artificially construct internal organs like heartkidney, and liver. Doctors have been able to implant these into individuals that need them successfully.

  1. m-RNA Vaccine:

An mRNA vaccine is a type of vaccine that uses a copy of a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA) to produce an immune response. The vaccine delivers molecules of antigen-encoding mRNA into immune cells, which use the designed mRNA as a blueprint to build foreign protein that would normally be produced by a pathogen (such as a virus) or by a cancer cell. These protein molecules stimulate an adaptive immune response that teaches the body to identify and destroy the corresponding pathogen or cancer cells. The mRNA is delivered by a co-formulation of the RNA encapsulated in lipid nanoparticles that protect the RNA strands and help their absorption into the cells. In RNA therapeutics, messenger RNA vaccines have attracted considerable interest as COVID-19 vaccines.

 

How will these achievements help to uplift the poorer sections of the society?

  • Biotechnology revolutionized the medical science resulting in controlled the death rate and world class treatment possible in India itself. 
  • Biotechnology strengthens the soft power of the nation which improve sthe economy, trade and ultimately drastic improvement in per capita income. 
  • Biotechnology helps in accessing health of the people from the corners of India through genome sequencing which ultimately conducive for the government in framing targeted policy initiatives. For example: National nutrition mission, Indradhanush mission , Universal or immunization programme.
  • Biotechnology helps in developing vaccines for age old incurable diseases. for example: malaria , covid-19 vaccine(DNA-RNA vaccines).
  • With the help of biotechnology we are unable to treat genetic diseases which are more prevalent in unaware poor section of the society.
  • Biotechnology makes these medicinal facilities affordable top poorer sections of the society. 
  • Research and development in biotechnology helps in employment creation, setting up of new higher education institutions for research, etc. 

CSIR, CCMB , Institution of  Genomics , National Institute OF Virology , ETC. are the prominent institutions which makes India world leader in the field of biotechnology.

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