Biotechnology is using living things to create products or to do tasks for human beings.

Biotechnology is the practice of using plants, animals and micro-organisms such as bacteria, as well as biological processes - such as the ripening of fruit or the bacteria that break down compost - to some benefit.

For example, biotechnology is used in in industry, medicine and agriculture to produce foods, medicines, test for diseases and remove waste.

It can also be used to solve problems and conduct research. Over time, biotechnology has formed the basis of learning about people and diseases. Biotechnology has also underpinned the development of treatments.

The basic science behind biotechnology is gene technology.

Biotechnology is used in a wide range of applications in food science, medicine, the environment and agriculture. Research is rapidly expanding the possibilities of where it will be used next.

Any technology brings with it risks as well as benefits, and gene technology is no exception. These risks need to be carefully assessed before a genetically-modified (GM) plant, animal or microorganism is released.

Government regulatory authorities assess the risks, which may include:

  • how readily the released organism could cross-breed with similar organisms in the environment
  • whether the modification gives the organism extra survival advantages
  • whether these advantages could upset a balanced ecosystem.

DNA contains all of the information required to grow and build a whole organism, from a bacterium to a plant, to a human. Studying the DNA of living organisms provides us with more information on how our body (or a plant or an animal) works and what happens when things go wrong.

Biotechnology is the use of living organisms to create products or to do tasks for us. Researchers use DNA, genes, yeast, bacteria and cells to create things.

Biotechnology is leading the way to a new era in health care, with the development of better methods for detecting, preventing and treating disease. Biotechnology techniques, such as DNA profiling, are also proving enormously useful in other areas of human life, e.g. forensic science and identification.

It is being applied for human uses, including:

Our team of contractors and partners are comprised of a highly skilled range of lawyers, patent attorneys and corporate advisers, many of whom also hold qualifications in the health sciences, engineering and computer programming. For instance, our scientific qualifications include disciplines such as microbiology, pharmacy, genetics and chemistry. This gives our practice a powerful combination of technical, commercial and legal know-how.

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