At its simplest, biotechnology is technology based on biology - biotechnology harnesses cellular and bimolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet. We have used the biological processes of microorganisms for more than 6,000 years to make useful food products, such as bread and cheese, and to preserve dairy products.
Biotechnology is a source of great promise for innovations ranging from improving the diagnosis and treatment of hereditary diseases, to safer drugs, to more environmentally friendly herbicides and pesticides, to microbial processes to clean up the environment. Currently, there are more than 250 biotechnology health care products and vaccines available to patients, many for previously untreatable diseases. More than 13.3 million farmers around the world use agricultural biotechnology to increase yields, prevent damage from insects and pests and reduce farming's impact on the environment. And more than 50 bio refineries are being built across North America to test and refine technologies to produce biofuels and chemicals from renewable biomass, which can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. . . It is a relatively new and fast-developing field that integrates knowledge from several traditional sciences: biochemistry, chemistry, microbiology, and chemical engineering.
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