Biology in marriage with technology is called ‘bio-technology’ and includes disciplines like molecular modelling, genomic, bio-informatics bio-simulation, clinical information and many more. Biotechnology is a horizontal discipline and can be applied to the environment, the design and production of drugs and vaccines. Extending the reach biotechnology investigates into the improvement of varieties of plants.
PressuresAs of now biotech companies at the inception stage are confronted by pressures to minimise costs, increase productivity and maintain a high level of quality and regulatory compliance, it is imperative that it is backed with effective solutions in terms of Information Technology (IT) Today, technology has entered into an alliance with biology and is commonly called ‘bio-technology’. Biotechnology is considered a horizontal discipline and includes bioinformatics, molecular modelling, bio-simulation, clinical information and many more.The ultimate goal of this new and emerging field is to enable the discovery of new biological insights, and create a global perspective by unifying principles in biology that can be distinguished.Extending the reach, biotechnology contributes to the design and production of drugs, vaccines and has greatly led to advancements in agriculture, space technology, industrial, animal health, marine biotechnology, crime detection, anthropology, and bio-warfare. With the fusion of high-powered computing and biology, the field is so much in demand that it has created a huge scope for employment, more with establishment of R&D labs.Computer Science, Information Technology (IT) and Biology are merging into a single discipline, the dependency on IT in case of biological research areas like genetics, proteomics and molecular biology is fuelled by the great need for computational analysis.New challengesThe establishment of biotech R&D labs have thrown open new challenges and opportunities for IT applications. Harnessing the power of IT, researchers can collect, organise, store, interpret, share, and analyse biological data such as nucleic acid, protein sequences, structures, functions, pathways and interactions.Large servers are being deployed for solving large genome comparisons, bio-simulations, and molecular modelling problems.Take the case of data mining and visualisation software by which, scientists are able to screen data and identify important relationships and drug discovery is made faster leading to lower costs and faster Time to Deliver.IT majors like Sun, HP and IBM are already offering IT hardware and software solutions in the form of blade servers, grid computing solutions, storage solutions, high performance computing solutions, bundled with operating systems like Linux or Unix variants, supported with suitable customised software or user applications. Yet certain problems need addressing.Pharmaceutical and biotech researchers have to face the problem of bringing various data types together such as gene sequence data, gene expression data, protein structure data, and integrating the same data of the same type collected using different technologies and experimental protocols. A researcher cannot effectively mine data until it has been brought together under a common roof. The problem which needs addressing is - Data Integration making the process of matching data sources and finding common keys, making judgments of equivalency and semantic relationships, and finally using technology to implement those decisions.There is need for technical and computational standards (exclusive for biotech) in the case of hardware and software, however, the imperative challenge, faced by modern day researchers is that there is a demand and need for extensive integration of data and applications.Finally at the end of the day, it is the general public that will use the drugs. It is of paramount importance that the drugs are investigated and, therefore, that those in the biotech industry, ensure that all procedures carried out during the conduct of clinical studies meet the high quality process standards that will be expected.KADAMBAM DEEPAK
APPLICATIONS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY
* Healthcare - Medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and gene therapy* Agriculture - Crossbreeding and hybridisation programmes to produce superior organisms for high quality products for human and commercial consumption and bio-pesticides.* Industrial - Developing advanced biocatalyst, renewable energy, industrial enzymes and green plastics.* Crime Detection - Centralised databases have facilitated quick identification of criminals through DNA fingerprinting and forensic testing.