The Revolutionary Implications of the Word Biotechnology

Robert Bud


Despite the success of the chemical industry, since the early 20th century biotechnology has been framed as a natural and revolutionary alternative. The idea has involved the interweaving of the concepts of engineering new products using living processes, and of engineering new living beings themselves. The potential of these twin themes as alternatives to chemical technologies has been debated since the revolutionary era at the end of World War I. Highpoints included the 1930s and the 1960s. The emergence of genetic engineering techniques in the 1970s enabled the realisation of long-existing aspirations. Ever since then there have been marked changes as the emphasis of biotechnology has shifted from the engineering of micro-organisms to produce proteins to the engineering of animals and even man. The sense of millenial change expressed when the human genome was first drafted is therefore both genuine and old-established.

Keywords: Human genome project - Chemical industry - Revolt - Chemistry - Agricolture

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