One kind of biotechnology is gene technology, sometimes called 'genetic engineering' or 'genetic modification', where the genetic material of living things is deliberately altered to enhance or remove a particular trait and allow the organism to perform new functions. Genes within a species can be modified, or genes can be moved from one species to another.
Tissue engineering is emerging as a significant potential alternative or complementary solution, whereby tissue and organ failure is addressed by implanting natural, synthetic, or semisynthetic tissue and organ mimics that are fully functional from the start, or that grow into the required functionality. Initial efforts have focused on skin equivalents for treating burns, but an increasing number of tissue types are now being engineered, as well as biomaterials and scaffolds used as delivery systems. A variety of approaches is used to coax differentiated or undifferentiated cells, such as stem cells, into the desired cell type. Notable results include tissue-engineered bone, blood vessels, liver, muscle, and even nerve conduits. As a result of the medical and market potential, there is significant academic and corporate interest in this technology.
- Biotechnology in Genetic Counselling
- Bioethics in Animal Genetic Engineering
- Bioethics in Plant Genetic Engineering