What is Aquatic Biotechnology?

A revolution is sweeping the aquatic sciences. Techniques of microbiology, genetics, and biotechnology are being applied to aquatic organisms and ecosystems with increasing frequency, and the pace of discovery using these techniques is astounding. In some cases, the speed with which new developments occur in aquatic biotechnology outpaces society’s ability to understand and evaluate those developments. Consequently, it is critical that people have access to basic information about these complex techniques, discoveries, and developments so they can understand and evaluate them. The future of some types of research may depend on public understanding and support (witness the stem cell debate), and people have the right to information that will help them make educated personal and political decisions.

researchersSo, what is aquatic biotechnology? Let’s start with a definition of biotechnology first. Biotechnology is defined as a set of biological techniques developed through basic research and now applied to research and product development. In particular, biotechnology refers to the use by industry of recombinant DNA, cell fusion, and new bioprocessing techniques (New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences 1998). Many people’s familiarity with biotechnology is through their awareness of genetically modified crops, created to be resistant to certain pests or to boost their nutritional value in some way. To create these plants, the genes for the desirable trait from one organism are inserted into the genome of the target species.

Aquatic biotechnology is simply the application of these techniques to aquatic organisms or ecosystems. This project has focused on three sub-fields of aquatic biotechnology. Click below to get details about each subject. Enjoy exploring this web site, and please let us know what you think! You can contact us at: AES.support@oregonstate.edu.