Pular para o conteúdo principal
Available in English

Policy brief: biotechnology with special reference to the Caribbean

Publication cover

Policy brief: biotechnology with special reference to the Caribbean

Autor institucional: NU. CEPAL. Sede Subregional para el Caribe Descripción física: 13 páginas. Editorial: ECLAC, Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean Data: dezembro 2008 Signatura: LC/CAR/L.184


The biotechnology movement in the Caribbean is a fledgling industry that has
tremendous potential for development. It focuses on the use of fermentation and enzyme
technologies, tissue culture and recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology and is more greatly
applied to plant varieties rather than animal species. Tissue culture is by far the most developed
type of technology but increasing attention is being paid to rDNA technology. Main areas
include application in the agriculture sector but the use in medicine and biology are also being
In its purest form, the term "biotechnology" refers to the use of living organisms or their
products to modify human health and the human environment for commercial purposes. The
term brings to mind many different things. Some think of developing new types of animals while
others anticipate almost unlimited sources of human therapeutic drugs. Still others envision the
possibility of growing crops that are more nutritious and naturally pest-resistant to feed a rapidly
growing world population.
Biotechnology in one form or another has flourished since prehistoric times. When the
first human beings realized that they could plant their own crops and breed their own animals,
they learned to use biotechnology. The discovery that fruit juices fermented into wine or that
milk could be converted into cheese or yogurt, or that beer could be made by fermenting
solutions of malt and hops began the study of biotechnology. When the first bakers found that
they could make soft, spongy bread rather than a firm, thin cracker, they were acting as fledgling
biotechnologists. The first animal breeders, realizing that different physical traits could be either
magnified or lost by mating appropriate pairs of animals, engaged in the manipulations of
Throughout human history, we have learned a great deal about the different organisms
that our ancestors used so effectively. The marked increase in our understanding of these
organisms and their cell products gains us the ability to control the many functions of various
cells and organisms. Using the techniques of gene splicing and recombinant DNA technology,
we can now actually combine the genetic elements of two or more living cells. Functioning
lengths of DNA can be taken from one organism and placed into the cells of another organism.
As a result, for example, we can cause bacterial cells to produce human molecules. Cows can
produce more milk for the same amount of feed. And we can synthesize therapeutic molecules
that have never before existed.