Difference Between Traditional and Modern Biotech

Biotechnology is the use of biology and technology to agricultural purposes, and the phrase was likely originated in 1919 by Hungarian agricultural engineer Karl Ereky. During the course of a year, he was able to breed and butcher over a hundred thousand pigs. He defined biotechnology as the biological transformation of basic resources into consumer goods with social value. He is considered by some to be the first person to work in the field of biotechnology because of this.

At now, biotechnology is defined in a variety of ways by various groups. Biotechnology has grown in importance in recent years. The term "biotechnology" refers to the practise of employing biological processes and systems in the creation of commercially viable goods and services. Being a broad field, biotechnology includes both historical and contemporary practises. Nevertheless, cutting-edge biotechnology would not be possible without the foundation of the past. Because of advances in genetics and the wide variety of microorganisms available, conventional biotech has been able to expand its capabilities, leading to the birth of modern biotechnology.

What is Traditional Biotechnology?

By "traditional biotechnology," we mean the time-honored practises of working with living creatures in order to create or alter crops and other valuable goods for human use. Modern biotechnology would not be possible without the foundation laid by classical biotechnology. Cheese/yogurt, bread, beer, and wine are all products of early biotechnology examples like breeding animals and crops.

Contemporary uses of biotechnology make use of several time-honored practises, such as selective breeding, hybridization, and mutagenesis. Fermentation, selective breeding, food processing, tissue culture, and other technologies are also available. Traditional biotechnology's potential was enlarged by the growth of genetics and the variety of microorganisms, leading to the birth of modern biotechnology.

What is Modern Biotechnology?

Recombinant DNA, functional and structural genomics, DNA diagnostic probes, and other forms of genetic engineering are all used in today's biotechnology. Recombinant DNA technology is widely considered to be the foundation of contemporary biotechnology. As a result of advances in biotechnology, our understanding of living organisms has been greatly expanded.

Food, agriculture, forestry, healthcare, the environment, minerals, and manufacturing are just some of the industries that are now making use of cutting-edge biotechnology to create and refine new offerings. In agriculture, contemporary biotechnology has one of its most pervasive uses. Plants with new characteristics are created using recombinant DNA methods and mutagenesis. Several illnesses and genetic disorders may now be diagnosed with the use of biotech diagnostics.

Differences: Traditional and Modern Biotech

The following table highlights the major differences between Traditional Biotech and Modern Biotech −


Traditional Biotech

Modern Biotech


Traditional biotech, as the name suggests, refers to the traditional methods of using living organisms to yield new products or modify foods or other useful products for human use.

Traditional biotech is based on active techniques which have great efficiency and accuracy.

Modern biotechnology shares the same foundation, but it refers to biotechnological techniques for the manipulation of genetic material, cells and living tissues in a controlled environment.

Modern biotech involves making products from whole organisms or parts of organisms.


Traditional biotechnology may include the products of tissue culture, micro-propagation, or various strategies used to eliminate disease, while modern biotechnology incorporates a specific focus on industrial usage of rDNA, cell fusion and novel bioprocessing techniques.

Traditional biotechnology is based on active techniques which have great efficiency and accuracy, and are cheaper.

Recombinant DNA technology is the foundation of modern biotechnology.

Modern biotech uses GE techniques, such as DNA diagnostic probes, recombinant DNA, functional and structural genomics for genetic modification.


Traditional biotechnology remains the technology of choice for the most important agronomic traits.

Early examples include breeding animals and crops to make cheese, yoghurt, bread, beer and wine.

Microorganisms are also used to produce various products such as enzymes for use in laundry detergents.

Modern biotechnology is applied in medicine and healthcare in therapeutics, mainly for the discovery, development and production of novel drugs, and in diagnostics, for protein and nucleic acids based tests.

Biotechnology applications in the environment focus primarily on using living organisms to treat waste and prevent pollution.


Traditional and modern biotechnology both have their strengths and weaknesses, and both have important roles to play in our food supply and health systems. While traditional biotechnology is a proven and reliable technology that has been used for thousands of years, modern biotechnology provides new and exciting opportunities to tackle some of the world's most pressing challenges.

Updated on: 26-Apr-2023

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