Perceived Advantages of Biotechnology
The investigation reported that most people that are aware of biotechnology had clear-cut perception of what they believe are its advantages and disadvantages. Majority (36%) perceived that biotechnology is beneficial and a means of achieving food security and self-sufficiency.
Many others (>22%) believed that the new technology will contribute positively to healthcare delivery. This belief trend suggests that most people who are aware of biotechnology have a positive attitude towards it and will be willing to see it developed to fullness in the country.
Furthermore, most people believe that the possibility of using biotechnology to combat food insecurity, poverty and improve health is more relevant at this point in our national life.
However, many also believed that the new technology may also have negative implications to human health. They particularly pointed at the likelihood of long term effect of consuming bioengineered products over a long period of time.
Many, however, said while they have not seen or used such products, these fears come from what they heard or read in the mass media about concerns expressed by people in the United States and Europe where biotechnology products exist widely.
In summary, the history of biotechnology could be divided into three major period of ancient, classical and modern history. Ancient history started more than 6000 BC when man first used fermentation to process some of its food materials.
During this period, no one knew that technology involved the use of other living organisms in processing foods. This knowledge came in the Middle Ages during the classical history, which started in the 14th century AD.
During this period, equipment such as microscopes was discovered and with it came the existence of living organisms that cannot be seen with the unaided eyes.
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The discovery of these microorganisms, the roles they play in food processing especially fermentation and techniques for manipulating them (ability to alter their populations and transfer them from one medium to another) led to several experiments on how to make them work better and faster to produce food in higher quality and quantity.
This gave rise to biotechnology; a term coined in 1919 by a Hungarian agriculturist known as Karl Ereky. The emergence of the term biotechnology did not only herald a new discipline but also a new era in biotechnology.
The era of modern biotechnology was born. This saw the development of very complex materials, equipment and methods of manipulating microorganisms, cells and parts of cells in bioprocess production. It also saw a significant diversification of biotechnology methods into many other fields other than food production.
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