Biotechnology and gene technology

Biotechnology (including gene technology)

Biotechnology is the use of plants, animals and micro-organisms to create new products or processes. It includes using bacteria or enzymes to make industrial processes work more efficiently and create less pollution, or to clean up the environment.

Gene technology

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. In Australia, for example, gene technology has been used to make cotton plants resistant to pests without the use of chemicals, and to make a blue carnation for the floral industry.

While genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, often have demonstrated environmental benefits, such as significant reductions in pesticide use, they may also present potential risks to the environment.

Role of the Department

To help protect the environment from such possible impacts, the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts:

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Last updated: Tuesday, 08-Jun-2010 20:46:10 AEST