Essay by broncos06High School, 10th gradeA+, May 2006

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1. What is the definition of the term 'Biotechnology'?

Biotechnology can be defined as the use of microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeasts, or biological substances, such as enzymes, to perform specific industrial or manufacturing processes. This includes the production of certain drugs, synthetic hormones (artificial or man-made), and bulk foodstuffs as well as the bioconversion of organic waste and the use of genetically altered bacteria in the cleanup of oil spills.

Biotechnology has been around for thousands of years, for example to make bread, a living organism, yeast, is added to make the bread rise. The yeast eats the sugar in the bread material and gives out carbon dioxide, a gas. The gas in the bread mixture causes bread to rise.

2. What is a Gene?

Each cell in the human body contains large amounts of genes, which carry information that determines your traits. Traits are characteristics you inherit from your parents; this means your parents pass some of their characteristics on to you through genes.

For example, if both of your parents have green eyes, you might inherit the trait of green eyes from them. Or if your mother has freckles, you might inherit that trait. Genes aren't just in humans; they are in all animals and plants. The genes inherited from the parents determine what kind of a plant or animal will develop from the fertilized egg cell.

3. What are GM Foods?

GM Foods stands for Genetically Modified Foods. Genetically modified food products are plants that have had their genetic characteristics altered to give them a specific characteristic that they did not have naturally. Scientist changes the plants' characteristics by putting new genetic material into them, for example a gene from a bacteria which can withstand pesticides. A tomato designed to stay fresh for...