Nano biotechnology is basically miniaturized biotechnology. It is the intersection of nanotechnology and biology, in other words. Since nanotechnology involves extremely small scale technological practices, and because living organisms are equally broken down into small parts, the marriage of these two studies is a proverbial match made in medical heaven.
A good example of nano biotechnology is DNA nanotechnology, which is also sometimes called cellular engineering. DNA fits under the nano biotechnology umbrella because it utilizes bio molecules on the nano scale, and further advances biological goals.
Speaking of DNA, perhaps the most important developments in nano biotechnology involve modern medicine. In this essential field, it’s used to treat symptoms in order to generate cures for the regeneration of biological tissues. For instance, there are patients that have been given completely cultured bladders with assistance from doctors that have applied nano biology in their practices. Although not yet perfected for humans, studies of animals have resulted in uteruses grown outside the body and placed into animals, which have then given birth to offspring. That’s amazing! The hopeful health possibilities for those with diseased organs are exciting. Researchers are also studying the potential future practice of providing new limbs to patients, as an alternative to only providing prosthesis. Another promising area of study involves developing polymers that can detect various metabolites. The goal for this study is to one day introduce these polymer particles into the human body so they can find metabolites linked with tumors and other health issues. They’re like nature’s little internal detectives, if you want to look at them that way.
One of the big nano biotechnological goals is to create molecular machines, if you will, which imitate organisms that exist in nature. For instance, Dr. Gunther Gross at the University of North Texas found in his research that colonies of live neurons can live together on a bio chip device.
In order to apply nanotechnology to biological aims, specialized instruments, called nano tools, must also be developed. Such tools are many times made to refine applications of nano tools already in use. One good example of nano tools is the use of nano particles for delivery systems or sensors.
DNA nanotechnology is also a fascinating application of bio nanotechnology. One such application for it is utilization of the natural properties of nucleic acids, such as DNA, to create useful materials. Another big research topic in this area of study is using membrane properties to generate synthetic membranes.
The future of nano biotechnology is both exciting and scary, at the same time. For instance, the biochemist Clyde Hutchison has said that the synthetic organisms, which can be created and manipulated using this technology, would give humans much more control over the properties of cells. So, what does he mean by this? Well, for one thing, humans would be in a much better position to design exactly what they really want. That’s a good thing if you strive to eliminate diseases in humans. However, some might look at it as humans trying to play God. After all, if God created humans in the first place, wouldn’t His creations then be messing with His original design? No matter what side you come out on these big questions, this a fascinating field of study. And it’s one that will be raising many interesting and debatable questions for many years to come.