Difference Between Traditional and Modern Biotech (With Table)

Biotech, known as Biotechnology is used to develop new products involving the use of living organisms. Karl Ereky was the first to give the term “biotechnology” in the year 1919 which helped the production of products from raw material with the aid (help) of living organisms for mankind. Biotechnology encompasses both traditional and modern biotech.

Traditional vs Modern Biotech

The main difference between traditional and modern biotech is that traditional biotech refers to the utilization of the creatures to create new things or transform foods for human use. On the other hand, modern biotech involves controlling genes and tissues/cells in a monitored environment to produce new tissues.

Traditional biotechnology refers to a variety of old methods for creating new products or modifying current ones by utilizing live organisms. By using natural organisms, we can generate or modify food items and other goods, ultimately making them usable for humans. Some of the examples of the practices and food items that involved traditional biotech are yogurt, cheese, beer, bread, wine, and various breeds of animals.

Modern biotechnology refers to the industrial procedures that involve the utilization of live cells or their derivatives. Numerous early and ongoing biotechnological applications involve the use of microbes for the preparation of various fermented food products. Modern biotech helps human beings a lot for further advancements in every sector of life.

Comparison Table Between Traditional and Modern Biotech

Parameters of Comparison

Traditional Biotech

Modern Biotech


Traditional biotech uses living organisms for the production of food or products.

Modern biotech uses the crossbreeding techniques and manipulation of genes resulting in new living tissues.

Onset of action of treatment

The rate of time for treating an illness is more

The rate of time for treating an illness is less due to modern advancements


Tissue culture, mutagenesis, genetic engineering

DNA profiling, DNA cloning, genome analysis, transgenesis, etc.


Cheaper compared to modern biotech

High-priced due to modern techniques, advancements, and tools used

Used in

Production of cheese, wine, bread, yogurt, etc.

A wide variety of sector uses modern biotech like food, healthcare, industrial, forestry, agriculture, etc.

What is Traditional Biotech?

Traditional biotech is a method of using living organisms to create new things out of it. People have been making beverages, curd, cheese, cider, wine, and bread without recognizing that microorganisms were involved in the process since the ancient period. Bacteria’s and fungus such as molds, yeasts and lactobacillus were used for the preservation of food items.

After the First World War, microbes were required to generate organic molecules such as citric acid. Through the years, people discovered to make use of natural processes that take place constantly in all living organisms, including humans.

For example, it can be determined that when food matures, it changes in flavor and content while also becoming less tasteless. Organic fermentation may be utilized to create bread from wheat flour, wine from grape juice, and cheese from milk stored in camel belly bags.

Traditional biotechnology can also include cell culture products, segments, or different disease-eradication tactics. Without traditional biotech, modern biotech won’t exist.

Traditional biotech helped for producing breeds of animals by cross-breeding based on the natural capabilities, but modern biotech produced the breeds by genes in the laboratories. Some of the traditional biotech techniques are not changed till now which are carried forward in our lives.

What is Modern Biotech?

Modern biotech helps meet human requirements including advancements in the healthcare sector, environment, food sector, industrial, and much more. The realization that genes are made up of DNA and that they can be extracted, replicated, and modified has ushered in the modern biotech. For thousands of years, humans have been controlling living organisms.

From domestication of animals to growing/cutting of plants, followed by breeding selection, are some of the examples of biotechnology. Microorganisms produce antibiotics and vaccinations, which are used to cure disease. Modern biotechnologies entail modifying vaccinations to make them more effective or to distribute them through new ways. Transgenic plants can be made with the use of modern biotech.

Advantages of modern biotechnology:

  1. Higher crop output with improved pathogen resistance in crops.
  2. Vaccines containing DNA.
  3. Genetic modification (CRISPR)
  4. Industrial and medicinal applications of the genome.
  5. Progress in drug development and production.
  6. Treating infectious diseases due to development in drugs technology.
  7. It helps in treating genetic-related diseases.

Disadvantages of Modern biotechnology

  1. The biggest disadvantage of modern biotech is the loss of diversity due to gene manipulation and selective cross-breeding.
  2. Due to the cross-breeding of genes, there are sometimes consequences arising for the future generation.
  3. Modern biotechnology affects the fertility of the soil resulting in low crop production.
  4. Genetic diversity is lost due to artificial breeding.
  5. Today, there is almost no treatment for every illness due to modern biotech, but the expenses to treat a particular disease are high which makes ethical issues in society, ultimately resulting in debates.

Main Differences Between Traditional and Modern Biotech

  1. The traditional biotech used living organisms to get new results out of it whereas modern biotech embraces the research and potentials of the traditional biotech.
  2. Traditional biotech was limited to food, medicines, and agriculture but modern biotech can be used in almost every sector of life be it food, industrial purpose, healthcare, agriculture, forestry, etc.
  3. New drugs and medicines can be created synthetically in laboratories by modern biotech whereas traditional biotech was not much advanced to create synthetic drugs.
  4. Traditional biotech usually uses natural organisms for the creation or modification of food and products. Modern biotech uses living tissues and the manipulation of genes to make advancements in living tissues.
  5. The treatment done by modern biotech is comparatively faster than the traditional biotech due to the advancements in technology.


Biotechnology is an important aspect of the survival of living organisms. However, traditional biotech is interrelated with modern biotech. Traditional biotech has helped a lot in the modern advancements and technology in today’s world. There are many benefits and drawbacks of modern biotech but ultimately it is helpful for humans.

The overall employment of these strategies will result in more favored progress of the world. The human-controlled process may develop difficulties, causing the natural balance of species to be disrupted. However, new information may emerge over time that causes businesses and government agencies to rethink the safety or usability of a product or service. Furthermore, advancements in biotechnology may pose new ethical concerns about the information, expertise, etc. whether to use them or not.


  1. https://academic.oup.com/plphys/article-abstract/147/1/3/6107492
  2. https://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTotal-HZND201006002.htm