Biotechnology might be a relatively new and upcoming field of science; however, its practice started centuries ago in every farm and household. Biotechnology is believed to have emerged from scientific breeding of food crops and livestock for the identification and selection of the most desirable traits.
The discovery of helpful microbes further aided in developing fermented products such as ethanol and bread and lactic acid based fermentation increased the repertoire of fermented products to include yogurt, vinegar, and certain kinds of cheese. The food industry bloomed after the process of pasteurization was developed, thereby increasing the shelf-life of food items. Identification of specific micro-organisms and their respective pathways gave rise to the commercial production of numerous metabolic intermediates such as organic acids, proteins, antifungals, vitamins, enzymes, nutraceuticals, and biopolymers.
The discovery of the relationship between genes and proteins in the 20th century further advanced the scope of biotechnology and resulted in the emergence of recombinant DNA technology. Modern biotechnology focuses on the manipulation and mass production of living organisms and their products for the general benefit of society.