Biotechnology strives to harness or modify cellular and molecular processes in order to develop technologies and products that can assist in improving human and environmental health.

In the School of Life Sciences, UKZN, the Biotechnology cluster comprises three disciplines:


Modern biochemistry evolved from the need to apply chemical techniques to solve biological questions. At its most basic, biochemistry investigates the molecules and cellular pathways that make up ‘life’.  It studies the proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and DNA that make living cells work; these cells are in turn the building blocks of simple and complex organisms. 


Modern genetics explores the pathways that lead from the determinants of heredity, DNA, to the final expressed trait, such as hair color.  It seeks to understand the way in which the basic instructions for this process are encoded and expressed.  Understanding the nature of genetic variation permits one to combat disease in humans, plants and animals, and improve existing strains and breeds of plants and animals.


Modern microbiology concerns the application of new and advanced technologies to explore the make-up, diversity and functioning of micro-organisms, as well as their relationship with other organisms and the environment

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