Chapter 8
Human Health and Disease
Chapter 9
Strategies for Enhancement in
Food Production
Chapter 10
Microbes in Human Welfare
Biology is the youngest of the formalised disciplines of natural
science. Progress in physics and chemistry proceeded much
faster than in Biology. Applications of physics and chemistry in
our daily life also have a higher visibility than those of biology.
However, twentieth century and certainly twenty-first century
has demonstrated the utility of biological knowledge in
furthering human welfare, be it in health sector or agriculture.
The discovery of antibiotics, and synthetic plant-derived drugs,
anaesthetics have changed medical practice on one hand
and human health on the other hand. Life expectancy of
human beings have dramatically changed over the years.
Agricultural practices, food processing and diagnostics have
brought socio-cultural changes in human communities. These
are briefly described in the following three chapters of this unit.
Born in August 1925 in Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, Monkambu Sambasivan
Swaminathan did his graduation and post-graduation in Botany from
Madras University. He worked in different capacities in large number of
institutions in India and abroad and developed his expertise in genetics
and plant breeding.
The School of Cytogenetics and Radiation Research established at the
Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) enabled Swaminathan and his
team to develop short-duration high-yielding varieties of rice including scented
Basmati. He is also known for the development of the concept of crop
cafeteria, crop scheduling and genetically improving the yield and quality.
Swaminathan initiated collaboration with Norman Borlaug, which
culminated in the ‘Green Revolution’ through introduction of Mexican
varieties of wheat in India. This was highly recognised and appreciated. He
is also the initiator of ‘Lab-to-Land’, food security and several other
environmental programmes. He has been honoured with Padma Bhushan
and several other prestigious awards, medals and fellowships by institutions
of excellence.