Biotechnology, often abbreviated to biotech, is the area of biology that uses living processes, organisms or systems to manufacture products or technology intended to improve the quality of human life. Depending on the technology, tools and applications involved, biotechnology can overlap with molecular biology, bionics, bioengineering, genetic engineering and nanotechnology.
By harnessing cellular and biomolecular processes, scientists can make advances and adaptations to technology in various fields. Traditional processes include using living organisms in their natural form, breeding new living organisms or modifying their genetic makeup. Successful applications of such processes have resulted in treatment of disease, environmental impact reduction and more efficient use of natural resources. Major biotech companies implement biotechnology as a practice to bring medical devices and products to the mainstream market.
Biotechnology, like other advanced technologies, has the potential for misuse. Concern about this has led to efforts by some groups to enact legislation restricting or banning certain processes or programs, such as human cloning and embryonic stem-cell research. There is also concern that if biotechnological processes are used by groups with nefarious intent, the end result could be biological warfare.
The science of biotechnology can be broken down into sub-disciplines based on common uses and applications.
Modern biotechnology can be used for a variety of applications, including:
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What is biotechnology (biotech)? - Definition from WhatIs.com
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