WHAT IS BIOTECHNOLOGY
Biotechnology is a broad
term that applies to all practical uses of living organisms-anything
from microorganisms used in the fermentation of beer to the
most sophisticated application of gene therapy. The term covers
applications that are old and new, familiar and strange, sophisticated
and simple. Defined in this way, the term is almost too broad
to be useful.
One way of thinking about biotechnology is
to consider two categories of activities: those that are traditional
and familiar and those that are relatively new. Within each
category can be found technologies that are genetic-that involve
modifications of traits passed down from one generation to
the next-and technologies that are not.
Although there are interesting issues
connected with a number of biotechnologies-both old and new-most
work focuses on genetic engineering, a new genetic biotechnology.