The UN Convention on Biological Diversity defines Biotechnology as "any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use." In other words, biotechnology is the manipulation of organisms to do practical applications and to provide useful products. Popularly, Biotechnology is solely associated with cutting-age innovations in genomics and related fields; while Biotechnology does incorporate gene research, it does much more.
Informally, Biotechnology has the following sub-fields: Red Biotechnology refers to the use of Biotechnology for medical purposes (vaccines, antibiotics, medicines, genomic manipulation, etc); White or Grey Biotechnology refers to manipulation of organic life for industrial purposes; Green Biotechnology refers to manipulation of organic life for agricultural development (better and transgenic seeds, pesticides, etc); Bioinformatics relates to the use of computers in Biotechnology; Blue Biotechnology has lately been used to describe the marine and aquatic applications of biotechnology.
Biotechnology is used widely and for a variety of purposes. Beer, cheese, wines, bread and a lot of other food items incorporate use of living organisms. Biotechnology is used to treat industrial and even nuclear waste. It is used in the production of important medicines like insulin, penicillin, antibiotics. Cross-breeding of animals and plants is a millennia old practice to yield better species. In fact, the timeline of Biotechnology goes back to 8000 BC, when the first seeds were collected for replanting. Today Biotechnology is a field on which rely our hopes for salvation. In a fast degrading world with decreasing resources, Biotechnology holds the promise to find ingenious solutions so that we may survive, so that diseases may be eradicated, so that food supply may increase to keep up with rising needs.
In this section, we provide links to many pioneers in Biotech research, to information databases and other related resources.