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Definition: biotechnology

The application of technology to living organisms. Biotechnology dates back centuries to plant and animal breeding, which creates a new generation with different characteristics. However, today, the term has become synonymous with high-tech research and development in the medical field. It appears that the greatest biotech discoveries are just beginning to emerge. Analyzing genome patterns are already allowing custom-tailored approaches for the individual patient, and the potential for diseases to be eradicated even before birth is looming on the horizon. By 2050, scientists expect that biotechnology will have rendered many of today's medical procedures obsolete. See bioinformatics, biosensor and Human Genome Project.