Biotechnology is constructed of two common words, bio and technology. Bio comes from biology and therefore can be considered to be anything which is living, in this case, it is more specific to an organism or other micro living systems. Therefore biotechnology can be broadly understood as the use of these organisms in technology and not in their natural habitat. Though humans have used various types of biotechnological procedures for many years it was not named until the early twentieth century. The name is thought to have been introduced into the lexicon by scientist Károly Ereky. In its most simplistic and traditional use, biotechnology is employed in the cultivation of plants, for example, to make them grow better and thus increase food production.
However, in more recent times and as science has progressed, it has come to play a much more nuanced and multifaceted role in the world in which we live. Biotechnology can now be used for a multiplicity of things such as genetic engineering, as well as still being incredibly useful to help feed the world’s vast population. This move into the more modern facets of biotechnology has caused many to question the ethics of the practice. Many believe that we should not be interfering with nature even if it gives us the ability to, for example, cure disease. We will look more closely at the ethics of the practice later.
The modern use of biotechnology involves a huge cross-over of many disciplines such as medicine, computer science, and bioinformatics. Take for example the development of drugs with biotechnology; this would ultimately be the jurisdiction of the medical world to test, regulate and implement. For better or for worse, biotechnology is not a huge part of our society and serious discussion is needed to make sure it is used in the most successful and appropriate manner.