Biotechnology is technology based on biology, especially when used in agriculture, food science, and medicine. United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity defines biotechnology as:
"Any technological application that uses biological systems, dead organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use."
Biotechnology is often used to refer to genetic engineering technology of the 21st century, however the term encompasses a wider range and history of procedures for modifying biological organisms according to the needs of humanity, going back to the initial modifications of native plants into improved food crops through artificial selection and hybridization. Bioengineering is the science upon which all biotechnological applications are based. With the development of new approaches and modern techniques, traditional biotechnology industries are also acquiring new horizons enabling them to improve the quality of their products and increase the productivity of their systems.
Before 1971, the term, biotechnology, was primarily used within the agricultural industries. Current uses of the term generally refer to the technologies associated with genetic engineering as well as cell- and tissue culture.
A broad definition of biotechnology is "The application of indigenous and/or scientific knowledge to the management of (parts of) microorganisms, or of cells and tissues of higher organisms, so that these supply goods and services of use to the food industry and its consumers.
In simple words biotechnology is any technological application which is used to make a change in a cell or in biological system. Biotechnology draws on the pure biological sciences (genetics, microbiology, animal cell culture, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology, cell biology) and in many instances is also dependent on knowledge and methods from outside the sphere of biology (chemical engineering, bioprocess engineering, information technology, biorobotics). Conversely, modern biological sciences (including even concepts such as molecular ecology) are intimately entwined and dependent on the methods developed through biotechnology and what is commonly thought of as the life sciences industry.