There are many definitions of biotechnology and most of them have been argued about, agreed on, decon-structed, reconstructed and indeed manipulated over the years. Here are a few from the 1980s which, like the one the OECD offers at the start of this Spotlight appear to have withstood the tamperings of time.
• ‘Biotechnology’ means the application of science and engineering in the direct or indirect use of living organisms or parts or products of living organisms in their natural or modified forms – Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1985.• The science of the production pro-cesses based on the action of micro-organisms and their active components, and of production processes invol-ving the use of cells and tissues from higher organisms – A Dutch Perspective, 1981• The collection of industrial processes that involve the use of biological systems. The use of -living organisms or their components in -industrial pro-cesses – OTA Report 1981.
©OECD Observer No 216, March 1999