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Biotechnology is a hot topic today—and a very controversial one. It is the technology of combining or manipulating living organisms for a purpose. People have been doing this for hundreds of years, in making beer, wine, cheese, or yogurt. Today, biotechnology has gone beyond the simple combination of organisms and is used to produce biodegradable plastics and new kinds of genetically engineered food that may help solve the problem of world hunger.

Genetic engineering is biotechnology's most attention-getting tool. Some geneticists (scientists who study heredity) have focused on cloning (producing offspring from a single cell instead of the merging of two germ cells). Others are finding ways to change genes so that certain diseases, such as plant blights, will not take hold. Biotechnology will continue to be in the news in the years ahead.

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