Like Drytech, Sytech, and Infotech, Biotech is one of the main pillars on which galactic technological civilization rests. Biotech includes everything from simple agriculture and domestication through genetics and organ transplants to DIY gengineering, neogenics, biospherics, mature bionanotechnology and beyond.
Historically (in terms of Old Earth civilization), drytech ushered in the Industrial Age, infotech led to the dramatic transformation from industrial society to an information society, and biotech led the transition away from information to biology by enabling not only true nanotech (originally and often still biologically based) but also the development of a self-sustaining interplanetary civilization not dependent on Earth. More subtly, biotech changed humanity's relationship with nature: instead of seeing nature and technology as opposite ends, they become a single field, and humans were no longer intruders (Industrial and Atomic Age) or stewards (Information Age) of nature, but active evolutionary participants inventing new possibilities for the terragen ecosystems and disseminating life and habitats through the universe.
Biotech is as creative as life itself. In the eight and a half millennia since the first crude attempts at gene-splicing on Old Earth, literally trillions of species of bioengineered organisms have been created, or have evolved from gengineered neogens. These range from the eternally young and cute Metaneko kitten to supercomputing bacteria to lickersucker domestic cleaners and grukovores that act as ecological maintenance machines, to say nothing of the billions of species of organisms designed or gengineered simply for the sake of bringing a new species into the galaxy.
Alpha (reproduction) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev The original person from which a clone, copy, or upload is made.
AmatFruit - Text by John B The rarest and most power and resource hungry of the astragens, this life-form (of which there are only 3 known surviving genomes of a historical max of seven) was seeded in close orbit to many 'green' stars.
Anchor Seed - Text by John Edds An anchor seed is a seed type used by various gengineered and neogened aquatic plants to take root and grow in deep water environments.
Anti-Infector - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Hylo- or bio-nano device that provides immunity against various forms of goo, madverts, and other mentally and physically annoying phenomena
Arachnoweave - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Fabric created using biomimemetic synthesis of spider-silk proteins. Strong yet subtle and light, used for a variety of purposes, including police and military body armor, sporting clothing, and fashion statements.
Artificial Evolution - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Directed evolution, evolution guided by artificial selection, controlled environments, gengineering, bionano, or other such means, as opposed to evolution left to natural selection.
Asomniac - Text by Ryan B Organism whose physiology has no sleep requirement; very common in vec and AI clades.
Astragen(s) - Text by John B Nonsentient lifeforms, plant- or fungal-based, neogen, or xenobiont organisms which have evolved or been designed to survive in space at a given orbital zone and radiation level.
Autoevolution - Text by Anders Sandberg Evolution directed by intelligent beings instead of natural selection. Autoevolutionist: Someone who regards autoevolution as desirable; the opposite of a biological fundamentalist.
Babel 'Fish' - Text by Sethbord A genetically engineered computer designed to fit into or around the ear of a modosophont. As well as translation duties the Babelfish can act as an information provider and cultural guide.
Bacca - Text by Anders Sandberg Family of crops derived from the tobacco plant through gengineering during the interplanetary era and later. Designed for use in space hydroponics, different strains produce livestock feed, vegetables, drugs and decorative flowers. Especially common is Qianxuesen, a bacca vegetable eaten by terragen bionts boiled or mashed.
Bamaglider - Text by Peter Kisner Bamagliders are explosive filigliders. These range in composition. Some are merely normal filigliders with carbonated or nitrous oxide injected filling. Others are non-edible filigliders that produce a small fire-cracker explosion at a safe distance from the appropriate pheromone source. Additionally, like the poisiglider, there are some maliciously designed bamagliders that explode with damaging force in close proximity to a particular pheromone source.
Barbwire-Bush - Text by David Hallberg The Barb-wire Bush is a genetic construct designed for use in low-tech entrenched fortifications, such as those on the Western Front in the First World War of Old Earth, or in any number of prim to low-tech conflicts in the millennia since. It may also be used in civil settings as a low-cost privacy and security measure.
Bio-Geo Planetary Node/Brain - Text by Mike Parisi Any planet or similar-sized, originally naturally-occurring body that has been converted and dedicated to processing tasks through Bio-Geo-Computing.
Bioborg - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Bioborgs are humans, animals, or other lifeforms, heavily modified via biocircuitry, biomachinery, biosymbers, bionano, wetware, etc (collectively: bioware). No inorganic components (other than some occasional support or reinforcing structures) are used at all for any of these augmentations.
Biobots - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Bioengineered organisms, e.g. bacteria, neogens, etc, modified to act out specific orders. Biobots of some form or another have been used since the middle information period for nanotech (bionano), production, monitoring, medicine and much more.
Biocity - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss A city or urban area created and maintained primarily through biotech ("wet" tech) methods and materials, and consisting of living organisms or their products (bone, wood, coral, shell, and so on) as opposed to one constructed using non-living "dry" tech and associated materials such as concrete, steel, glass, stone, diamondoid, or corundumoid.
Bioforge - Text by Todd Drashner A biological factory or manufacturing device capable of creating a wide range of biotech products.
Biontogenist - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Term given to sophonts - usually transapients but may be superbright/superturing - who create for business, pleasure, or other motives entire biont clades. Biontogenists may be biological ((nano/synano-)bioborg), cyborg, ai, or even virtuals (assuming the latter have the appropriate physical interfaces).
Biopower - Text by Anders Sandberg In some worlds a system of living solar collectors for powering underground biospheres is employed - e.g. the Zoeific Biopolity and the Arcadians would build such systems when settling an otherwise inhospitable world. The bases are visible only as verdant green smears of shimmering electromoss, with the tunnels far below the surface.
Bioship - Text by Steve Bowers and M. Alan Kazlev Bioships are either grown partially or entirely using biotechnology or by a close analogue to biological growth: they can be very similar in final composition to other ships but often look distinctively 'organic' in form.
Biostasis - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Suspension of all biological activity, by infusing the patient with cryoprotective chemicals and freezing or vitrifying (cryonic suspension), or by chemically bonding cellular components in place. See Nanostasis.
Biowar - Text by M. Alan Kazlev An organic warship, a sentient, self-contained, evolutionary, self-replicating superbright bio-autowar. Like autowars, biowars can form long-lived populations and make regions of space hazardous long after the original conflict is over.
Biowar Egg - Text by Anders Sandberg Unlike autowars, that reproduce by mechanically constructing an identical ship, biowars replicate organically. Biowar eggs can drift, passive and undetected, for centuries before being activated through the proximity of raw resources. Because some types of biowar may lay literally millions of eggs, it becomes extremely difficult to control their populations. The illustration shows hatching biowar eggs in the asteroid belts of the Triumphant Fate system, 5985. The standard Biovirate template involved a plant-like growth on carbonaceous asteroids, feeding a spherical "egg" that eventually detaches and frees itself from the cocooning growth. Eggs hatch after 10-20 months, birthing a biowar. The shell contains secondary seeds, which will drift to other asteroids to plant the growth.
Bioxox - Text by Steve Bowers Biological copy of an original bioid, often created using engenerator technology
Block - Text by John B Block, aka Zombie, aka Splatter: A specialist neurotransmitter antagonist, Block prevents the transmission of pain signals via the baseline body's standard peripheral nervous system.
Brainstorm - Text by Todd Drashner Semi-legal drug occasionally used by baselines/near- baselines seeking to solve a complex problem without the assistance of an ai.
Bucky Spiders - Text by Steve Bowers Small spidersplices with adapted spinnerets producing buckyfibre on demand - controlled by bionano (mostly Zoeific clades) or hylonano neural implants - used in small scale construction and the manufacture of fabrics.
Carpetbeast - Text by John B and Stephen Inniss Typically an animal-derived neogen or splice designed to thrive as a living carpet or rug, usually for use by human nearbaselines or similar bionts. Some varieties, in addition to being soft and warm, and of a pleasant colour and texture, produce pleasant scents and sounds such as a musky scent and a purr. Most are self-cleaning, sometimes with the assistance of mite to insect sized neogens. These creatures are usually sessile but some variants are capable of slow movement and a few are capable of shaping themselves into items of furniture.
Chemosynthesis - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Primary production of organic matter using various substances and chemical reactions instead of light as an energy source; a common phenomenon throughout the galaxy, but rare in terragen ecologies.
Claymore Tuber - Text by David Hallberg A more sinister plant than most neogenic domestics is the infamous Claymore Tuber, which is widely used by bio-terrorists. Its tiny seeds can be scattered in the target area by an explosive device or missile.
Clone - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A biological organism asexually reproduced or bionanonically copied from another cell or genome or a template thereof. A clone is genetically identical to its original.
Clone Host - Text by John B A being caring for one or more subsophont cloned-organ generators, such as pig-based beasts carrying antibody-free implantable human organs (lungs, heart, pancreas, etc.).
Computer - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A computation device, which may be sentient or non-sentient. AIs can be either sentient computers, or complex systems residing in the RAM of computers. Without computers, galactic civilization would be impossible.
Copy - Text by M. Alan Kazlev An uploaded digital copy of a rl person (whether biont or vec) that experiences emself in all ways as identical to the original alpha. Also can refer to a biological copy, occupying a body with identical DNA to the original person, but differing from a clone in that the memories of the original have been transferred artificially into the new body.
Copy Rights - Text by Anders Sandberg The existence of copies results in legal conundrums of which there are a number of possible alternative solutions.
Corpsicle - Text by Anders Sandberg A cryonically suspended biont. Originally an Information Era derogatory/humorous term, the word has largely been absorbed into the Anglic language family with no negative connotations. Also used: Cryonaut
Cytobot - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A bot approximately the size of a cell. Alternatively, a bionano or biomeso-based and/or built or grown organic device the size and shape of a biological cell; an artificial but still organic cell that can be given instructions like any nano or mesobot.
Deadite Nanovirus - Text by Ben Higginbottom Extremely clever prank nanovirus (actually a gengineered biological virus) - entirely cosmetic. Gives victims the appearance of a zombie. Created by cult of the exsanguinated giraffe bionanohackers during the early interplanetary period, based on trilogy of C20 flatscreens. Although easily cured, it become fashionable among several subcultures. Compare with Bar Sim Sun.
Designer Phages - Text by Anders Sandberg A major biotech field during the later information and early interplanetary periods. They are designer viruses that infect bacteria. The main use was to remove prokaryote biobots or infectious bacteria, but they could also be used for reprogramming biobots. Some biobots actually acted as factories for phages, and could be used to quickly produce large amounts of them.
Distributed Intelligence - Text by M. Alan Kazlev An intelligent entity that is distributed over a large volume (or inside another system, like a virtual network) with no distinct center. This is the opposite to the strategy of Concentrated intelligences.
Exoatmospheric - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Vehicle or tweaked life-form capable of operating both in a vacuum and in an atmosphere. May be planetary- or space-based.
Exploding Cockroach - Text by David Hallberg A gengineered insect, with an altered biochemistry. It is modified to produce an internal deposit of some explosive (most commonly Penthyle, since it is a naturally existing chemical in most biosystems).
Filigliders - Text by Peter Kisner Small, about 5-8 cm long organisms with a nervous system only slightly above that of a flatworm. In appearance they vaguely resemble moths or humming birds, with a slightly elongated neck and a 1.2 cm bulb of various primary colors where a head would be.
Flugumes - Text by Peter Kisner A genetically engineered instrument derived from various legume varieties, typically used by baseline or near baseline humans, but more as a humorous prop than a seriously taken musical apparatus. During the early 2300's the composer Mlarr Bigglemun did come up with a Flugume Suite in the tradition of P.D.Q. Bach that gained widespread popularity among more renowned baseline musicologists.
GELF - Text by M. Alan Kazlev [Genetically Engineered Life Form] An old First Federation term, which every so often comes back into favour, for sophont custom-made lifeforms created through significant or total genetic engineering.
Genematode - Text by Steve Bowers A neogen/splice nematode-like defence system as an antiviral/antibacterial agent.
Genemod - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Genetic modification/ genehack module. Can be phenotypic (modify phenotype only), genotypic (modify germ-cells only), or both. Note a phenotypic modded cell when cloned will have the same affect as a genotypic mod. Most genemods today are genomically modular, and carefully labelled and wetwared to ensure a compatibility test is run with the user's genome, before allowing insertion. Even so, it is advisable to ensure one's genome is backed up, even when using reputable brands.
Genotypic Augmentation - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Modification or augmentation that effects only the genotype of the gametes and descendants of an organism. Genotypic augmentation is biological or genetic modification or augmentation that effects only the genotype of the gametes and descendants of an organism. It does not alter the characteristics of the user, or of clones from the user's somatic cells, but it does modify that of all of the user's offspring. Contrast with phenotypic augmentation.
Goo, Love - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Bionano/biomemetic replicators that use various tricks such as pheromonal flooding, eidectic subliminals, etc. to incite pair-bonding among any sapient bionts in the vicinity.
Hangover Helper - Text by John B Originally marketed in the Interplanetary Age as "Doctor Hadrian's Handy Hangover Helper". Variants or copies of this invention remain popular with human nearbaselines or other bionts who might be inclined to excessive use of alcohol on occasion. The Hangover Helper is an inexpensive easily self-administered dose of specialized blood-borne bionano devices that scrub toxins from the system and make other necessary repairs and adjustments, greatly aiding the recovery from alcohol overdose side-effects. The original version was 'not recommended for the metabolically adjusted or endocrine tweaked', but clade-specific variants were quick to emerge, as were variants to counter the aftereffects of other recreational drugs.
Heteromorphs - Text by Steve Bowers Modosophont bionts, usually but not always humans, who have altered their physical form until they are substantially different from their original form.
Human Genome Project - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Early Information Age international research program; one of the most ambitious projects of its time; had the goal of gathering a resource of genomic maps and DNA sequence. Provided detailed information about the structure, organization, and characteristics of the DNA of humans and other animals. The project was instrumental in the later work of the bio-hackers, biopunks, ribophunks and tweakers of the middle Information Age.
HydroFruit - Text by John B Astragen capable of producing purified water from contact with oxygen and hydrogen bearing materials. Often used in Oort-belt dispersals, in which case the organism will occasionally be designed to exude ice particulates.
Inactivate - Text by After Max More in Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology A person who is non-living but is not dead in the permanent sense. The person might be in biostasis, or shut-down mode or subsisting in data storage, awaiting downloading, and is not in any way active. This term may apply to any sort of being of any from (biont, vec, cyborg, aioid, etc.)
Industrial Ecology - Text by Chris Shaeffer The study and implementation of efficient industrial systems coexisting with the natural environments within which they operate.
Lantern Plant - Text by David Hallberg A gnarled, bonsai-like potted plant with ivy-like reddish-green leaves. It produces large, trumpet-like flowers that are transparent, hard as glass and point upwards. At the bottom of the flower a series of glands produce a flammable liquid, not unlike kerosene. A long, spongy stamen can be set alight and used as a wick.
LifeFruit - Text by John B Generates ATP (adenosine triphosphate, a basic biologic energy storage molecule), but is one of the more power-hungry forms of astragen. LifeFruit typically requires earth-type solar energy levels.
Live Jewellry - Text by David Hallberg The use of gengineered creatures for personal adornment, for example; beautiful, brightly colored snakes as bracelets, necklaces or hairbands; colorful beetles worn like brooches or as earrings and so on.
Living Tattoo - Text by Todd Drashner A form of decoration that consists of one or more species of gengineered micro-organism being introduced into the skin (or fur, or feathers, or onto the shell, scales, or carapace) of a sophont and then induced to develop in a manner that results in a visible pattern or image being displayed.
Logooze - Text by John B Common slang term in the outer system for a slug-like device that etches or pigments mottoes or sigils of organizations onto random objects as a form of advertising. Most are bionano systems, but occasional mechanical or synano variants have been found. there are occasional variants allegedly designed to apply medusa fractals or other aggressive technologies. Occasionally termed "Madvert Goo", especially if self-replicating.
Medibot - Text by Ryan B Generic term for all types of microscopic robots used in medicine ranging from nano- to microbots.
Melder - Text by Todd Drashner Six legged oxygen breathing symbiote/parasite with the ability to meld itself to a wide variety of lifeforms.
Membot, Memebot - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Glenn Grant A (typically illegal) nano-mesite or nano-micrite replicator, usually a cytobot cytobiobot, that acts directly on the brain or other processing center to predispose the victim to certain memes. Alternatively and facetiously, a sophont dedicated to the propagation of a meme or memeplex.
Memory Grubs - Text by John B These relatively short, damp wormlike creatures were created deliberately in the 33rd century AT to fulfil a role - to help baselines organize and recall memory better.
Mnemonet - Text by Todd Drashner Biocybernetic network of nanodevices grown in an organic brain and working to constantly record the owners brain activity and memories. The contents of the network are periodically downloaded to a central file and integrated into the mind-state stored there. If the owner dies for some reason, the mind-state is activated and instantiated in a new body to continue the life of the original. Mnemonets are also used to expand the memory of the user when the original organic memory has reached its limits due to the length of the users lifespan. In the more advanced systems, mnemonets designs are written into the gene-code of all citizens so that they develop as part of the natural growth process of a fetus and child.
Molecular Biology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Branch of biology that deals with organic life on a molecular level. Includes the macromolecular organization within and between the various cell components, knowledge of different types of proteins, the metabolic function of individual cells, differing mechanisms of genetic expression during embryonic development, cell differentiation, and ageing. Molecular Biology goes hand in hand with Gengineering.
Nanobones - Text by Tony Jones A bionano process whereby portions of a subject's skeleton are converted into bionanocomputers, using bionanomachines, which run off the subject's blood supply.
Nanochondria - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology Hylonano or bionano devices existing inside living cells, participating in their biochemistry (like mitochondria) and/or assembling various structures. A type of nanosome.
Nanoskin - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Bionano or hylonano augment or application that completely covers the wearer/user's skin, forming a second dermal layer and providing environmental protection and intelligence augmentation.
Nanosome - Text by Anders Sandberg, in Transhuman Terminology Generic term for any nanodevices (whether hylo or bio) existing symbiotically inside biological cells, doing mechanosynthesis and disassembly for it and replicating with the cell.
Nanostasis - Text by Steve Bowers with comments by John B A means of preserving biological life in suspended animation over long journeys or in unsatisfactory environments.
Narco-Symbiont - Text by Mike Parisi Also known as Naco-Sym or NarSym. Any small gengineered life form, which affixes itself to a subject's body, and supplies em with small, regular amounts of endorphins or some other pleasure-inducing substance.
Noovleann Tree - Text by John Edds Tree-like organisms which hang from dynamic orbital rings at various heights above a planetary surface.
Omnimed - Text by Ryan B small white pill containing totipotent medibots
Orwoods - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Dyson tree forest ecosystem, especially one that constitutes a stable or evolutionary space-based biota, with or without symbiotic sentient (human, neogen, etc.) interaction.
Other Self - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Bionano wetware consisting of drugs and bionanites that causes temporary personality alteration.
Ova Fusion - Text by Shane Brannon; some additions by Steve Bowers A form of parthenogenetic reproduction which successfully fuses the genetic material from the gametes of two unrelated human females into a viable zygote.
Overcharge - Text by John B This is a deliberately destructive biostimulant cocktail designed to greatly amplify the capabilities of the baseline body. It is often considered to be the 'last gasp' of the pure baseline warrior concept.
OxyFruit - Text by John B Astragen capable of producing pressurized 'pods' (also the seed) of O2 when in contact with oxygen bearing materials and a specific wavelength and intensity of light.
Pantropy - Text by Steve Bowers The practice of adapting humans (and other bionts) to live comfortably in a planetary environment rather than attempting to change that environment to resemble the home world.
Phenotypic Augmentation - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Biological or genetic modification or augmentation that effects the phenotype only. It alters the characteristics of the user, and sometimes also that of clones from the user's somatic cells, but it does not modify the user's offspring. Contrast with genotypic augmentation.
Plantbots - Text by Stephen Inniss and Steve Bowers Dry nano or synano robots powered by light and capable of autonomous growth and reproduction; generally sessile or with limited movement. So named because they are equivalent in role to biological plants.
Plasm - Text by Todd Drashner Multipurpose biological material, sometimes described as biotech utility fog.
Potted Planet - Text by Todd Drashner Slang term for a world, terrestrial or otherwise that has been modified by a Power or Archailect to support life, apparently for no other reason than the creator's continued aesthetic satisfaction. Occasionally found in systems that host mainbrain primary computing nodes and tools. Apparently, created for reasons similar to why some ordinary sapient Terragens create and maintain gardens.
Recombinant DNA - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Basic primitive technique used in gengineering, dating back to early Information Age Old Earth. It involves cutting the DNA into discrete segments, and then recombining the segments to form new genes. The recombinant DNA molecule is then inserted into a cell.
Shadowhound - Text by Todd Drashner Bionano based infiltration and combat device. Shadowhounds have no definite shape, but are able to alter their form (usually over a period of several minutes to hours) to suit whatever conditions or situations they encounter. Shadowhounds derive their name from both their matte black outer layer (used to absorb solar energy) and one of their most common appearance defaults as a roughly canine shaped quadrupedal form.
Skill Module - Text by Ryan B A class of software augment that operates by interfacing with a sophont’s central nervous system to provide and/or teach a specific set of skills.
Softbot - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Biological robot, an alife built entire of organic components. It is alive like any carbon- or exotic-chemistry based life-form. May be of any intelligence grade, from subsapient to transapient.
Space Spiders - Text by Steve Bowers Vacuum and zero gee adapted, sentient or semisentient spidersplices, from micro-scale to giant; usually capable of producing buckyfibre silk. Contribute to many megascale building projects, sometimes controlled directly by transcended postspiders.
Spaceweed - Text by Steve Bowers and John B A gengineered organism based on bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) that has been modified so that it that can develop in Gas Giant rings, with a small (100-200 metres) bladder full of breathable air, and edible fruit and nuts growing on the inside. The bladders are loosely connected, with insulated flexible corridors between the bladders, and all the ice and rock of the rings incorporated into the spaceweed to avoid collision damage.
Starlight Gene Patch - Text by James Ramsey An interactive library and gengineering instrument that adapts a biont to local day/night cycles and the wavelengths of available light in a new environment.
Terraformer Swarms - Text by Somes Jung Hallinan Large swarms of self-replicating devices that travel in front of colonization fleets. They are usually carried within small seeding missiles that travel close to the speed of light, well ahead of the main colony ships. The seedtech or sporetech devices are usually embedded within a solid block of metal, concrete, diamondoid, or some other encapsulating material.
Transbiomorphosis - Text by Adaptecd from Max More, in Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology  (Interplanetary Age, First Federation, Terran Federation): The transformation of the human body from a natural, biological organism into a superior, consciously designed vehicle of personality.  Genetekkers, Genen, Zoeific Biopolity, TRHN - dramatic modification of one's biological form, not necessarily into a superior (although sometimes that) but just a different form, as a lifestyle choice or artistic expression.
Turbine Plants - Text by John Edds Various species of genetically engineered plants which produce electricity by mechanical means.
Wetlet - Text by Fernando Peña D'Andrea Name given to organic devices grown so that they can be plugged into various sort of nanotech or compatible devices or other bio devices.
Xanthric Flowerweed - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from original entry by Kevin Self A sessile neogen; a carnivorous plant that has recently (since 9800s) become established in a few newly-terraformed worlds in the Udryck Sector (Outer Volumes), where it seems to have hitched a ride on local subrelativistic bioships.