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biometrics

biometrics, also known as biostatistics or biometry, in biology, the development and application of statistical and mathematical methods to the analysis of data resulting from biological observations and phenomena. Biometrics is used in clinical trials evaluating the relative effectiveness of different therapies; in genetic and genomic studies of the makeup of nucleotide sequences in an organism; in epidemiological studies of the patterns, causes, and control of diseases and public health problems; and in many other areas of biological research. Although the terms biometry and biostatistics are often used interchangeably, the former is now more frequently applied to agricultural and biological applications while the latter is more frequently applied to medical applications. Biometrics played a key role in the development of modern biology. The rediscovery of Gregor Mendel's work in the early 1900s led to conceptual gaps between the proponents of genetics and evolutionary Darwinism. By the 1930s, after vigorous debate, models built on statistical reasoning had resolved most of the differences to produce a coherent biology.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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