BIOMETRICS is a scientific discipline dealing with applications of mathematical and statistical methods to solve biological problems, in the broadest sense of the term, particularly in the design and analysis of experiments. Its first mention dates from the 1830s. The “godfather” of biometrics is considered to be English naturalist Francis Galton (1822-1911), who considered it to be a promising new direction in science. The pioneers of biometrics in Poland were two eminent scholars: the anthropologist Jan Czekanowski (1882-1965), and the chemist, agricultural scientist and plant breeder Edmund Zaleski (1863-1932).
BIOMETRICS covers topics that include statistical and mathematical theories and methods used to analyze biometric data. These include, in particular:
- theory of experiments with methods for planning and analyzing experiments, such as analysis of variance, regression analysis and covariance analysis, hypothesis testing procedures, etc.,
- theory and statistical methods of analysis of biological populations, including principal components analysis, factor analysis, canonical correlation analysis and canonical variables, cluster analysis and other multivariate methods,
- basic mathematical and statistical methods of population genetics, especially for analysis and description of the laws of inheritance of quantitative and qualitative characteristics of a population, as well as multiple statistical methods used in practical breeding of plants and animals,
- mathematical models and statistical methods used in molecular biology and genetics, with particular reference to the location of quantitative trait genes,
- mathematical models and mathematical-statistical methods used in the study of environmental influences on biological phenomena and agriculture, for example the methods used in crop protection and in assessment of crop varieties,
- geostatistical methods used in agriculture, for example to examine the spatial variability of environmental features;
- stochastic processes for analyzing spatial and temporal variability of qualitative and quantitative features, for agricultural and other uses,
- the use of stochastic processes in biology and medicine.