Biopunk builds on synthetic biology and biotechnology (such as bionanotechnology and biorobotics), typically focusing on the potential dangers to genetic engineering and enhancement.As such, this genre generally depicts near-future unintended consequences of the biotechnology revolution following the discovery of recombinant DNA.

Emerging during the 1990s, biopunk fiction usually describes the struggles of individuals or groups, often the product of human experimentation, against a backdrop of totalitarian governments or megacorporations that misuse biotechnologies as means of social control or profiteering.

As in postcyberpunk, individuals are most commonly modified and enhanced by genetic manipulation of their chromosomes rather than with prosthetic cyberware or dry nanotechnologies (albeit, like in nanopunk, bio-, nanotechnologies, and cyberware often coexist), and sometimes with other biotechnologies, such as nanobiotechnology, wetware, special bioengineered organs, and neural and tissue grafts.