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Biotechnology opportunities for developing countries

This special supplement of Nature Biotechnology presents findings from a three-year study of biotechnology success stories from the South. The methods used in Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, South Africa and South Korea are examined.

The studies show that Brazil, with its rich biodiversity and strong commitment to scientific development, has great potential to expand its health biotechnology sector. China is said to be reorganising its research and development activities to promote biotech venture creation and move products from the laboratory to market. A study of Cuba shows that, despite the country's economic struggles since the 1961 US trade embargo, it has created a highly developed health biotechnology sector. Egypt is thought to have become one of the Arab world's leaders in science, with strong agri-biotech capabilities and a growing health biotechnology sector. A look at India shows substantial investments in biomedical research, leading to a strong research infrastructure and, in turn, an active private sector willing to invest in biotechnology ventures. An examination of South Africa says its strong scientific base, developed to support the apartheid regime, is now developing biotechnology in the country. The South Korean study claims biotechnology will be the next star industrial sector, following the successes of consumer electronics in the 1960s and information technology in the 1980s.

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