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Developing countries stand to profit most from advances in genome science, say Samuel Broder (Celera Genomics), Stephen Hoffman (Sanaria) and Peter Hotez (George Washington University, United States), in this EMBO Reports viewpoint article. They claim that biotechnology coupled with genomics might emerge as the key technology for improving global health in the 21st century.

But the authors warn that developing-world diseases should no longer be viewed in purely medical or public health contexts. Infectious diseases are likely to pose a major risk to the economic survival of many developing nations. And recent studies suggest that some of these diseases may have wider implications for global security, with possible links to the probability that a nation will experience armed conflict.

Genomic research has already advanced our knowledge of infectious diseases, with the genome sequences of many pathogens now established. The authors say that the new tools of comparative genomics, computational biology, and informatics offer remarkable opportunities for reducing the negative impact of diseases in developing countries.

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Reference: EMBO reports 3, 9, 806 (2002)

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