In this 'viewpoint' article Jisnuson Svasti, Professor of Biochemistry at Mahidol University in Bangkok, examines the ways in which bioscience research is being explored and applied in Thailand. Recombinant DNA and gene expression therapies are well established, and Thailand has participated in two sequencing projects, including the rice genome. A limited amount of proteomics research is also underway. But Svasti explains that it is difficult to compete with research undertaken elsewhere: hardware is expensive and the new technologies evolve quickly.

Though the importance of genomic reseearch has been recognised - it forms one of the pillars of Thailand's 'research triangle' in biosciences - the author emphasises that greater efforts are required. The biosciences programme has been set back due to difficulties in establishing an appropriate research and management strategy, but will eventually consist of a collection of projects linked to local needs and expertise, covering biomedical science as well as research on animals and plants.

In conclusion, Svasti explains, developing countries such as Thailand must strive to make modest gains in genomics in selected areas of particular relevance. Failure to do so will not only result in the loss of commercial benefits, but more importantly, lead to a decay in scientific manpower resources and capability to such an extent that they will no longer fulfil the country's development objectives.


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