The promises of new and emerging biotechnologies receive continuing attention and promotion. Many governments place high hopes in the new technologies to deliver development. Policy papers and public statements refer to modern biotechnology, genomics, proteomics, and increasingly, nanotechnology.
For developing countries and countries with economies in transition, this raises fundamental questions of development priorities, technology choices and availability of financial and human resources.
There is much to learn from the experiences of developed countries. This includes: the growth of the pharmaceutical, agriculture and chemical (seeds and agro-chemicals) industries and their shaping of the investment climate and consumer market; the evolution of intellectual property standards and rules; the experiences of “biotechnology clusters” in the United States upon which many developing countries are drawing lessons; the commercial interest in microorganisms and their derivatives such as enzymes and other biomolecules.