Since the discovery of recombinant DNA technology in the early 1970s, biotechnology has become an essential tool for many researchers and the underpinning of new industrial firms. Biotechnology-which has the potential to improve the Nation’s health, food supply, and the quality of the environment—is viewed by several countries as a key to the marketplace of the 21st century. In order to understand the potential of biotechnology in a global economy, it is first necessary to identify current and potential applications of biotechnology, and to learn how various Nations support and regulate the uses of biotechnology in commerce. This report examines the impact of biotechnology in several industries, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, agriculture, and hazardous waste clean-up; the efforts of 16 Nations to develop commercial uses of biotechnology; and the actions, both direct and indirect, taken by various governments that influence innovation in biotechnology. The report was requested by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; the Senate Committee on the Budget; and the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. OTA was assisted in preparing this study by a panel of advisers, experts from 16 countries who participated in an internationa
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