WASHINGTON -- The Office of Science and Technology Policy onFriday issued a report, "Biotechnology for the 21st Century,"that sets out government priorities for development ofbiotechnology.

The eight priorities, reflected in President Bush's proposedbudget last week, were not based on consultation with theindustry, said David J. Galas, Ph.D., associate director for healthand environmental research at the Department of Energy. Hewas chairman of the biotechnology research subcommittee thatparticipated in development of the presidential initiative.

"Since this was an internal, budgetary process," Galas toldBioWorld, "it's at this stage when the deliberations of thecommittee have been put into some concrete form. It's nowappropriate to bring in the private sector."

Top priority is support for "broadly applicable foundationsresearch," according to the report. Foundations research andhealth applications were allocated 80 percent of the $4 billionproposed by the initiative.

However, two priorities call for increased spending forenvironmental biotech research, and for manufacturing andbioprocessing technology.

Programs that study organisms not currently underinvestigation in the lab also will receive greater attention.

Additional priorities include increased emphasis on researchdedicated to macromolecules, strengthened and expandedinterdisciplinary research, and increased training programsaimed at providing essential human resources forbiotechnology development.

The initiative also singles out for special attention marinebiotechnology, structural biology and genome research, as wellas research on social impacts to improve public perceptions ofthe technology.

The 125-page report is being sold by the U.S. GovernmentPrinting Office. Requests for copies should be directed to theCommittee on Life Sciences and Health, c/o Office of EnergyResearch, ER-70 U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.20585.

-- Jeffrey M. Freedman Special to BioWorld

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.