Biotech experts were on the mark when, on the occasion of World DNA Day on April 25, they stressed the importance of the field of biotechnology for the country’s overall growth and development. Biotechnology involves biological modification of organism, especially microorganism, for the benefit of humanity. Even without adequate infrastructure, Nepali biotech experts have been able to achieve a lot. For the first time in South Asia, Nepali biotechnicians have been successful in eliminating viral diseases in potato. This, even though the country does not have a single biotechnology lab exclusively dedicated to biotech research.
There have been some welcome developments of late. Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) is constructing a lab that will prioritise biotech research. The Kathmandu University, for its part, is starting M.Sc programme in biotechnology, in addition to its B. Sc programme in the same field. Biotech is a vast and diverse field. A lot needs to be done to promote its sub-fields like agricultural biotechnology, animal biotechnology, environmental biotechnology and industrial biotechnology. In the current context of rapid developments in biotechnology, any delay in exploiting its enormous potential is likely to result in huge loses for the economy. Towards this end, the government needs to work with both money and commitment.