The research for biotechnology in Bangladesh started in the late 1970s. The root cause behind the initiation was the significance of the agricultural sector, which had been the backbone of our economy since ancient times. The research first started in the department of botany in University of Dhaka through Tissue culture on jute. Subsequently, within the next 10–12 years, similar research programs began to take place in different other universities both in public and private sectors along with the different organizations.
Bangladesh is an agro-economy based country with a large population compared to its land area and resources. With the country's population projected to reach 192.9 million by 2025 and economic growth transforming the lives of millions, our food demand is expected to be much higher than its current growth of production. Such crop production would have to be achieved in an adverse climatic condition. Therefore, there is a growing need to develop stress-tolerant crop varieties to combat climate change-induced disasters like floods, drought and intrusion of salinity. Improvement of fisheries and livestock, biodiversity conservation, biological and industrial waste management, health care systems, forestry and environment sectors deserve much attention. Biotechnology can play important roles to address the above issues. Bangladesh and many parts of the world experience periodically natural disasters such as cyclones, drought and flood which bring in their wake near-famine conditions and epidemics claiming countless lives. Ever mounting carbon dioxide emissions are contributing to global warming, threatening our existence from the planet. All these contingencies have increased the world demand for flood and drought tolerant as well as disease and pest-resistant crops. The application of many techniques offered by biotechnology may pave the way toward its satisfactory solution.
Biotechnology has revolutionized the field of biology and genetic engineering is in the pivot of it. Bangladesh is on the threshold of entering into the arena. A joint program of the Asian countries may help in the accelerated development in the field of biotechnology which has great potentials for mitigating the sufferings of the teeming millions in the region. Industrial biotechnology has reached the center of scientific and political attention. At no time in the past has there been a more pressing need for coherent, evidence-based, proportionate regulations and policy measures; they are at the heart of the development of industrial biotechnology.
Prepared by: Aqief Afzal, ASRBC