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 flood, drought and intrusion of salinity. Improvement of fisheries & 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, drought tolerant and disease and pest resistant crops. The application of a multitude of techniques offered by biotechnology may pave the way toward its satisfactory solution.
Biotechnology industry is yet to be a major contributor on the national economy, however, according to the experts, the results of some ongoing research shows enough potentials of this sector.
Several private pharmaceutical firms have begun to develop separate and dedicated biotech units. Some private corporations are manufacturing virus-free potato seeds in substantial quantities, bit by bit reducing the dependency on foreign potato seeds. Techniques such as molecular breeding have been employed to accelerate the process of crop improvement.
Biotechnology in health care and diagnostic services has been started and is rising day by day. These organizations are providing molecular diagnostics such as PCR, microsatellite marker based diagnosis of tuberculosis, diarrhea, cholera and hepatitis viruses etc.
Animal biotechnology encompasses a broad range of techniques for the genetic improvement of animal species, animal vaccines and development of rapid test kits to diagnose the disease of livestock, poultry and companion animals.
Techniques of traditional biotechnology like artificial insemination and selective breeding are being practiced extensively in the country. In vitro fertilization and embryo transfer have been carried out successfully in the laboratories and in field trial, and are being used in some selective areas.
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 countries of the Asian region may help in the accelerated development in the field of biotechnology which has great potentials for mitigating the suffering of the teeming millions of the region. Industrial biotechnology has reached the center of scientific and political attention.