Success in multidisciplinary research Riding the biotechnology boom of the past two decades, the Thai biotechnology industry is building on the foundation of the old science of medicine and agriculture to develop new successes in such areas as tissue culture, aquaculture and diagnosis of tropical diseases. Progress in process improvement and novel products, mainly utilizing multidisci-plinary research and development results, has begun to gain momentum and the biotechno-logy industry promises to continue to be a major element in the future development of the country. The success of agriculture development has been the major reason for the continued leadership in Thai exports of agricultural-based products.

Variety improvement and other agro-biotechnology developments have resulted in the ability of Thailand to maintain her lead in many agricultural produces and products. Thailand has led the world in ornamental flowers such as orchids, and in many processed fruits and vegetables such as canned pineapple, fruit juice and concentrates and canned baby corn. Tissue culture was introduced into the Thai orchid industry over 30 years ago and continuity of research and development has kept Thai orchids popular worldwide. The country continues to be the world leader in the export of rice and cassava products. Moreover, Thailand is very strong in frozen products, particularly, those arising from the success in aquaculture; not only shrimp, but new vegetable varieties such as green soy bean and okra.

Current research initiatives under the leadership of the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (NCGEB) are strategically aimed at the extension of scientific and technical foundations for future development of biotechnology, and accelerating the transfer of biotechnology from local as well as from overseas sources. The activities cover biotechnology research applicable to food, feed, ornamentals, aquaculture, forestry, the production of energy, bioremediation and maintenance of the environment, diagnosis of human, animal and plant diseases, bio-logical control of pests, as well as the improvement of general scientific and technical foundations in biotechnology-related areas.

Recent successes in research applications apart from aquaculture, plant variety improvements and ornamentals include: