The past month in Japan has seen a significant growth in the number of projects involved in genomic and other DNA research. This renewed effort comes in the wake of the government's attempts to commercialise biotechnology research and expand Japan's biotechnology market 25-fold over the next ten years.
Commentators also see the government initiatives as a response to recent criticisms of the Japanese partners in the Human Genome Project, who are struggling to keep up with the US and UK. This is being blamed on the government's failure to tackle genomic research in a coordinated way, and has been accentuated by the West's acceleration of genome research in response to the challenge posed by the private US Company, Celera Genomics.
Aside from DNA sequencing research, DNA microarray, or 'chip' technology, allowing the monitoring of gene expression and detection of mutations, is another fast expanding area of interest for the Japanese biotechnology industry.