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6 Biotechnology INTRODUCTION The NASA program in biotechnology, under the auspices of its Physical Sciences Division, is of relatively recent origin compared to the programs in other disciplines. Programs in protein crystal growth and cell science began informally in the mid- to late 1980s; the first NASA Research Announce- ment was issued in 1991. These programs were reviewed recently by a task group whose mandate was to evaluate NASA's biotechnology facility for the ISS. The report of that group (NRC, 2000) gives an up-to-date account of the program, commenting extensively on its achievements and its shortcomings, and makes a number of recommendations for improvements, specifically in relation to research to be undertaken on the ISS. In view of the recent and detailed nature of the task group report, including recommendations for future directions, NASA excluded review of the biotechnology program from this committee's mandate. However, for the convenience of the reader, the Executive Summary of the task group report is included in the present report as Appendix A. Some of the issues and areas related to biotechnology are discussed elsewhere in this report, narticularlv in Chanter 7, dealing with emerging areas. r ~ i- ~-~ -A --- --I - REFERENCE National Research Council (NRC). 2000. Future Biotechnology Research on the International Space Station. National Acad- emy Press, Washington D.C. 61