Because it encompasses several processes that have applications to many sectors of the U.S.
economy, some argue that biotechnology should be targeted by the Federal Government for aggressive government support and promotion. Currently, U.S. industrial growth depends on private sector entrepreneurship, Federal funding of research, and regulatory oversight of various research applications and commercial development.
Congress could target biotechnology through legislation that broadly singles it out for favorable treatment, or through measures that address specific problems faced by researchers and companies seeking to commercialize products developed through biotechnology. Legislative attempts to target biotechnology have focused on the establishment of national biotechnology policy boards and advisory panels for specific areas of research interest (e.g., agriculture, human genome, and biomedical ethics) and development of a national center for biotechnology information. Those who argue against targeting biotechnology say that it is not the role of the Federal Government to pick winners and losers in the world of commerce, that such efforts have more often failed than succeeded, and that attempts to target biotechnology cannot succeed due to the number of industries involved, all of which face different scientific, regulatory, patent, and commercial problems. Targeting biotechnology alone cannot assure increased competitiveness; fostering a research base (funding, training, and personnel) and maintaining an industrial capacity to convert basic research into products also is required.