A Biotech Gambit in the Desert

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Science  25 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5521, pp. 1478
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5521.1478

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ALEXANDRIA-- Scores of scientists have flocked here to the Mubarak City for Scientific Research and Technological Applications, hoping to put their country on the biotech map. Much of Mubarak City's research is geared toward projects with an imminent payoff: culturing bacterial strains that are more efficient at processing sewage, for example, or developing cheap diagnostic tests for human diseases. But to create a homegrown biotechnology industry from scratch, Egypt must reverse a decades-long scientific exodus caused by hardships such as salaries of only about $200 a month, aging equipment, and red tape that can delay orders for months.