Biotechnology is a rapidly developing area of science that has made a great impact on human lives in one way or another. Its broadest definition encompasses activities of many scientific fields, and has brought about a revolution in the understanding of biological systems and their interactions with the environment at a molecular level. In the production line, creating organs for transplant, animals and plants as pharmaceutical factories, production of edible vaccines at low risk to the recipient and high nutrient containing food items are becoming demand value driven industries. Thus, the speed of the technology’s development has sparked a great debate among the advocates and those who oppose it.
Today, around the world, this technology is contributing to the understanding and advancements in the fields of medicine, agriculture and the environment. The momentous achievements within the past decade have brought in newer challenges propelling the goals of the discipline even further. Thus, the impacts of biotechnology are multifaceted, and a wealth of information has been generated within the last few decades. The outcomes of activities of biotechnology benefit developed and developing countries alike. However, there is a vast gap in knowledge and skills between the two categories with respect to research and development. Thus, it is important to develop programmes that enhance the knowledge and skills of the potential researchers in our own country as the positive aspects could be manipulated to suite a country’s national needs.
It is also noteworthy, that having realized the potential of biotechnology research, the government of Sri Lanka has recognized biotechnology as a thrust area for development. As a step towards developing human resources, the Board of Study in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has been given the mandate to conduct courses that are beneficial to the country. This programme is therefore aimed as providing the theoretical as well as practical skills for those who are embarking on the teaching, research application based activities in this field.