date the new medicine when it does arrive. Both Singapore and Mexico are aggressively developing national genomic medicine platforms.

Importantly, the human genome is not the only genome that has been sequenced nor the only one from which society can benefit. Beginning with the first complete genetic map of a free-living organism, the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, in 1995,2 scientists have sequenced more than 200 complete microbial genomes. Although The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), Maryland, and The Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK, lead the world in genomic sequencing, more than 75 centers worldwide have sequenced at least one microbial genome. Included in this chapter is a summary of TIGR’s high-throughput sequencing capabilities.

Another large section of this chapter is devoted to plant-based technology platforms, for example plant-based vaccines and transgenic crop technology. Plant-based pharmaceutical manufacturing and transgenic crop technology promise untold economic and societal benefits, particularly for the developing world. Transgenic crop technology, by requiring little initial capital investment, may provide a low-cost means of vaccine production. Experimental data have established proof-of-concept that plant-based vaccines induce immunity, but technical and regulatory obstacles are preventing the field from moving forward more quickly. By contrast, many of the limiting technical challenges of the transgenic crop industry have been overcome, yet the use of the technology is still limited to only a few countries, crops, plant species, and traits.

GENOMIC TECHNOLOGY3

Genomic Medicine in Mexico4

Mexico is in the process of developing one of the first genomic medicine platform in Latin America, one that is expected to serve as a regional model for other countries in their efforts to ease health and financial burdens (see Figure 2-1). Not only does Mexico view its effort as a strategic tool for the development of the country as a whole (i.e., with respect to public health, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and the economy), but also with respect to strengthening national security and preserving Mexican sovereignty. The present time presents a window of opportunity for investment in this emerging medical technological trend, so as to mini-

2  

Fleischmann, R. D. et al. 1995. “Whole-genome random sequencing and assembly of Haemophilus influenzae Rd.” Science 269:496-512.

3  

This section is based on the workshop presentations of Gerardo Jimenez-Sanchez, Patrick Tan Boon Ooi, and Jacques Ravel.

4  

This subsection based on the workshop presentation of Gerardo Jimenez-Sanchez.



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