Biotechnology policies

Biotechnology Statistics - South Africa


Collection/compilation agency: Department of Science and Technology (DST)

Collection/compilation type:
Audit of the South African biotechnology sector.



  • Ownership structure
  • Employees
  • Business activities and product information
  • R&D information
  • Intellectual Property
  • Technology platforms
  • Support services


  • Investments

Research group:

  • Employees
  • Biotechnology-related research
  • Business activities and product information
  • Intellectual Property
  • Technology platforms
  • Support services.

Scope: Non-governmental organization, companies, close corporation, para-statal, trust, higher education institute, other.

Frequency: Onetime in 2003.

Periodicity: N/A

Classification used:

  • Human Health
  • Animal Health
  • Plant Biotech
  • Industrial
  • Environmental
  • Food/Beverage
  • Support Services
  • Other

Biotechnology activity is divided into 4 categories.

  • First generation biotechnology involves the use of wild type or natural biological organisms to produce a product, for example, the use of yeast to make beer or wine. 
  • Second generation biotechnology refers to the production of specific products using a pure cell or tissue culture of organisms that have been specifically selected, through random cross-breeding or similar techniques, for their superior production or expression abilities without introducing foreign DNA. 
  • Third generation biotechnology involves manipulation of the genetic make-up of organisms, by introducing selected foreign (across the species barrier) DNA, through recombinant DNA technology, to make them produce small molecules, compounds or proteins.
  • Support services for biotechnology include those activities that do not directly make use of biotechnology activities but provide essential support to those groups that do, e.g. legal services, business and financial support, equipment or reagent supplies, etc.

Definition used: Organizations “using biotechnology” are those that use a set of techniques leading to the transformation of a substance or production of a product, and where living organisms, or parts thereof, are involved. The living material may be the object that is transformed or produced or may be used in the manipulation or production process.

DNA: Genomics, Bioinformatics, Pharmaco-genomics, Gene probes/DNA markers, DNA Sequencing/ Synthesis/Amplification, Recombinant DNA technologies, Transgenesis.

Proteins and Molecules: Peptide/Protein Sequencing/Synthesis, Lipid/protein engineering, Carbohydrate engineering, Proteomics, Enzymology, Hormones and growth factors, Cell Receptors/Signaling/ Pheromones, Antibodies, Structural Biology, Molecular modelling.

Cell and Tissue Culture and Engineering: Cell/tissue culture, Tissue engineering, Hybridization, Cellular fusion, Vaccines/Immune Stimulants, Embryo manipulation.

Process Biotechnologies: Fermentation, Bioreactors, Bioprocessing, Biotransformation, Bioleaching, Biopulping, Bio-bleaching, Biodesulphurization, Bioremediation, Biofiltration, Phytoremediation, Biological gas cleaning, Bioaugmentation, Bioindicators, Process Control, Classical/Traditional Breeding, Extraction/Purification/Separation.

Sub-cellular Organisms: Viral vectors, Gene therapy.

Other: Molecular High Throughput Screening, Drug Delivery, Rational Drug Design, Diagnostics, Biochips, Combinatorial Chemistry, Biomaterials, Processing of Blood Products and Substitutes, Natural Products Chemistry, Microbiology/Virology/Microbial Ecology, Biosensors, Transgenics, Bio nanotechnology, Molecular Synthesis.

Output:  eGoli Bio National Biotech Survey 2003

Contact comments:

Future plans (plans for new collections, strategies, experiences etc.): A desktop study to determine SA Biotechnology Facts and Figures, Strengths and Weaknesses and Innovation Successes; Possible Survey on Public Understanding of Biotechnology.

Contact details:

Survey attached in annex:


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