Computational Biology in Brazil

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Computational Biology in Brazil

Public Library of Science
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030185
  • Biotechnology
  • Computational Biology
  • Perspectives
  • None


untitled Perspectives Computational Biology in Brazil Goran Neshich Introduction At the request of the PLoS Computational Biology Editor-in- Chief, I agreed to write about computational biology in Brazil (see author information in Box 1). That meant describing: a) the history of the field in our country (short as the history of the field itself is short); b) the current state of the field in Brazil; c) the influence of computational biology–related technologies on the development of the national economy; d) the entrepreneurship that is rising from already-established academic activities; and e) educational activities ongoing or planned which are deemed necessary to establish the required critical mass of well-trained specialists. Why is an article like this important now? It is estimated that Brazil combined with China, Russia, and India will have a larger gross national product (GNP) than the US, Japan, Germany, and the UK combined by 2020. In short, we can expect Brazil to have significant impact on the field of computational biology in the years to come, and now is the time to explore that promise. Increased Economic Activity Boosted Research Investment Brazil is a country with almost 190 million inhabitants that occupies an area equal to 81% of the area of Europe and 115% of the area of the US, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. In the late 1980s, Brazil left behind its mantle as a simple coffee producer with an agricultural boom, offering the world market major commodities such as soybeans, meat, poultry, and, more recently, fruit and flour. The rise in agricultural production came via a well-constructed socioeconomic plan put together by the Brazilian government, including targeted investment in supporting science and technology. As a consequence, Brazil became, for example, one of the major exporters of medium-sized aircraft. Further, the Brazilian petroleum company, Petrobras, provides Brazil self- sufficiency in oil, and is a major catalyst for the widespread use of ethanol in auto

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