So They Say

Verbatim excerpts from the media on the conduct of science. Another Japanese Target The Japanese readily concede that they trail the West in biotechnology, the use of engineering techniques to study living organisms. But cross biotech with electronics, and the story is different. In this new, hybrid field, called bioelectronics, Japan boasts of a lead in moving from lab to market. "Japan is ahead, without a doubt," says Isao Karube, biotechnology professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology. A big

The Scientist Staff
Feb 8, 1987
Verbatim excerpts from the media on the conduct of science.

Another Japanese Target

The Japanese readily concede that they trail the West in biotechnology, the use of engineering techniques to study living organisms. But cross biotech with electronics, and the story is different.

In this new, hybrid field, called bioelectronics, Japan boasts of a lead in moving from lab to market. "Japan is ahead, without a doubt," says Isao Karube, biotechnology professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology.

A big part of that lead is a tiny device created by fusing organic matter to electrodes. Called a biosensor, the device converts natural chemical reactions into electric current to measure blood-sugar levels, monitor the brewing of beer, sniff out pollution, pick the freshest fish in the market or become a robot's "nose."

"It's the same old story," says Christopher Lowe, director of the biotechnology center at Britain's Cambridge University. Biosensors "have been...

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