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The term Bioeconomy refers to all economic activity derived from: a) the scientific and research activity focused on understanting mechanisms and processes at the genetic and molecular levels, and b) the application of this knowledge to any industrial process. It is often use interchangeably with biotechonomy.

The evolution of the biotechnology industry and its application to agriculture, health, chemical or energy industries is a classic example of bioeconomic activity.

The term was first defined by Juan Enriquez[1] and Rodrigo Martinez[2] at the Genomics Seminar in the 1997 AAAS meeting in Philadelphia. A excerpt of this paper was published in 1998 in Science Magazine under the title "Genomics and the World's Economy."[3]

In 2002, a Harvard Business School Working Paper, "Biotechonomy 1.0: A Rough Map of Biodata Flow" by Enriquez and Martinez, showed the global flow of genetic material into and out of the three largest public genetic databases GenBank, EMBL and DDBJ. The authors then hypothesized about the economic impact that such data flows might have on patent creation, evolution of biotech startups, licensing fees, among other.[4] An adaptation of this paper was published in WIRED magazine in 2003.[5]

The term is widely used by regional development agencies, international organizations, biotechnology companies. It is closely linked to the evolution of the biotechnology industry. The ability to study, understand and manipulate genetic material has been possible due to scientific breakthroughs and technological progress.


  3. Enriquez-Cabot, Juan. "Genomics and the World's Economy." Science Magazine 281 (14 August 1998): 925-926.
  4. Juan Enriquez, Rodrigo Martinez. “Biotechonomy 1.0: A Rough Map of Biodata Flow,” Harvard Business School Working Paper # 03-028, August 2002.
  5. Rodrigo Martinez, Juan Enriquez, Jonathan West. “DNA Space. The Geography of the Genome,” WIRED, June, 2003. p. 160.