Team:Hong Kong HKUST/hp/article/kr

From 2013.igem.org

South Korea

Overview

In this country profile, information of synthetic biology in South Korea is compiled from different on-line sources such as government website, official government annual reports, news articles, and reviews. Searches were conducted in both English and Korean media. This country profile contains information about different aspects of synthetic biology in Korea, including regulation, research, people, perception, and organization. However as specific classification of work under the moniker of ‘synthetic biology’ is still uncommon in South Korea, wherever a specific aspect of information cannot be found described under synthetic biology, we have obtained the same information under the wider field of ‘biotechnology’. Information about biotechnology may be inferred to see the general growth trend of synthetic biology and its future development. In fact, biotechnology research institutes and companies are the ones that are most likely to adopt the synthetic biology approach (Hranueli, 2013).

In general, synthetic biology is a small but rapidly growing field in Korea. This trend is guided by a comprehensive plan called the Bio-Vision 2016. In 2006, the Korean government announced the Bio-Vision 2016 as a 10 year plan aimed at developing Korea’s biotechnology capabilities into making the nation a leader in the field. Needless to say, this has also allowed synthetic biology to gain a foothold in Korea (Cho, 2006)

Synbio Map

The SynBio Map identifies and locates companies, universities, research institutions, laboratories and other centers across the globe that are active in synthetic biology research ("Synthetic biology project:," ). It is a good tool to compare the trend of synthetic biology all round the world. This map was created at the Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
On the map, 5 entries are located in South Korea. Three of them, two universities and one company, are near or in Daejeon, and two universities are located in Ulsan. This map may not depict an accurate picture of synthetic biology in Korea because some institutes such as Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology are not listed in the map. This may be due to the fact that information for the map is gathered from official websites, scientific literature, government reports, and journals etc. If the available information was not in English, it could have been hard for the organization to compile the data ("Synthetic biology project," ).


Nevertheless, the growth of synthetic biology in South Korea is still somewhat represented by the map. It had no entries for South Korea in 2009, but that has increased to five entries this year.

Participation in the iGEM Competition

Not many Korean universities have been participating in the iGEM competition. From 2004 to 2012, only four Korean universities participated in the competition. Considering that there are 203 universities listed in the Korean Council for University Education website, 4 out of 203 universities is in fact a small proportion ("Synthetic biology based," ).




The four universities are Chungbuk National University (CBNU), Korea University, Korea Advanced Institute of Technology (KAIST) , Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology. Sogang University registered in 2012, but withdrew from the competition ("Synthetic biology based," ).

Out of the four universities CBNU has been most actively participating in the competition. It was the first Korean university and also one of the first Asian universities to participate. They first entered the iGEM competition in 2006, but did not participate again until 2009. They have participated every subsequent year. Korea University joined the competition in 2009 and KAIST in 2010, and both have competed regularly since. UNIST competed in 2011 and did not return the following year ("Synthetic biology based," ).

Biotechnology Industry

A survey about biotechnology market in Korea published by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, and Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization was available on-line. The statistics provided in the review may not relate directly to synthetic biology, but could provide some insight on the potential development of synthetic biology considering the fact that synthetic biology has wide applications in biotechnology industries (Hranueli, 2013).

The report states that in 2011, out of 921 biotechnology businesses that responded to the survey, the three main biotechnology industries were biopharmaceutical industry (274), biochemistry industry (196), and biofood industry (206). Other biotechnology industries include bioenvironmental industry, bioenergy industry, and bioelectronics industry etc ("Domestic biotechnology industry," 2013).


The report also suggests that biotechnology business in Korea is growing. In 2011, around 35,600 people were employed in the biotechnology industry and within that group around 22,100 people were researchers. This number represents a 3.4% increase compared to the number of researchers (21357) in 2010. Also, the total market value of biotechnology industry in 2009 was around US $4.0 billion, growing annually at 17.6%. In 2011, the total market value had risen to US $5.5 billion ("Domestic biotechnology industry," 2013).


Only one Korean company, Bioneer, is listed in the SynBio map inventory. Bioneer has gene synthesizing technology that is the foundation for synthetic biology ("Synthetic biology project,").

Biotechnology Industry Funding

We present information of biotechnology funding as a whole. ‘Bio-Vision 2016’, the second Korean national framework plan for the promotion of biotechnology, is currently under way. Under this plan the Korean government will provide around US $9.7 billion in 2012 to 2016 for expanding local biotechnology industries. This pledge was reaffirmed by the prime minister during the Bio-Korea 2012 conference held in Seoul. The plan also mentions that the government should increase support for the development of synthetic biology. Additional details, however, are not provided in the framework. The Ministry of Health and Welfare mentioned that the government would eagerly support the development of biotechnology in terms of policies and international collaboration (Lee, 2012).

In addition, private funding in 2011 was round US$ 1.3 billion. This value represents a 26.6% increase compared to the US$ 1.02 billion generated in 2010. 89.9% of the total fund is from the three major biotechnology industries in Korea which are biopharmaceutical (63.8%), biochemistry (13%), and biofood industry (12.5%) ("Domestic biotechnology industry," 2013).


Regulations for Synthetic Biology

In South Korea there is no specific set of regulations designated just for synthetic biology. There is, however, an act called the “Biotechnology Support Act” that can promote the lawful development of synthetic biology in Korea. The purpose of this Act is to effectively support biotechnology in Korea by laying the foundation of biotechnology research ultimately to contribute to the sound development of the national economy. This Act states that the Korean government will make efforts to promote international cooperation in biotechnology researches, promote joint researches within Korea, take policy measures to support biotechnology research, and collect information for technology development("Biotechnology support act," 2008).

There is also a law called “Transfer of Living Modified Organisms Law (LMO Law) that can partially regulate the bio-safety aspect of synthetic biology. LMO Law was first written in 2001 by the Department of Knowledge and Economy under the Korean government. The term Living Modified Organism defined in the Law is very comprehensive and can cover organisms made in synthetic biology research. This law states that before an extensive application of a research, the possible environmental effect of the LMO need to be predicted. Because synthetic biology, however, often produces novel synthetic microorganisms, the environmental effects of the novel microorganism are hard to predict. Modification of LMO Law or a new law, therefore, is required to encompass the whole aspect of synthetic biology (Kim, 2010).


Also, Korea does not have a method for estimating the environmental effects that the LMO can cause and therefore, rely largely on foreign investigations. Such a method will be needed if South Korea begins to develop more drastically altered LMOs (Kim, 2010).

Perception of Synthetic Biology

Scientists
Academic synthetic biology projects are gaining serious traction in Korea, with only 2 such projects in 2009 increasing to around 200 project in 2013. More scientists are also being involved in synthetic biology research("National science and," ).

Government
The Korean government has regularly supported new technologies that integrate different disciplines. As an example of this kind of technology, synthetic biology has received extensive support and promotion by the government as outlined by the Bio-Vision 2016 plan. Korea’s government will continue to increase investments in biotechnology and expand the technology and its market (Kim, 2010).

Public
No study specifically regarding the perception of synthetic biology by the public has been conducted in Korea. It is therefore hard to judge how prevalent the concept of synthetic biology is to the general public. Sections of the Bio-Vision 2016 plan mention that efforts will be put into promoting the safe application of biotechnology. Meanwhile other events that help the general public understand synthetic biology include the 4th Bio-safety and Bio-industry Debate Competition for high school students in Korea, held by the Korea Biosafety Clearing House on April 15th of this year. One of the debates discussed the topic of synthetic biology being used to further the efforts of biotechnology. 436 high school students all around Korea participated in the competition (KBCH, 2013)


A 26-item questionnaire survey conducted in 2010 designed to measure high school students’ perception in biotechnology revealed that students had a generally positive toward the use of biotechnology on crops, and microbes, but were wary about the use of biotechnology products on animals and humans. This study also revealed that male students were more accepting biotechnology than female students (Song & Shim, 2010)

Research, People & Organizations

Research
208 projects related to synthetic biology are currently registered in National Science and Technology Service website, representing a great increase considering that only 2 entries were found in 2008. The two largest contributors to synthetic biology research are the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB) with 41 projects and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) with 17 project entries. Most of the projects are related to protein engineering and bioenergy technologies ("National science and," )

People
According to the National Science and Technology Service website, the most active researchers in synthetic biology are Seung Goo Lee and Sung Kuk Lee, with 13 and 12 projects respectively. The following table is the personal profile of these two researchers and other scientists in the field of synthetic biology.


Organizations, Research Institutes, and Companies
There are few organizations, research institutes, and companies that are specifically established for synthetic biology. Also, Korean Society for Synthetic Biology exists, though it has no official identity or web presence. In addition, there are five institutes directly related to synthetic biology and are listed in the SynBio map. ("Synthetic biology project:," ).

Some organizations, research institutes, and companies are not listed in the SynBio map. This is probably because they have a synthetic biology department under a larger biotechnology institute. For example, under the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, there is the Biochemical and Synthetic Biology Research Center.


As of November 2010, 70 biotech companies are listed on KOSPI and KOSDAQ, two separate Korean stock exchanges. This includes Bioneer Corp., a biotech company that is listed on the SynBio map. It is the only one of those 70 companies that specifically mentions ‘synthetic biology’ in connection with its business. Others make reference to biotechnology and other subtopics under biotechnology and bioengineering ("Biotechnology in korea,”).

References


Overview
Cho, S. C. Ministry of Science and Technology, Public Relation Office. (2006). The second bioengineering development support scheme [bio-vision 2016] decree. Seoul: (In Korean)
Hranueli, D. (2013). minireviewsynthetic biology: A novel approach for theconstructionof industrial microorganisms. Manuscript submitted for publication, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Retrieved from http://www.ftb.com.hr/49.Hranueli_et_al.pdf

SynBio Map
Synthetic biology project: Map inventory. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.synbioproject.org/library/inventories/map/
Figure:
[Map]. Retrieved August 20, 2013, from:  http://www.synbioproject.org/library/inventories/map/

Participation in the iGEM Competition
Synthetic biology based on standard parts. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://igem.org/Main_Page

Biotechnology Industry
Hranueli, D. (2013). minireviewsynthetic biology: A novel approach for theconstructionof industrial microorganisms. Manuscript submitted for publication, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Retrieved from http://www.ftb.com.hr/49.Hranueli_et_al.pdf
Korea, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy; Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization, (2013).Domestic biotechnology industry study report. Seoul: (In Korean)
Synthetic biology project: Map inventory. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.synbioproject.org/library/inventories/map/

Biotechnology Industry Funding
Korea, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy; Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization, (2013).Domestic biotechnology industry study report. Seoul: (In Korean)
Lee, H. W. (2012, September 12). Government "fully support biotechnology industry". Medical today. Retrieved from http://www.mdtoday.co.kr/mdtoday/index.html?no=201444 (In Korean)

Regulation for Synthetic Biology
Kim, H. G. (2010). Review of current regulation of synthetic biology in korea . ScienceOn, Retrieved from http://scienceon.hani.co.kr/?document_srl=35496&mid=media (In Korean)
Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, Future Fundamental Technology Division. (2008).Biotechnology support act of the republic of korea (Act No. 8852)

Perception of Synthetic Biology
KBCH. (2013, July 22). The 4th national high school bio-safety and bio-industry debate competition results. Retrieved from http://citationmachine.net/index2.php?reqstyleid=2&mode=form&rsid=5&reqsrcid=APAWebPage&more=yes&nameCnt=1 (In Korean)
Kim, H. G. (2010). Review of current regulation of synthetic biology in korea . ScienceOn, Retrieved from http://scienceon.hani.co.kr/?document_srl=35496&mid=media (In Korean)
National science and & technology information service. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ntis.go.kr/ThMain.do (In Korean)
Song, S. C., & Shim, K. C. (2010). Study on perception of high school students of biotechnology. Journal of Korean Society of Environmental Education,23(1), 99-111.
 Figure:
The 4th Debate Competition Award Ceremony [Image]. (2013). Retrieved August 21, 2013, from:  http://www.biosafety.or.kr/bbs/mboard.asp?exec=view&strBoardID=debate_004&intPage=1&intCategory=0&strSearchCategory=|s_name|s_subject|&strSearchWord
=&intSeq=71312

Research, People and Organization
Biotechnology in korea. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.kribb.re.kr/eng/file/btik/btik_001.html
Byungkwan cho profile. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ssbl.kaist.ac.kr/contents/sub/member_list.html?wr_id=7
Dr. sung kuk lee profile. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/skleelab/professor
Hee-sung park profile. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/hsparkmsbl/professor
National science and & technology information service. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ntis.go.kr/ThMain.do (In Korean)
Seung goo lee profile. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://home.kribb.re.kr/sglee (In Korean)
Synthetic biology project: Map inventory. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.synbioproject.org/library/inventories/map/
Young-chang kim profile. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://microbio.chungbuk.ac.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=menu02_01&wr_id=7 (In Korean)
Figure:
[Image]. Retrieved July 25, 2013, from:  http://home.kribb.re.kr/sglee
[Image]. Retrieved July 25, 2013, from:  https://sites.google.com/site/skleelab/professor
[Image]. Retrieved July 25, 2013, from:  http://microbio.chungbuk.ac.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=menu02_01&wr_id=7
[Image]. Retrieved July 25, 2013, from:  https://sites.google.com/site/hsparkmsbl/professor
[Image]. Retrieved July 25, 2013, from:  http://ssbl.kaist.ac.kr/contents/sub/member_list.html?wr_id=7
[Image]. (2013). Retrieved  August 14, 2013, from: http://www.korea-fans.com/forum/konu-university-of-science-and-technology.html
[Image]. Retrieved  August 14, 2013, from: http://us.bioneer.com/about/history.aspx