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Why Mexico Struggles to Make Science Pay Off

The nation is poised to explode into the information economy—and yet stubbornly refuses to do so

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In 2008 it seemed like Enrique Reynaud had the world in his back pocket. A veteran professor of molecular biology at Mexico's largest and most important university, he was about to start his first company, Biohominis. It was a kind of Mexican 23andMe—a laboratory that could offer insight into a customer's genetic proclivity to hypertension, diabetes and other diseases.

In many ways, Biohominis was the culmination of Mexico's biotech tradition, which goes back to Norman Borlaug, who kicked off a green revolution around Texcoco. Biohominis was based in part on innovative applications of the polymerase chain reactions used in genetic testing and was developing techniques to identify cancers, metabolic problems, and viruses in humans and livestock.

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