The Industry-University Cooperative Chemistry Program has sponsored seven previous international symposia covering a wide variety of topics of interest to industrial and academic chemists. The eighth IUCCP symposium, held March 19-22, 1990, at Texas A&M University, represents a deviation from the former symposia, in that it is the first of a two-symposium series dedicated to the rapidly moving new field of industrial biochemistry that has beco e known as biotechnology. Biotechnology is really not a new discipline, but rather is a term coined to describe the new and exciting commercial applications of biochemistry. The development of the field of biotechnology is a direct result of recombinant DNA technology, which began in earnest about 15 years ago. Today, we can routinely do experiments that were inconceivable in the early 1970's. Only comparatively simple technology available even in small laboratories is required to synthesize a gene and from it, to produce vast amounts of biological materials of enormous commercial value. These technical developments and others have stimulated increased activities in the field of enzyme biotechnology, using enzymes to catalyze "unnatural" reactions to produce complex molecules with stereochemical precision. It is true today, we can readily produce DNA fragments that will encode any amino acid sequence that we might desire, but at this point, our foundation of basic knowledge falls short. The dream of "designer enzymes" is still a fantasy, but the current wave of research activity and exciting new developments suggest that in the future the dream may become a reality.