The impetus for a biomimetic approach to mineralization stems from the need for increasingly sophisticated materials showing greater efficiency, specialization, and optimization—properties that ultimately depend on the control of molecular and supramolecular structure, and hence on methods of predictive chemical fabrication. Biomineralization is of central importance to the development of new approaches in materials science because, as discussed in the preceding article by Fink, the formation of bioinorganic materials, such as bones, shells, and teeth is highly regulated and responsive to the surrounding environment in a manner not achieved by conventional synthetic routes. Some possible areas of overlap are shown in Figure 1. As in the other areas of biomaterials discussed in this and next month's issue of the MRS Bulletin, there are two potential connections between the natural processes of biomineralization and the synthetic demands of materials science; first, the commercial exploitation of biologically derived, tailored materials, and second, the assimilation and adaptation of biological concepts and mechanisms into “artificial” materials design and synthesis. The former is an extension of biotechnology, by which microbial systems could be utilized to produce mineral powders. Some of the possible processes have been discussed elsewhere. In general, the use of biological sources is only applicable where the high production costs are offset by a marketable specialty product. While this is feasible for organic-based products such as polyhydroxybutyrate (see next month's MRS Bulletin) it imposes a severe limitation when we transfer the approach to biomineralization.