By Perpetua Onuegbu
Abuja, Feb. 13, 2019 (NNN) Mr Callistus Igwilo, the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of African Bio-sciences Limited (ABL), says the company is working toward developing an indigenous equipment to determine a child’s paternity.
He made the disclosure in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, ABL is a subsidiary of African Biosciences Corporation (ABC), a new innovative life sciences company established as a Corporation in Delaware.
Established to among other things, create easy access to bioscience research regents and medical testing supplies through e-commerce platform in Nigeria first and then across African countries, Igwilo said ABL was develolping Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine used to amplify Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) samples in the case of examination to ascertain the true paternity of a child.
PCR is a method widely used in molecular biology to make many copies of specific DNA segment. Using a single copy of DNA sequence is exponentially amplified to generate thousands to millions of more copies of that DNA segment.
Igwilo explained that “the PCR is used to amplify DNA to save millions of copies made, so that the investigator will have enough samples to work on, maybe you want to look at the Short Tandem Repeat (STR or microsatellite) normally called the STR markers.
The STR is a tract of repetitive DNA in which certain DNA motifs are repeated, typically 5-50 times. Microsatellites occur at thousands of locations within an organism’s genome. They have a higher mutation rate than other areas of DNA leading to high genetic diversity.
The operating officer said “we will, therefore, need the PCR machine to amplify DNA into millions of samples. Until now, everything we used here were imported.
“But we made that decision late last year and we are working on it to produce the local one that will be cheap, accessible and will even be used by secondary school students.’’
The scientist said that the company was also working on other products that would reduce Nigeria’s importation and dependence on other countries.
“Also, we are working on Molecular Grade Water, when you are doing DNA related stuff at the molecular level, any contamination can affect your result.
“So, the water used in doing those molecular work we call them the molecular grade water, free of all kinds of contaminations, till now, we also import the water.
“We are ramping up facilities to produce them locally here in Nigeria and supply to other companies that require it, we should not be importing molecular grade water from abroad.”
He, however, added that the company had no facilities to develop the water and therefore, would collaborate with University of Jos (UNIJOS) that had the equipment.
“As a private company, we don’t have the resources to get all the equipment we need to do the work, but we found out that some research institutes have specialised equipment, so, we are going into public/private partnership to have access to the entire market.” (NNN)
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu