Connect with us

Science & Technology

Genetic engineering technology, powerful tool to revolutionise world system-Biotechnologists

Published

on

Genetic engineering technology, powerful tool to revolutionise world system-Biotechnologists


Genetic engineering technology, powerful tool to revolutionise world system-Biotechnologists

Seminar

By Sylvester Thompson

Abuja, July 9, 2020(NAN) Biotechnologists say technological advances have dramatically triggered the rates at which plant transformation can be achieved to meet specific needs at every phase of life.

They spoke on Thursday in Abuja during a seminar organised by Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB),Nigeria chapter.

Prof. Alex Akpa, Director General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA in his opening remarks, said the webinar was an attempt to strategise on how biotechnology could be used to address the pandemic.

Akpa said that biotechnology was a powerful tool with the potential of helping to address many situations, including disease outbreaks, hunger, drought and malnutrition.

“The question before us as a country is whether we are ready as a country to take advantage of biotechnology as a tool in solving our problems,’’ he said.

Dr Rose Gidado, OFAB Scientist and Deputy Director at the NABDA, in her presentation said in future, biotechnology may revolutionise the way people think.

She said the rapid drop in the cost of whole genome sequencing and synthesis technologies meant that scientists could now carry out more research, much faster and at a lower cost.

She said that scientific findings have revealed that various bacterial and viral infections, including COVID-19 were greatly suffered by undernourished people around the world.

“With an estimate of 226 million undernourished people in Africa, and 5.1 million malnourished people in Nigeria, the continent is at risk of increasing its chances of being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Malnutrition intensifies the impact of every disease including the novel COVID-19 which appears to be especially deadly for people already in poor health,’’ she said.

According to her, recent advancements in plant transformation and transgene expression technologies could also facilitate the use of plants as bioreactors to produce a variety of bio-products at large scale and low cost.

Gidado said such bio-products could be effectively used as treatment or vaccines for the novel coronavirus.

She also said that malnutrition was one of the major pre-existing conditions that added to the risks of several thousand people falling ill from COVID-19.

This is because it leads to “severe weakening of the immune systems, increased likelihood of getting ill, staying ill, and dying because of illness.’’

She explained that genetic engineering technology was one of the most powerful tools of the 21st century that can revolutionise the world system.

She said it could also solve basic problems, such as hidden hunger, climate change, and the more recent coronavirus disease.

Prof, Chiedozie Egesi, Director at National Root Crops Research Institute, also spoke on Boosting Immunity to Infectious Disease through plant genetic modification.

He stated that the commonly grown cassava varieties lack micronutrients, such as vitamin A, Fe, Zn that are essential for a healthy and productive life

According to him, micronutrient deficiency can impair the body’s immunity to infectious diseases with COVID-19 not being an exception.

He said nearly one in three Nigerian children under five and one-quarter of all pregnant women in the country are vitamin A deficient.

Speaking on the National Policy on Biofortification, he said that Nigeria recognised biofortification as a sustainable intervention strategy to manage micronutrients deficiencies.

Egesi said using biotechnology, cassava could be genetically modified to have higher levels of iron and zinc.

He said that great progress had been made over the past decade with respect to the application of biotechnology to generate nutritionally improved food crops.

“With transgenic crop technology, the genes of interest are inserted directly into the plant genome and is faster and cheaper than conventional plant breeding programmes,’’ he said.

Similarly, he said biorfortification of cassava could help to increase immunity to diseases, reduce chances of infection, and reduce dietary deficiency especially for families who rely on cassava as staples.

Dr Issoufou Kollo. Regional Director of African Agricultural Foundation(AATF), who also spoke ,said there was need for genetic improvement.

He said African traditional crops were very nutritious, hence the need for the improvement of our traditional legume crops.

“We need to do more investment in that area,’’ he said.

Kollo also spoke extensively on genetic engineering technology.(NAN)

=====

Edited By: Obike Ukoh (NAN)

================

Obike Ukoh: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Togo’s COVID-19 cases surpass 1,000 Oil prices mixed as coronavirus concerns undercut support from lower United States crude stocks Nigerian Army to build reference hospital in South-East Risk of nuclear weapons use high, UN chief warns Scholes urges Man-U to target Kane over Sancho Indonesia plans cash transfers for nearly 14 million workers UNGA president urges global recommitment to nuclear disarmament Disasters: Lawyer advises traders to embrace insurance policies I will reduce infrastructural deficit in Oyo, says Makinde United States offers $10m for information on election intruders Canada joins `vaccine nationalism’ race NALDA partners Abia to boost agriculture COVID-19 real, Ohaneze warns traders in Cross River NCDC records 457 new COVID-19 cases, total now 44,890 Cultism: Anambra CP summons DPOs, top police officers to emergency meeting UEL: Lukaku, Eriksen take Inter Milan past Getafe into last eight Manchester United move into Europa League last eight Kwara schools reopen, comply with COVID-19 protocols No plan to absorb repentant Boko Haram fighters into military – Presidency NSE, DICON collaborate to propel Nigeria’s technological advancement Delta Govt. to partner private sector in fight against COVID-19 pandemic — Okowa Stakeholders embark on NCDs research among People Living with HIV CUPP urges respect for protesters’ rights Mass sack: Pilots, engineers threaten to withdraw services NIRSAL empowers 475 female cassava farmers, 2,872 farmers in south south Sell petrol at old rate until PPPRA gives directive, IPMAN tells members Delta commissioner honoured for fighting against COVID-19 COVID-19: PTF submits interim report, calls for massive search for infected persons NCC revises determination on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data pricing  FG open to development, distribution of COVID-19 vaccine—Osinbajo Kwara Govt tasks principals on compliance with COVID-19 guidelines 8,323 Anambra indigenes to benefit from FG cash transfer programme-DG COVID-19: CACOVID donates food items to Yobe govt. Ogbomoso community commends Buhari for honouring late premier NEPZA mulls incentives, loans for enterprises in Free Trade Zones Bauchi Emir reinstates Bello Kirfi as Waziri of Bauchi Police arrest 45 suspects for various offences in Borno Dubai Tourism didn’t ban Nigerians from UAE- Official Coalition decries attack on Gov. Zulum’s convoy IPMAN directs members to sell petrol at N150 per litre in Kano Senate urges states to partner NBTI for job creation FUTA suspends student who allegedly hacked Premium Times website Bale left out of Real Madrid squad to face Man City Arsenal to sack 55 staff as COVID-19 hits revenues Air Chief says NAF expecting 12 additional aircrafts  APC confirms death of A’Ibom state chairman  Lagos State Governor’s Quiz Competition for Aug. 7 Student’s death: FG seals Ibadan factory E-mail marketing: Netcore Solutions highlights key metrics brands should track Troops raid pirates, militants camp, kill 6 in Bayelsa