[For further information on the Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and
Agriculture see Forum website.
Note, participants are assumed to be speaking on their own behalf, unless they state otherwise.]
Sent: 27 June 2005 11:46
Subject: 84: Re: Capacity building // Decentralised banks
I am Emma K. Sales, again, of the University of Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
This is in response to message 83 (June 26) of Sylvia Uzochukwu. I agree that there is really a need for scientists from developing countries to be regularly updated on the current trends and innovations in biotechnology through capacity building. I applaud and am pleased to inform everybody of the innovations done by the Asian Maize Biotechnology Network (AMBIONET). AMBIONET is a collaborative research and training network that was established to strengthen the biotechnology capacity of national maize research programs in Asia. Most scientists from member countries were trained on the applications of biotechnology tools. The network also conducted a proposal development workshop - in that way, the participating members were trained in how to write research proposals for fund/grants. Also through these initiatives, member scientists were able to establish our own biotech labs which opened doors and funding opportunities as well as linkages with other maize scientists in Asia. [Some of the molecular marker characterisation work carried out through AMBIONET was previously mentioned in Message 42 (June 10) by Marilyn Warburton...Moderator].
In this regard, I'm calling the attention of concerned scientists from developed countries to spearhead the same innovations especially for livestock. From the exchange of ideas and comments, I think there is a need to do the same network collaboration so that livestock research can move in the less developed and developing countries like the Philippines. As far as I know, the Philippines does not have an existing biotech or molecular work on livestock. As had been pointed out, the developing countries are swamped with new breeds of livestock and poultry but nothing has been done to preserve and conserve the native breeds.
Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics,
University of Southern Mindanao,
ekalaw (at) yahoo.com
Sent: 27 June 2005 11:47
Subject: 85: Re: Capacity building // Decentralised banks
This is Kioumars Ghamkhar, again.
In response to Sylvia Uzochukwu (message 83, June 26), although I am not writing on behalf of any organisation, I would like to mention that there are yearly training programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America covering a wide range of activities, from research proposal writing to molecular characterisation, marker assisted selection, and bioinformatics. I suggest having a look at Carmen de Vicente's message and the links therein and also the Generation Challenge Program's (GCP) website to get some idea about what is going on. However, we should not misunderstand the message. The message is that GCP and similar programs are committed to helping the developing countries for capacity bulding but we should not expect them to plan, organise, fund, practice, and deliver everthing. What about the developing countries themselves? They must be productive and supportive, too. [Carmen's message 26, June 9, provides more details on the GCP (www.generationcp.org) ...Moderator].
If scientists and policy makers in the developing countries do not put enough time and effort into these activities and do not prepare a strategic plan for these purposes, there is nothing programs such as GCP can do. Scientists in the developing countries are the right arm of the international organisations for development programs and, knowing the extraordinary diversity in the existing germplasm collections of crops and their landraces and wild relatives, these scientists must push and influence the policy makers to cooperate in establishing national germplasm centres, making connections with other germplasm centres around the world, characterisation of the germplasm, developing carefully structured core collections within the existing collections (preferably using molecular technques due to their preciseness), and providing the best cores to the breeders for conventional and/or molecular breeding.
The developing world must not expect the international organisations to go all the way from training the researchers at the regional level to training at the national level. They must put further effort to transfer this knowledge to their national research centres/universities by preparing a focused strategic plan and funding national training programs by their senior scientists that have been already trained or will be trained by the international organisations, otherwise the image that we are making of the future will be an undeliverable ideal or even a dream.
Dr Kioumars Ghamkhar
Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA)
University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley WA 6009
Voice: 61 8 6488 7120
Fax: 61 8 6488 1140
E-mail: kioumars (at) cyllene.uwa.edu.au
Sent: 27 June 2005 11:50
Subject: 86: Biotechnology and genetic resources in war-hit countries
I am Janaki Krishna from India, again.
I agree with Sylvia Uzochukwu (Message 83, June 26). The projects on training on higher end biotechnologies should also be given due consideration by the funding agencies in order to obtain quality research proposals and output.
Also, I wish to flag a strange situation (though not discussed in the Background Document) wherein characterisation and, especially, conservation of genetic resources may play an important role. Similar to the special emphasis on developing countries situation, the war affected countries or war (endemic!) zones should also be considered as a special category in this regard. I feel there will be some effect on genetic resources in the war-hit zones. Special task projects may be funded to establish genetic resources centres or seed/sperm/DNA banks with specific safety measures in these areas to conserve and retrieve the germplasm. In vitro/cryopreservation techniques can be useful tools in this regard. It is just a stray suggestion as I am ignorant of the statistics with regard to the affect of war(s) on genetic resources. If it is insignificant, kindly ignore this message.
P S Janaki Krishna
Andhra Pradesh Netherlands Biotechnology Programme
Institute of Public Enterprise
Hyderabad - 500 007,
Phone 91 - 40 - 27097018/27098148
Email: jankrisp (at) yahoo.com
[War and civil strife do indeed have an impact on genetic resources for food and agriculture. For example, Section 1.2 of FAO (1998), notes that there are several primary factors responsible for diminishing animal genetic diversity in the developing world and that one of them is "Wars and other forms of political unrest and instability" (http://dad.fao.org/en/refer/library/guidelin/sml-popn.pdf). Regarding plants, in their Country Reports for the State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (SoW-PGR), nearly all countries said that genetic erosion was taking place and was a serious problem. They cited a number of main causes for the genetic erosion, one of which (cited by 6 countries) was war and civil strife, where "In some countries, war and civil strife have contributed significantly to genetic erosion. In Rwanda and Somalia, they have resulted in the neglect of fields and the consumption of seed, while in Angola and Cambodia, they contributed to the loss of many traditional varieties as people moved from one area to another in search of safety. Farmers were unable to preserve their local varieties. In Viet Nam, genetic erosion was one of the consequences of the large-scale use of defoliants during the war in that country". (Section 1.5.2 in the SoW-PGR http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPS/Pgrfa/pdf/swrfull.pdf) ...Moderator].
Sent: 27 June 2005 15:00
Subject: 87: DNA barcoding // Inadequacy of using a single molecular marker system
I am PK Gupta from Meerut University, India, again.
I had earlier raised two important issues, which have not been discussed at any length during the conference. Therefore, I want to reiterate these two issues again:
The first (raised in Message 23, June 8) is the use of DNA barcoding for characterizing germplasm. No developing country has tried it, but they need to consider whether or not this technology will be useful. If it seems to be useful, we need to start using it without wasting any time.
The second (raised in Message 44, June 13) deals with the inadequacy of a single molecular marker system (e.g. simple sequence repeats (SSRs)) for estimation of genetic diversity in the germplasm, so that either the data from several marker systems (SSRs, SAMPL, AFLP, etc.) need to be pooled and used for estimation of genetic diversity, or else we should revert back to morphological traits for estimation of genetic diversity, because there are reports that a number of morphological traits together give a better estimate of genetic diversity.
I hope that the above two issues will receive the desired attention of those participating in this e-conference.
Honorary Emeritus Professor and INSA Senior Scientist
Molecular Biology Laboratory
Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding
Ch. Charan Singh University
Tel (Lab): 91-121-2768195
TeleFax : 91-121-2768195
e-mail : pkgupta36 (at) yahoo.com