Why Africa should embrace crop biotechnology

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Uganda passed a Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy in 2008 and later drafted and tabled Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill which is about to be taken up by events before it becomes law. Every time a meeting is held to discuss biotechnology which includes Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), a question is asked, by a parliamentarian, to a religious leader, to a common man, what is the other side?

This question cannot have only one response because different biotech approaches are applied in developing a GMO.

Genes express themselves through protein produced. It is this protein that is a point of concern in case the gene transferred happens to code for a protein that causes allergy. Through gene mapping of genomes, the genetic makeup of several crops are known including those genes that cause allergies in some individuals.

Another form of genetic engineering that NARO is applying is to improve farmer preferred cassava varieties to resist cassava brown streak disease, and it  does not result in the production of a protein.
It simply stops the virus from multiplying to cause a disease and it’s likened to vaccination in poultry and livestock.

Another form of genetic engineering is when the transfer of genes is done within the same species resulting in what is called a cisgenic plant. The only difference with cross pollination is that half the genes of one parent combines randomly with half the genes of another parent to form a seed that later develops into a full plant, while a cisgenic crop only has one or two genes from that crop of the same species.

Read full, original article: Africa should invest in modern biotechnology

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