East African countries face harsh biosafety restrictions in expanding gene editing research

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

For scientists across the globe in agricultural value chain to counteract the upcoming challenges likely to be faced by factors which may lead to food insecurity like climate change challenges among others, it is imperative to try novel and enterprising solutions across the agricultural food chain, including gene modification of crops which is already being applied by scientists in many countries including Uganda.

In Uganda and other countries in Easter Africa like Kenya, scientists are already developing transgenic crop varieties using modern biotechnology mechanism.

However, a number of scientists both in the agricultural and medical sector in the developed world are now moving towards developing agricultural and medical products using gene editing technology.

How gene editing is a different technology from genetic modification is that the production of genetically modified organisms involves inserting desired foreign genes from a similar plant into the genome of a plant of interest or animal but gene editing modifies plant, as well as animal and human, genomes without the introduction of foreign genetic materials.

“I think Agricultural scientists in a way are avoiding complexities surrounding Biosafety laws regarding GMO’s because many people opposing it usually claim genes are obtained from unwanted material and transferred to crops which is not the case,” says Dr. Geoffrey Arinaitwe, a principal research officer at the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL) in Kawanda.

Ugandan scientists in agricultural sector should think of joining the rest of the world in using the technology because as the world population keeps growing, there need to increase production of food to avoid food insecurity.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Breeding agricultural products using transgenic gene editing

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