Crop Biotech Update

Biotech Day at Cairo University

May 4, 2012

The first Biotechnology Day organized by the Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University and the Egyptian Biotechnology Information Center (EBIC) celebrated the 10th anniversary of the biotechnology program on April 7, 2012. This outreach effort was designed to acquaint new students with the biotechnology program and career opportunities in the biotechnology industry.

The Faculty of Agriculture at Cairo University identified the importance of biotechnology as an area with tremendous growth potential. In 2002, the program was first opened as the first biotechnology program in Egypt and the region.

A highlight on the Global Status of Commercialized GM Crops was presented indicating the importance of cultivating these crops and how that could help to alleviate world hunger.The role of scientists to disseminate the correct information about biotech crops and their benefit to small farmers, and agricultural development was demonstrated.

The students took the initiative to clarify what biotech crops are and presented a play called GM Crops vs Consumers where they talked about transgenic maize, cotton, soy bean and potato. They also applied easy to understand biotechnology techniques through a play called Houdini (Famous Magician) and Biotech. They showed the audience how to simply isolate DNA from saliva by using very simple materials that could be found in any kitchen. They also acted out in a short play about the struggle between the devil and angel concerning the ethics of using GM crops.

For more information about Biotech Day, email Dr. Naglaa Abdalla, head of the Department of Genetics, Cairo University at naglaa_a@hotmail.com