Biotech Updates

State-of-the-Art Plant Biotech Facility in University Malaya

December 4, 2009

A state-of-the-art plant biotech facility (PBF) was officially opened by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Datuk Seri Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili on December 1, 2009 at the University Malaya. The PBF is a research facility of the Centre for Research in Biotechnology for Agriculture (CEBAR). In her welcome speech, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jennifer Ann Harikrishna, the head of CEBAR said PBF will support academics, students and their industry partners to take their research from the laboratory to practical applications in compliance with International Biosafety Standards. She further stressed the need for human capital development in the areas such as plant breeding, bioinformatics, botany, plant pathology, molecular biology, and biosafety regulations to move forward in plant biotechnology.

Datuk Seri Maximus emphasized the need for a second revolution in agriculture with a focus on modern biotechnology to ensure self-sufficiency and to reduce the dependence on imported food and feed, and also to ensure the availability of renewable sources for fuel. He acknowledged GM technology as a key tool to support plant biotechnology and the traits available in the market such as herbicide tolerance, resistance to disease and pests which increases yield. The minister also endorsed the need to introduce new traits in crops through GM technology to encounter climate change and the growing population.

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