Biotech Updates

A Further Boost for Strategic Biosafety Research by Biosafety South Africa

August 5, 2011

Biosafety South Africa awarded three research grants to top research universities in South Africa and the Food and Allergy Consulting and Testing Services in Cape Town. The projects were commissioned to gather important information to assist in the regulation and management of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Two grants were awarded to the University of Stellenbosch which will focus on the aspect of risk mitigating strategies for GMOs. Dr. Helet Lambrechts of the Department of Animal Sciences will focus on the development and evaluation of different containment strategies for abalone which will be an important requisite for a possible GM research and development program on the organism. The second project is on the development of technologies to enable cis-genetics (production of GM plants without introduction of foreign gene) in sugarcane which will be led by Prof. Jens Kossmann, director of the Institute for Plant Biotechnology. The project provides opportunity to advance knowledge and understanding of the biosafety and regulatory issues relevant to cis-genetics.

The third project focuses on the food, feed and health safety aspects of GM crops, particularly the allergenicity of Bt maize pollen to be headed by Dr. Harris Steinman, director of the Food and Allergy Consulting and Testing Services in Cape Town.

 For details, please refer to the Research and Development database on the Biosafety SA website (