Are you aware that more than 250,000 persons in U.S. get an artificial pacemaker each year but this news would certainly bring smile on the faces of people suffering from heart ailments. A custom designed protein and gene delivery system has been successfully used by UC Davis researchers for restoring the normal heart rhythms in pigs with electronic pacemakers. This certainly gives a hint that scientists are very close to realizing bioengineering which could help in the treatment of more than 2.2 million Americans who are suffering from irregular heartbeats. As per Ronald Li, Leader of research team and associate professor, UC Davis School of Medicine Our study offers positive and direct evidence in living models that bioengineered cells can replace the electronic pacemaker. Our hope is to one day replace electronic pacemakers in people It is expected that this research would offer a permanent and more reliable alternative to implanted electronic devices.
Researchers are of the opinion that biotechnology could improve the nutritional content of crops and make them resistance against diseases and insects. The end result would be improved yield of crops fit for both animal and human consumption. Work is also going on molecular farming which would lead to the production of pharmaceutical products in plants and it could revolutionalize vaccination procedures. Until and unless there is an effective exchange of knowledge and experience through partnerships these technologies would not be able to create an impact on world hunger. There is a need for successful partnerships if we would like to make this possible. Some people argue that there are no sufficient private public interactions and enough attention is not being placed with regards to the involvement of in decision making and the role of genomic technologies in tackling food insecurity.
A whopping twenty thousand jobs would be created in Dubai when a free trade zone called Dubiotech would be developed for attracting researchers and companies to Dubai by July 2007. People with specialized skills would be recruited in the projects that would be operating in Dubiotech. This area is being set up under the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority. Around three hundred hectares of land has been embarked for this project. It would be built at a cost of around $35.39 million whereas the headquarters and laboratory would be requiring an investment of Dh600 million. A regulatory framework is also being put into place in order to tackle copyright issues and IPRs. As of now sixteen companies have been licensed and another ten are being invited. Looks like Dubai is set to become the next big biotechnology hub.
Very soon you would see models sashaying down the ramp wearing dresses made from Ingeo which is a fiber made from genetically engineered crop. All thanks to Biotechnology Industry Organization which is trying to use fashion statement in order to rebuild its image. Slowly and steadily biotechnology is playing a pivotal role in the apparel industry which is waking up to its customers’ concern regarding the environment and reliance of the country on foreign oil for making synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester. On the other hand this is a concern among environmental activists who are opposing GM crops of any kind and Ingeo still supports GM crops. Let see how far these clothes go.
Malaysia is realizing the importance of biotechnology and for that purpose it has allocated a sum of around RM210 million in its budget for developing its biotechnology sector. Malaysia has plans to acquire technology through the Biotech Acquisition Programme with a grant of RM60 million. Under the Biotechnology Commercialization Fund, commercialization of R&D findings would be undertaken by international corporations and companies. Along with that around RM59 million have been allocated under the R&D for production of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products, genomics and molecular biology and promotion of agro-biotechnology activities. The government is also planning to set up Bio Innovation Centre in order to offer site facilities and equipment for new companies in order to undertake bio-manufacturing activities and commercialization. Some of the other incentives which the Malaysian government would be offering are: First: bionexus companies be given income tax exemption for 10 years, beginning from the first year the company is profitable. Second: after the expiry of the 10-year exemption period, a bionexus company will be taxed at a concessionary rate of 20 per cent for another 10 years. Third: tax deduction equivalent to the amount of investment made in seed capital and early stage financing be given to companies or individuals investing in bionexus companies. Fourth: stamp duty and real property gains tax exemptions be given to a bionexus company undertaking merger with or acquisition of a biotechnology company, within a period of five years. Fifth: buildings for research activities related to biotechnology be given Accelerated Industrial Building Allowance, whereby the cost of constructing or acquiring the building is written off over a period of 10 years.
In another development in the field of biotechnology, Nippon Paper Group is testing rice variant which could lessen the symptoms of hay fever. This special variety of rice was developed with the help of MAT vector system for the purpose of genetically extracting genomes or epitope in the rice. These epitope could act as a vaccine for hay fever and people consuming this strain of rice would be experiencing lesser symptoms of hay fever during the season. In order to achieve this, Nippon paper has established a large greenhouse of five hundred square meter on island of Komatsu and it is expected that around seven hundred kilograms of rice would be produced annually under proper light and temperature. The project has been commissioned by the Ministry of Forestry, Agriculture and Fisheries.
Thailand is looking forward to co-operate with Cuba on biotechnology which could bring changes in food and herbal studies. Both the countries have entered into an agreement on scientific co-operation in the areas of nanotechnology, biotechnology, computer and electronics and materials science. The agreement would enable Thailand to gain from knowledge of Cuba since Cuba is quite advanced in the field of biotechnology as it’s quite rich in biological resources. Prime minister of Thailand is on a visit to Cuba and this visit is expected to open up gates of opportunity for both the countries in exchanging their studies and research. As far as Cuba is concerned it has large variety of plants and cereals which have been developed through biotechnology and in order to gain from the experience of Cuba, Thailand is co-operating with it in this field. With regards to the development Thai scientists have undertaken researches on food and herbal studies in Cuba and in order to gain expertise have also undertaken a visit to Cuba’s Cancer Research Institute. It seems Thailand is all set to develop itself in the field of biotechnology.
In EU alone around eight percent of the children and four percent of adults suffer from food allergies. Dutch researchers are saying that if the combination of vaccines and biotechnology worked then the name of food allergy would only be found in the history books within a period of ten years. This news might bring smiles on the faces of people suffering from food allergy and could put the future of free from food market in jeopardy. A well defined combination of hypo-allergenic recombinant allergens and novel adjuvants based on anti-inflammatory molecules from pathogens could help in fighting food allergies. The advancements in the field of biotechnology has found out that certain molecules in foods lead to food allergies and this could also help the field of genetic engineering to change the molecules and cure the root cause of these allergies.
For nearly a century the limestone miners made their living by working in the Southern Indiana’s cave country. Times have changed now and this rock quarry has now been turned into a warehouse. In this bottomless maze the air is chilly and damp. There are roads that connect 12 large chambers. Some of these chambers are being used by the US military to store ready to eat meals. The place is also being used by tire companies to store their supplies because of the stable temperature conditions. One of the rooms in this quarry is being used to grow corns. The room is a hot one with the temperature constant at 82 degrees. With the help of biotechnology gene sequence from a different species or an unrelated plant can be inserted into corn. As the corn grows the protein can be harvested and used for vaccine or a drug. The plants can be used to make life saving compounds for diseases like cystic fibrosis or diabetes or cancer.
Kedah can take the help of biotech for its growth in the field of agriculture. According to Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, the biotechnology industry will also help them to commercialize their agriculture products. There is potential in the agriculture sector, with the growth of the biotech industry private sector will come up and try to get a share of the growing sector. The Investment Seminar 2006 (Agriculture sub-sector) in Alor Star had around 450 agriculture entrepreneur from Penang, Perlis and Kedah who attended the one day seminar. As per Mahdzir, the state has set up the AgroKedah Sdn Bhd. The purpose is to promote Kedah to probable investors who are interested in agricultural projects by making use of biotechnology. It is believed that investors would be willing to come to Kedah as the government has promised a steady supply of basic facilities and labor. With the help of biotechnology the efforts of the farmers are reduced and the revenues soar up.