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Checkbiotech: Zambia builds high-tech lab to detect GM food imports
Posted by: DR. RAUPP ; madora (IP Logged)
Date: May 18, 2005 09:52AM ; ;

Zambia has begun building a modern molecular biology laboratory to detect
genetically modified (GM) organisms entering the country, May 2005 by Talent
Ngandwe .

The National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR)
began the project last month. It is expected to finish by December. The
Norwegian government has donated US$330,000 for buying equipment and
training scientists.

Despite Zambia experiencing its third severe drought since 2000, the
government is sticking to its decision to ban GM food imports (see As
drought takes hold, Zambia's door stays shut to GM).

Michelle Nganga, head of research and development at NISIR told Times of
Zambia last week (6 May) the new laboratory is being built to safeguard
Zambians' health and maintain a sustainable environment.

In 2003 the Zambian government launched a five-year strategy for national
biosafety and biotechnology. As part of this, the Zambian government drafted
biosafety legislation to increase its technological infrastructure to
'protect' people from consuming GM food.

Director of NISIR, Mwananyanda Lewanika, told SciDev.Net that the new
laboratory would be responsible for identifying GM organisms, since the
virology laboratory at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) has no
molecular biology facility.

The goal is to have the new facility accredited as a regional and national
referral laboratory that will provide research and training in collaboration
with the University of Zambia and the Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology.
The University of Zambia will arrange for student placements in GM research,
while the Norwegian Institute of Gene ecology will use scientist exchange
programmes to help in training and research.


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