Tissue culture will enable seeds coy meet GES requirement-----expert NAN-H-5 Culture

dinnerloafBiotechnology

Oct 23, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Tissue culture will enable seeds coy meet GES requirement
-----
expert


NAN
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H
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5

Culture


Abuja, Aug. 16, 2013 (NAN) Dr Abdullahi Ndarubu, the General Manager, Candel

Company Ltd, a
seed company, has identified tissue culture as panacea to inadequate seeds production under the
Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme.


Ndarubu, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday, defined tissue
culture
as a collection of techniques used to maintain or grow plant cells, tissues or organs under
sterile conditions.


He said that the country was facing difficulty in producing the required quantum of seeds for the
scheme because it was lagging behind in the a
rea of biotechnology in seeds production.

He stressed that tissue culture would enable seeds' companies to meet the requirement of the GES as
little could be done through conventional seeds cultivation.


Ndarubu, who noted that flooding was a major challen
ge for seeds production, added that such could
be averted through tissue culture as the seeds would be cloned in a sterile laboratory.


``You can produce as many tonnes of seeds as possible through tissue culture without the fear of
flood washing away your

farmland because the seeds will be cloned in a sterile laboratory.


``Tissue culture is widely used to produce clones of plants through a method known as micro
-
propagation.’’


He urged seeds companies to cultivate the habit of using tissue culture because

it offers certain
advantages over traditional methods of propagation.


``Tissue culture also enables the production of exact copies of plants and allows plants to mature
early and it facilitates the production of multiples of plants even in the absence of

seeds.’’


He also observed that it would help the county a great deal if the bio
-
safety bill was signed into law
and the country was able to operate genetic modification fully.


Ndarubu defined genetic modification as the insertion or deletion of genes ad
ding that when genes
were inserted, they usually came from different species, which was a form of horizontal gene
transfer.


He said genetic modification would enable the production of higher quality varieties of seeds.

NAN reports that the GES scheme is a

Federal Government's initiative under the Agricultural
Transformation Agenda aimed at subsidising the cost of major agricultural inputs such as fertiliser
and seeds.


Under the initiative, farmers access inputs through an electronic distribution channel k
nown as the e
-
Wallet.


The conditions of the e
-
Wallet scheme stipulates that a farmer registered under the scheme pays 50
per cent of the cost of farm inputs while the federal and state governments pay 25 per cent each.

One of the requirements for the
scheme is the national farmers’ registration exercise, where farmers’
data are captured into the ministry’s central data bank. (NAN)

SOG/EAL/LDA


GM food is not responsible for early puberty as opponents suggest
---

Director


NAN
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Food

Abuja, Aug. 21,
2013 (NAN) The opponents of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have
attributed early puberty to the consumption of GM foods, says, Mr Olusegun Olatokun, the
Coordinating Director, the National Agricultural Seeds Council.


Olatokun, in an interview with
the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, defined
GMO as an organism whose genetic material has in turn been altered using genetic engineering
techniques.


According to him, these set of people have also described the science of genetic engin
eering which
entailed the insertion or deletion of genes as ''playing God''.


He said that these views false assertions that had no scientific proof.


He said that genetic modification was needed in the country not only to boost the agricultural sector
but

also health and trade sectors.


''I am positive about GMOs; because it will improve agricultural productivity and better the livelihood
of farmers.


''These are things that the government have to address by signing the biosafety bill into law, because
the

benefits of GMOs are more than whatever its opponents are talking about.''


Olatokun stressed that there was a need to sign the biosafety bill into law because genetically
modified foods and crops were already being imported into the country, which was un
safe.


''Already, we have some of these things being imported into the country and if we do not put the law
in place, it will be to our detriment.


''Go to the markets and see the type of heavy looking bananas, guavas and tomatoes that are being
sold; they

are GMO products because we have not released such varieties in the country,'' he added.


Meanwhile, Mr Raheef Usman, the Head, Biosafety Unit, Ministry of Environment, has stressed that
genetic modification would assist Nigeria in its quest for food suff
iciency and food security.


Usman said that genetic modification was not responsible for any kind of diseases as some people
erroneously insinuate.


''There has been cancer even before the invention of GMO. Having different ailments is not as a result
of t
he consumption of modified foods.


''The question should be : Can we use genetic modification to prevent a disease like cancer?


''Yes, we can. Cancer is an abnormal growth in any part of the body. You can remove that gene that
is giving rise to the cancer

and put another gene that will suppress the growth of cancer.


''GM will not shorten life and it can never shorten life; it will only improve your well
-
being; the GMO
does not aggravate anything that will be injurious to the body.''


According to Usman, m
ajority of Nigerians know the benefits of the GMO but the few ignorant ones
are the people coming up with negative assertions.


He said that the ignorant people needed to be sensitised on the roles GMO play in agriculture and
human health.


''If people do
not have a better alternative to address food sufficiency and diseases, they should stop
saying what they don’t know and allow genetic modification to take control.


''If people want to argue, they should argue intelligently; people should not argue withou
t facts.''


He stated that there was no difference between the modified crop and the conventional ones.


''The colour is still the same, the texture is still the same, the taste is still the same; it is just in the
nutritional value that there might be an
increment.


''Assuming you have five per cent of protein, this technology will increase it to 10 per cent or 20 per
cent but it is still protein.


''If it is a crop with vitamin A, it is still the same Vitamin A increased from one per cent to two per
cent
and it still works for the eyes.


''It is the same variety of maize, sorghum, cowpea etc. that you and I know; so, there is no
difference in terms of quality,'' he explained.


Usman noted that the ministry was doing everything within its powers to sensitis
e as many people as
it could in the country. (NAN)


SOG/MOL/NKO