Awareness on Gene Editing Key to Avoiding Abuse - Ministry

Awareness on Gene Editing Key to Avoiding Abuse - Ministry

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change says there is a need for policy makers and regulators to be familiar with the country's guidelines on how to regulate genome editing technologies and their products to prevent possible abuse.

Principal Secretary for Administration in the Ministry James Ali said familiarizing with the country's regulatory frameworks as well as learning best practices from other countries where genome edited products have been adopted is very critical as the country considers adopting technologies to address challenges in the agriculture sector.

He said this is also crucial for people's safety and promotion of biodiversity.

Ali was speaking in Lilongwe at the opening of a two-day training for policy makers and regulators on the potential application of genome editing.

The training brought together policy makers and regulators that are key in providing safeguards and enabling the environment towards the development and commercialization of genome editing products in Malawi.

Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources Vice Chancellor Professor Emmanuel Kaunda said genome editing has the potential to develop and transform Malawi.

He said the decision by AUDA-NEPAD to choose Malawi to be among eight countries in Africa to participate in the capacity building project on genome editing is beneficial as the university has already made advances in that aspect.

Dr Abel Sefasi, biotechnology lecturer at LUANAR said familiarisation of genome editing will help end misconceptions on the technology.

Dr Sefasi, who is a champion of biotechnology in Africa, said some of the problems that the country is facing in agriculture and health can be addressed through technologies such as genome editing

“Meetings of this nature help to increase awareness on genome editing technologies. These have the potential to solve problems that we face as a nation,” said Dr Sefasi.

Genome editing has been identified as a new tool with recognized potential to improve agricultural productivity, food security, nutrition, and health.

It involves deliberate alteration of a genetic material of a living organism by inserting, replacing or deleting a DNA sequence with the aim of improving some characteristics of a crop or farm animal or correcting a genetic order.

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Last modified on Thursday, 29/02/2024

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