A gut feeling about abalone

South African marine biotechnologists have found a way to harness mother nature to improve the artificial existence of farmed abalone, the shellfish delicacy in huge demand in Japanese and Chinese restaurants. Laboratory research at the University of Cape Town is on the brink of providing abalone farmers with a major economic edge in the competitive global industry. Probiotics to the rescue. Good bacteria "It all developed from an academic point of view," explained Dr Vernon Coyne of the Molecular and Cell Biology Department at UCT. "We asked the question - because abalone are grazers,...

DNA patents versus the public interest: The "mozzie" shows the way forward

In the second of this two part series, Dr Ames Dhai tackles the highly topical subject of patenting in biotechnology. In part one, she addressed the threats posed by patenting DNA. This month she shows how research on malaria can show the way forward. Prof. Ames Dhai Scientific and economic progress may be retarded by the current situation regarding DNA patenting and hence, public interest is being undermined. This will obviously have significant implications for the health of developing countries.

SA launches third biotech innovation centre

Cape Biotech, South Africa’s third government-funded Biotechnology Regional Innovation Centre (BRIC) has been launched in the Western Cape, confirming the country’s commitment to biotechnology. Two other BRICs – EcoBIO and BIOPAD – are already operational. Although the BRICs are regionally focused, they are not going to operate independently. There is a process of facilitating collaboration across all BRICs to create a national cohesiveness between all three centres.

Biotechnology - The next wave

Prof TE Cloete, University of Pretoria Biotechnology is very much the buzzword amongst scientists and the public in South Africa. What is biotechnology, where is it headed and why is it important? The South African government has shown its clear intention to keep South Africa on track with biotechnological research and development by allocating R400 million over the next three years towards its biggest ever single research support for biotechnology.

Focus on biopiracy in Africa

Africa stands to lose huge benefits from its biodiversity for lack of legal protection against biopiracy, concluded the Second South-South Biopiracy Summit held last week in Johannesburg during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). "Legislation is required and it is required yesterday," said Nolwazi Gcaba, a South African patent and copyright attorney, referring to her country's legislative vacuum on this matter.


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