JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, is underscoring the importance of DNA fingerprinting in ensuring the sustainability of the agriculture sector in the Caribbean and Latin America.
  • DNA fingerprinting of plants and animals is performed for food security, food safety, identification and parentage.
  • She said performing the scientific technique is necessary for providing certain information about plants, such as ideal conditions for growth.

Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, is underscoring the importance of DNA fingerprinting in ensuring the sustainability of the agriculture sector in the Caribbean and Latin America.

He said the “scientific architecture” is a useful method in verifying the herbal origins and medical uses of certain plants and in the identification of various plant species.

It is also valuable, he pointed out, because of its relevance to plant genomics, breeding and the preservation of biodiversity.

“I believe that Jamaica and the wider region are ready for this intervention and investment. We have the natural resources at our disposal,” the Minister said, noting that Jamaica is ranked fifth in the world in terms of biodiversity.

Dr. Wheatley was delivering remarks at the opening ceremony of the 2016 United Nations University Biotechnology Programme symposium and training workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNU-BIOLAC) held recently at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

DNA fingerprinting is a scientific method used to identify genetic information. In plants, it involves the application of molecular marker techniques to identify cultivars, which are plants that have been propagated vegetatively, for example from stem cuttings rather than from seed.

DNA fingerprinting of plants and animals is performed for food security, food safety, identification and parentage.

The biotechnology symposium and training workshop, under the theme: ‘DNA Fingerprinting of Plants: Approaches, Applications and Relevance to the Agricultural Sector in the Caribbean and Latin America,’ was held over five days at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus.

It attracted participants from various countries within the region and featured expert presentations on DNA Fingerprinting and examined approaches to crop improvements, among other concepts.

Project Chairperson and Executive Director of the Biotechnology Centre at UWI, Professor Helen Asemota, said DNA Fingerprinting is important for, among other things, crop improvement.

She said performing the scientific technique is necessary for providing certain information about plants, such as ideal conditions for growth.
Dr. Wheatley encouraged the participants to make use of the knowledge gained to boost agriculture throughout the region.