JIS News

Jamaica has been using biotechnological discoveries to aid in the island’s research, to manage and use its genetic resources for food security and safety, as well as other commercial agricultural pursuits and environmental care.
According to Dr. Arnoldo Ventura, Senior Adviser on Science and Technology in the Office of the Prime Minister, these technologies, which have also been making considerable impact worldwide, were already impacting the Caribbean region.
Dr. Ventura was speaking recently at the World Federation of Scientific Workers (WFSW) annual forum, which was held in Lisbon, Portugal. He presented a paper titled, ‘Crucial Biotechnological Options for Small Caribbean Islands — The Jamaican Case’. “In a small way, the technologies are contributing to cattle and goat breeding programmes, and are being studied to help with the cataloguing and preservation of biodiversity,” he explained.
Additionally, Dr. Ventura said the technologies had also facilitated diagnosis, crime fighting, treatment of chronic illnesses, production of vaccines, and the prevention of plant and animal diseases.
He pointed out that the biotechnological discoveries made over the last 30 years, “have created fundamental changes in the perception of life, economic possibilities, environmental impacts and social concerns”.
Given the known rewards of the technologies, he said Jamaica had recently made “investments in modernising its main agricultural research station and strengthen an integrated agricultural research effort, in which biotechnologies will play effective roles”.
Dr. Ventura noted that basic research was being pursued in molecular biotechnology, “to ensure that beneficial insights gained in human, animal and plant genomics, which can help on local farms, especially those providing for subsistence agriculture, are not missed”.
Furthermore, he said gene banks were being established to guide work on the many extant breeds and species, to fully characterise them on the molecular level.

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