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KINGSTON — A sum of $8.7 million has been allocated in the 2011/12 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives, to continue work on the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce’s Plant Breeding and Diagnostics Technologies project.

With funding from the Government of Jamaica and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the main objectives of the projects are: to establish plant diagnostics and plant breeding facilities in Jamaica; and set protocols for induced mutations, selection of and advancing mutant lines/clones with farmer specific traits.

As at February 2011, achievements include: construction of greenhouse for post irradiation; rehabilitation of existing greenhouse at Bodles, St. Catherine; receipt of electrophoresis power supply, auto-pipette tips, racks, ice buckets, tissue culture instruments, and laboratory supplies from the IAEA; while two local scientists participated in a five-day symposium in Austria in 2008.

The allocation for the financial year will go towards the screening and selection of the most tolerant mutant lines and transfer of selected mutants to Bodles Research Station; continued hardening of mutant lines of yam and ginger, multiplication of yam and ginger plantlets and selection and multiplication of selected lines; and the provision of fellowship for two officers to receive training at an overseas facility.

Implemented in February 2007, the project, which is being carried out by the Scientific Research Council, is slated for completion in March 2012.

                                                       

By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter