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The country’s food security has been further strengthened with the opening of a new Molecular Biology Laboratory, at the Veterinary Services Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, in Kingston.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Christopher Tufton, who officially opened the laboratory today (April 29), said the facility will help with the “detection of genetic diseases and diseases of an infectious nature, caused by micro-organisms.”
He pointed out that the facility will be used primarily to test livestock, both local and imported, to determine whether there is need for follow-up action. He further informed that the technology at the laboratory is capable of generating test results within hours.
“We could test in the morning and have the results by afternoon, and this is fundamental as part of our surveillance process, if we are to appropriately deal with any imminent threat that may present itself,” he explained.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Christopher Tufton (right), in discussion with Senior Veterinary Biochemist in the Veterinary Services Division, Tricia Fraser, while on tour of the newly opened Molecular Biology Laboratory, on April 29.

The opening of the laboratory coincides with the outbreak of the Swine Influenza in several countries around the world.
The facility is currently staffed with one veterinary biochemist who will soon be joined by other supporting staff. Dr. Tufton said other staff members will also be trained shortly to carry out tests at the facility.
Built and equipped at a cost of $15 million, the facility houses an administrative hub, electrophoretic room, reagent preparation room, transient room, amplification room and a store/panel room.
It was constructed on the recommendation of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation in Agriculture (IICA), which carried out a review of the Veterinary Services Division.

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