Information leading to the formation of Bangladesh Association for
Plant tissue Culture & Biotechnology (BAPTC&B):
in Plant Tissue Culture to create interest among related scientists:
In order to create an interest in the fast developing science of
plant tissue culture among plant scientists,
agriculture specialists and policy makers, a few staff
members of the Botany Department, Dhaka University approached the
Bangladesh Agricultural research Council (BARC) for funding
an international conference on various aspects of tissue culture
both from theoretical and practical point of view. Dr. Kazi
Baduruddoza, the then Chairman of this organization bought the idea
and provided adequate funds to organize a workshop in 1981. Selected
scientists from various institutes and universities were
participants. Among instructors were
distinguished tissue culture scientists from all over the
T. A. Thorpe from Canada, Professor M. C. Rush from the USA,
Dr. Deepak Pental from England, Dr. Krishnamurthy from the Fiji Islands, Late Professor YPS
Professor Sipra Guha and Professor S.K. Sen from India, Late
Professor Guzman and Dr. F. Z. Zapata from the Philippines, Dr. Goh from Singapore
and many more. The proceedings were published with a set of
recommendations made by the instructors with the cooperation of
local scientists . The
recommendations were forwarded to the British Council (BC) and other
donor agencies. The response came only from
the BC. They agreed to fund a 3-year exchange programme
between Dhaka – and Nottingham University.
A number of scientists from the Botany Department got trained
in tissue culture techniques in Nottingham University. The Chief
Technician from Nottingham University came for 6 weeks and helped
set up the tissue culture lab in the Botany department, Dhaka
University. In the meantime, the then Cholera Research Laboratory
offered the use of their LAMINAR FLOW facilities to the students of
the Botany Department, Dhaka University. Some Botany students took
advantage of their
generous gesture and completed their thesis work on such areas such
as jute protoplast isolation and their culture. Request was sent to
all general universities as well as to Bangladesh Agriculture
University and research institutes to build their own tissue
in the Science Museum to grow tissue culture-derived orchids:
The S&T Division
awarded a liberal grant for the installation of a greenhouse next to
the science museum in Agargaon in order to house the tissue culture
propagated local and exotic orchids raised in the Botany Department,
D.U. The Science Museum location was deliberately chosen. The
purpose was to spark an
interest among potential entrepreneurs to invest in setting up
tissue culture based low cost industry. The greenhouse was set up in
record time and indeed it created a potential clientele of
Culture Courses at the Graduate Level:
Tissue culture courses were introduced in Botany departments of
almost all general and the agriculture universities. Some staff
members and a few among those who passed out M. Sc. with
specialization in tissue culture, did their advanced degrees of M.
Phil. and Ph.D. from local universities and abroad. The end of
eighties witnessed the growth of a sizeable number of plant
tissue culture scientists.
At this point it, it may be
mentioned that on the request of the British Council, the former ODA
arranged a visit of two British Tissue Culture experts, Dr. K.C.
Shorts and Dr. A. Roberts in 1988 to Bangladesh. They visited tissue
culture laboratories all over the country and saw facilities
and the kind of research program that developed in Bangladesh.
Among other things, they recommended that an association of
tissue culture scientists be formed in Bangladesh to serve the
cause of this emerging science.
of Bangladesh Association for Plant Tissue Culture &
Biotechnology (BAPTC&B). It's
in this backdrop that some tissue culture scientists felt an urgent
need to start a separate organization to promote the growth of
science of tissue culture and run a biannual (six monthly journal) of its own
devoted soley to tissue culture and related science. The society was
formed in spite of some initial opposition as to the
justification of the creation of a separate association, when some
existing biological societies were hard hit due to financial
constraints. The impressive record of past activities, proves
that it was a good decision on the part of founder members to form
the tissue culture association.
of the Society: The Society is regularly publishing
the journal called "Plant Tissue
Culture" in short <PTC>
for the last eleven years ( #1 of
volume 11 is due at the end of June) under the supervision of
an efficient Board of Editors with Professor A. S. Islam as the
Chief Editor. The journal has proved a popular medium for scientists
of the Indian subcontinent, South East and the Middle East countries
to publish their tissue culture related findings.
International Conferences and the 4th one is due in the 1st week of
November : The Society has organized THREE
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES in 1993, 1995 and 1999. In the second
international conference, a joint session of the scientists,
journalists, investors, bankers, entrepreneurs was arranged with
Professor Mohammad Yunus, the Founder and the Managing
Director of "Grameen
Bank" in the chair. The objective of the session was to
create an investment climate to set up tissue culture based industry
in Bangladesh on the pattern of some leading Asian countries like
India, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Nepal etc.
that were earning millions of dollars exporting tissue culture
derived ornamentals in the form of cut flowers and potted plants.
Among participants were big tissue culture magnets from India and
first two conferences created enough momentum for a few interested
parties to consider seriously setting up tissue culture based
industry. Within two years as many as six companies were set up, BRAC
(formerly, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) laboratory being
the largest. One lab was set up in Rajshahi focused mainly on
commercial production of potato microtubers.
1999 Conference went on very well with a large number of
distinguished scientists in the area of plant tissue culture
and related disciplines. One of them was Dr. Mujeeb Kazi from
CIMMYT. The then President of the Association could not attend the
meeting; to mark the occasion he wrote a poem entitled, "Some
Thoughts to Ponder as We Cross over to the 21st Century. "
In a nutshell, the poem describes the programme of BAPTC&B and
the progress it made until March 1999 in the realization of
the Society is organizing the 4th International Conference on the
first through fourth November, 2001. Please see the appropriate
section for further information.
now a member of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and
Biotechnology (ICGEB): Headed
by Dr. Islam, BAPTC&B approached S&T Ministry to apply for
membership of ICGEB.
BAPTC&B soon realized that tissue culture without genetic engineering
has limited uses; so it decided to broaden its scope of activities
by bringing genetic transformation and genetic engineering within
its fold; and hence its decision to
approach S&T in order to obtain financial and technical
help from ICGEB. Bangladesh is already reaping the benefit of
being a member of ICGEB. Bangladesh has been recognized as an
Affiliated Centre of ICGEB and now with its financial assistance and
in collaboration with the Biochemistry Department of Dhaka
University, BAPTC&B is organizing an International workshop on Novel
genetic markers for crop improvement. The organizers of this
workshop are: Dr. Syed Hadiuzzaman (President BAPTC&B and Professor of
Botany, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh), Professor Haseena
Khan (Biochemistry Department University of Dhaka, Bangladesh) and
Glenn Gregorio (IRRI, Philippines).
years back, GoB's nominee, Professor Ahmed Azad elected
to the Council of Scientific Advisors (CSA), ICGEB. Professor
Ahmed A. Azad, is now serving the University of Cape
Town, South Africa, as
the Director of Research, Faculty of Health Science.
CSA is the executive body of ICGEB and indeed it is a great honour
to be elected to this prestigious body among tough competition in
which the world's leading scientists on biotechnology take part.
Professor Azad's capability as one of the world's leading vaccine
biotechnologists and the relentless effort on the part
of BAPTC&B to back up his candidacy with the help of GoB, made
it possible for Professor Azad to be elected to this august
body of CSA.