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Recent News

Epigenomic changes in plant cell cultures  by Hyper- & hypo- Methylation and RNA interference
Dhaka 08th January, ’09. Plant biologists have long known that regenerants from plant cell cultures show heritable changes known as somaclonal variation. This poses a significant challenge towards effective utilization of tissue culture techniques, if the objective is intended to mass-propagate true-to-progeny population. In a research article published in December 2008 issue of PLOS Biology, Milos Tanurdzic et al. (PLoS Biol 6(12): e302)  reported epigenomic consequences of long term plant cell cultures. The group investigated the abundance of histone and DNA methylation. Their analyses have revealed that heterochromatin and euchromatin become respectively hypomethylated and hypermethylated. It is already known that hypomethylation of both DNA and histone is associated with transcriptional activation and hypermethylation with silencing. Thus, silent chromosomal region become activated and vice versa. This is similar to what is observed in cancer cells and animal cell culture lines. Their analyses have also revealed that reactivated transposable elements (TE, from heterochromatin) express predominantly 21-nucleotide (nt) long small RNAs (sRNA). On the contrary, in the inactivated portions, TE’s show 24-nt long sRNA expression. This change in predominant sRNA type is suggestive of the role of RNA interference machinery in epigenetic remodelling of plant cell culture. Summarized by Mahdi Moosa, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology, DU.

New Website Launched by Prof. Seraj’s Plant Biotech Lab
Design: Ms Sabrina Elias

Dhaka 7th Dec.,09. Launched by one of  Prof. Zeba Seraj’s students, Ms. Sabrina Elias, the website is user-friendly and spectacular  even for a University Department, what to talk of a laboratory of a Department. It’ a dynamic its banner displaying one after another,  various stages of molecular breeding of rice starting from DNA extraction, band separation by means of electrophoresis, the power pack, four N-bases C, T, A, and G in four different peaks as they are seen in the graph of a DNA sequence analyzer indicating the sequence of these bases,  rice seedlings in an experimental saline soil. None among research students, technicians and lab attendants has been left out in the website with individual details supported by a picture and relevant data and finally the 15-member team in a group photo together with photo gallery showing visits by foreign scientists, Dr. Pamela Ronald and Dr Dave Mackill  and the convocation picture of two Ph.D. awardees, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Noorain Rasul with the supervisor. E-mail address of each member is provided with an account of his/her research activity. It gives a list of 10 research projects with a short description supported by research publications under that project. In short it’s a website, which ranks  in my opinion  as one of the best in the academic world. Ms Elias, who is also a GNOBB member, deserves our highest degree of appreciation for the gift of such a wonderful user-friendly website to the community. View it pl. _______________
Prof. Haseena Khan,  Keynote Speaker at Genetics Soc. Seminar at SUST
Dhaka, 5th Jan., ’09. On behalf of the Department of Genetics, Shahjalal University of Science & Technology (SUST), Sylhet, its affiliated Genetic Society is organizing a seminar on a world’s most talked about biological science topic, "EPIGENETICS". Professor Haseena Khan, at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Dhaka will be the keynote speaker at the function in the historic city of the saint Shah Jalal. The title of Prof. Khan’s talk is,  "Epigenetics: New findings regulating gene expression".

Dr. Kamal Chowdhury Speaks at Intl. Conf. Material Sci., Nanotech & Biotech

Dhaka the 31st Dec.’08. BAPTC&B heartily congratulate,  Dr. Kamal Chowdhury for being invited  to make an oral presentation and also  chair a session at the first International Conference on Material Science, Nanotechnology and Biotechnology (MNB09) in Cairo, Egypt from January 4-6. The tile of his talk is: Anti-malarial Vaccine Development: Challenges and Opportunities.  During his stay there, he will also speak at Cairo University and Helwan University in Cairo.

Bangladeshi Population now at the World Y-Chromosome Database
Dhaka, 4th Jan.'08.Professor Sharif Akhteruzzaman  at  the Dept of Biochemistry & Mol. Biol. DU currently serving Dhaka Medical College  as National Technical Advisor National Forensic DNA Pofiling Laboratory writes to Prof.  Harun Yusuf  informing the community that the Y-Chromosome Haplotype data of Bangladeshi population submitted by them to an  international database, namely, Y-Chromosome Haplotype Reference Database (YHRD). has been accepted and now being displayed in their database. Pl read below the excerpt of that letter.  BAPTC&B members, while sharing this great news like to congratulate  from their core of their hearts Professor Zaman and his research associates, Messrs Shafiul Alam, Ahamad Ferdous, Eunus Ali, Tania Hossain and Mahamud Hasan for bringing this very important information into the international database YHRD  of the biotech World.  Click here to read the whole letter.

Young BB writes about conditions of our research on the Global Scenario
Dhaka 12th Dec., 08. Out of  a number of letters addressed to Young  YAHOO Group of  Bangladeshi Biotechnologists, GNOBB has chosen one which reflects a profound  sense of frustration  the young scientists are suffering from and a deep-rooted  urge to develop this discipline in the country. Although ,not explicit, the hidden meaning of the letter is that provided adequate facilities for research are created in the country they would love to serve the country and NOT leave the motherland permanently to work in a foreign country.  Pl. read the edited version of the letter ....and help to settle the minds of these young scientists inspired by patriotic feelings with your reply. GNOBB will be happy to post your answers.

Development of events following the recently concluded symposium
Dhaka, 9th Dec., 08.
Thinking that at east some of you would be interested to know the development of events following

the recently concluded symposium, I am  sharing two  imp. messages: the first is from  Distinguished Prof. Dr. Ananda

Chakrabarty and the second from Dr. Abu Siddiqui, (a Sr. Res. Scientist at Johnson & Johnson Pennsylvania), who is

not only an expert in some of the fields discussed in the symposium but has offered his help in teaching these courses

every year during his visit to BD.

Prof. Ananda says that we need to have a dedicated and powerful political leader of the
stature of Mrs. Indira Gandhi to take

interest and support our cause to build up and strengthen the industrial and economic base of BD.

He regrets that  “no politician has shown this type of interest and dedication to help develop new technologies in BD.” We did

have a DU Prof-cum-politician in the Ministry of S&T. Unfortunately, he failed miserably because he was not dedicated and his

interest in S&T was diluted and divided between the scientific progress of the country and his own personal agenda. May I

appeal to BAPTC&B members to suggest modus operandi as to how BAS may be persuaded to  “actively work to elect only

those politicians who have made firm commitments to promote S&T in  BD.” More....

Have we reached a Point of No Return from Reaching Our Goal toward Development of S&T?

Dhaka 6th Dec, 08 When there was an unexpected turnout of both non-resident Bangladeshis and local biotechnologists in the April 2007 International Biotech Conference held at ICDDR,B, our hope  as rekindled thinking this time the bureaucrats would consider the recommendations prepared by  the panel of experts selected from the participants.  Based on the consensus, the panel critically  evaluated the National Biotech Policy and made its recommendations to bring the BD National Biotech policy in line with those followed in developed and advanced developing countries. The document was submitted individually to the advisers of four Ministries: S&T, Agriculture, health and forestry.


As you may recall one of the major recommendations was the creation of the National Commission  of Biotechnology  (NCBT) with full autonomy under the PM’s Secretariat and establishment of  Public-Private partnership in order to provide adequate salaries to highly qualified NRB’s to the posts of the Director of the National Institute of Biotechnology, Heads and Principal Scientific Officers of six divisions and sufficient funding allowing researchers to carry out the approved projects uninterrupted and  without hindrance.  Pl sacrifice a few moments of your valuable time in this sacred month of pilgrimage which demands our sacrifice which may spend  in suggesting ways and means to transform the NIB into a dynamic vibrant institute so that its quality of its research and the fruits of the results emanating from it reach the common man through commercialization. Pl. click here to read more


Computational and Comparative Genomics Training Course at CSHL
Dhaka 3rd Nov., '08.  A week long training course on, “Computational and Comparative Genomics”  will be held at  the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), NY, USA from Nov 5- 11, 2008.  CSHL is a pioneer institute to promote teaching and research
in molecular genetics including genomics on a global level and periodically arranges training courses with the assistance of world class scientists in genetics and related science.

The course is designed for biologists seeking advanced training in biological sequence analysis, computational biology core resource directors and staff, and for scientists in other disciplines, such as computer science, who wish to survey current research problems in biological sequence analysis. The primary focus of the Computational Genomics course is the theory and practice of algorithms used in computational biology, with the goal of using current methods more effectively and developing new algorithms. Anyone interested to attend this course next year must apply within July next year. A limited No. of Scholarships that cover only tuition fees and local hospitality are available.  More ..

On Line Submission of Articles to the BAPTC&B Journal
Dhaka, Nov. 1st ,’08. From now on prospective contributors to the BAPTC&B Journal  may submit their articles on line. This feature to be found on the left hand column at the bottom on the Association’s Homepage ( will encourage plant tissue culturists and biotechnologists of the Indian subcontinent and those from local and NRBs to consider making this journal earn further distinction in the international arena.  Now that this added feature of online submission has been introduced, The Management of the Journal hope that the well wishers and regular contributors will take its advantage. Any article as soon as it comes back from the reviewers will appear online allowing the authors to get their findings published immediately after its acceptance throughout the whole year. Make this journal your journal - the only one that is published regularly in BD for over 17 years. 

You will have an idea the number of viewers who surf the website ( by scrolling the homepage of BAPTC&B down to the bottom of the page and clicking the word ‘Visitor’.  Last March the last 100 visitors were from the following countries: Algeria, Benin,  Nto be found at the homeigeria,  Tunisia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, Finland,  Romania, Sweden, Poland, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Papua New Guinea, France, Germany, Ukraine,  Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, India (Delhi, Gujrat, Karnataka, Chennai, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Raipur, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh), California, Georgia, Texas, Mexico, Saskatchewan, Ontario,  Dundee, Oxford, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Japan, multiple regions  including Jakarta from Indonesia, Queensland (Australia), New Zealand.
Creditable Achievement of BD Scientists: New Rice Varieties Mitigate Monga
Dhaka 29th Oct., 08. Monga (near-famine situation) is a seasonal food insecurity affecting poor farmers in ecologically vulnerable areas of North-West Bangladesh (Rangpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha and Nilphamari districts), primarily caused by unemployment and lack of income preceding the aman harvest in the Bangla months of Ashwin and Kartik (mid-September to mid-November).

Monga’ will soon be relegated to the page of the history because of the outstanding achievements made by BRRI and BAU scientists in developing the three new rice varieties, namely,  BRRI Dhan-33, BINA Dhan-7 and BU Dhan-1.   These three varieties released recently, can be harvested during Monga period creating job opportunities for agricultural workers. This may also benefit the farmers doubly – a) lower production cost and (b) better sale price in the off-season, (cf. lower  sale price during the peak harvest season of Aman  in November-December). In addition, this will ensure continuous food security by early cultivation of vegetables and robi crops followed by planting of  boro rice immediately after harvest of  the new rice varieties. Please click here to read more.

Annual general Meeting BAPTC&B to be held on the First of December 

Dhaka,30th Oct.,08. The Executive Committee of BAPTC&B, in a meeting held on the 30th of October have decided to hold their one-day along Annual General Meeting on the 1st of December, The proposal made by Prof. A. S. Islam to honor Prof. Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty and Prof. Kalyan Das for their outstanding contributions to the field of Biotechnology by conferring on them honorary Fellowship of the Association was not accepted by the EC on the ground that it requires prior approval by the AGM and that there are many more Plant biotechnologists such as Professor E.C. Cocking,  Dr. H. C Chaturvedi, Professor S.S. Bhojwani who deserve this honor before anyone else is considered because of their close association with the plant tissue culture groups of Bangladesh. Since its birth in 1990, none has so far received honorary fellowship of the Association. 

Need of the Day: Quality Textbooks for School Students

Dhaka, the 8th Oct., '08. In a brief article published on the 5th of October in The Daily Star, the Moderator has brought to the attention of  concerned authority including The Textbook Board  of the dire need of publishing science books of high quality, suggesting that local experts be hired and stationed at a holiday workplace with the mandate that their assigned job is to finish writing text books for elementary classes within a period of 2-3 months. For this difficult assignment they should be given sufficient logistic support as well as decent honorarium. 

The American scientists did exactly that job in early sixty's by bringing out yellow, green and blue; i.e., three versions of biology and science books in two other major disciplines for high school students. All the three versions were welcomed through the academic world as something extraordinary to raise the level of standard as much as the contents were modernized to keep up with the advancement of science in physics, chemistry and biology. Read the letter.
Human genomic variation studies in Four Developing Countries for stimulating  economic growth.
Dhaka 28th Sept., '08. GNOBB member, Prof. Naiyyum Choudhury has brought to the attention of members a series articles published in a special supplement of the October issue of Nature Reviews Genetics.  The articles highlight the human genomic variation studies  of Mexico, India, Thailand and South Africa with the object of stimulating  economic growth and local health benefits. GNOBB  sincerely hope that these articles in turn will prompt the policymakers in Bangladesh to initiate similar activity in the country. Read the contents of the letter.

University and Politics in the Daily Star
Dhaka, 26th Sept.,08.A letter to the Editor under the title, University and Politics, by the Moderator has been published in the Daily Star in its 10th Sept. Edition. It highlights the principal causes that have led to the fall of standard in both education and research in the highest seats of Learning in the country, namely, universities. The article suggests ways and means how to restore the lost glory of some some universities which was once the pride of the Indian subcontinent.
Congratulations to AA Sajib and Associates for their recent publications

Dhaka, 26th Sept.,’08. GNOBB feel extremely happy to announce the following two publications. In the first publication,  Mr Sajib  is the first author. He has recently joined GEB, DU as a lecturer. The details are given below. We wish him a brilliant future.

  1. Abu Ashfaqur Sajib, Md Shahidul Islam, Md. Shamim Reza, Arpita Bhowmik, Layla Fatema, Haseena Khan (2008) Tissue Culture independent transformation for Corchorus olitorius . Plant Cell Tiss & Organ Cult. DOI10.1007/s 11240-008-944-0.
  2. Jesmin Akter, Md. Shahidul Islam, Abu Ashfaqur Sajib, Nadim Ashraf, Samiul Haque, Haseena Khan (2008) Microsatellite markers for determining genetic identities and genetic diversity among jute cultivars. Australian J Crop Sci. 1(3):97-107.


Prof. M. Alam, 
Papaya Genomic Sequence Paper  by 85 Scientists  under the Leadership of Professor Maqsudul Alam has been published today,  the 24th April Issue of Nature 

Austin, 24th April, '08. The paper entitled, "The draft genome of the transgenic tropical fruit tree papaya (Carica papaya Linnaeus)" by  Prof. Maqsudul Alam and 84 Associates has featured in the 24th July edition of Nature,  including a cover page photograph of transgenic papaya plantation, Prof. Alam’s interview with the editor of Nature (452: 991-996) and the most recent press release by Advanced Studies in Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics (ASGPB). GNOBB congratulate him and coworkers from the bottom of their hearts  on this outstanding feat. GNOBB members have no doubt in their mind that Prof. Alam will guide the biotechnologists in general and young scientists of  Bangladesh in particular to put the country's in the forefront of Molecular Biology. 
The Current Issue of Science devotes a section to Plant Genomes and Biotechnology  
Austin, 26th April, ’06. The GNOBB members either interested or involved in plant genomes and GM crops research will find it interesting to glance through the special section  on, “Green Genes” published  in the 25th April’s edition of Science. The section contains 16 articles on multiple areas of biotechnology and evolution of plant genomes. Most of the information given here is already known but scattered in a wide variety of literature. Thus, this section, written by experts is unique as it covers almost all areas concerning plant genomes and their application in plant improvement.   More see the list of articles and their summaries.
Opening of New Vista in the Genomic World: Genomic Sequence of James Watson  
Austin 16th April, '08.The 17th April issue of Nature publishes a mind boggling article captioned, “The complete genome of an individual by massively parallel DNA". 

  • It took two months to complete the sequence of the legendary figure, James D. Watson. 

  • Using picoliter-size reaction vessels, massively parallel sequencing method was followed. 

  • The redundancy was 7.4 fold.

  • As compared to US$ 100 million, the current method using 454 technology was only  US$ one million.  

  • 3.3 million single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified. Instances of amino-acid substitution within the coding sequence were found to be 10,654.  

  • The number of small-scale base pair (bp) insertions and deletion polymorphisms varied from 2–40,000, while the variation in the large scale gain and loss of chromosomal segments was in the range from 26,000 to 1.5 million bp.

  • The results obtained in this method which is astonishingly faster and 100 times cheaper are in agreement with those reported by traditional methods.  

  • Compared to random shotgun sequencing method in which bacterial cloning is used, there is no arbitrary loss of genomic sequences in the second generation technology because the amplification of DNA occurs in a cell-free system.

    The authors describe  their results which is first of its kind to be, “a pilot for the future challenges of 'personalized genome sequencing,'
    $1000  for Sequencing  a Human Genome  within Foreseeable Future
    Austin ,  April 19th, 08. According to MIT Technological Review published on the 17th,  the current cost,  quoted by Applied Biosystems, of sequencing a human genome is  roughly $60,000, requiring about six weeks  to complete it. Now some research groups  hope that they will be able to cut down the cost further to a  mere $1,000  per genome within the next three years. The race in cutting down the cost continues; by means of a novel approach two companies, Complete Genomics and BioNanomatrix, based at CA, are collaborating to sequence an individual genome for only $ 100  in an unbelievably short time i.e., in a single day. Such high-throughput approach will allow every individual to get their genome sequenced leading us to the era of personalized medicine. Read more ..

    Comments  From Eight Members about Intl Funding. Isn't It Amazing? 
    Austin 15th April, '08. GNOBB feel exceedingly happy,  proud and also amazed  that shortly since the posting of the above news, as many as six  Forum members have offered their constructive comments in spite of their extremely busy schedule. These gestures portend a bright future of biotechnology for BD. Such activity on the part of biotech community will awaken all stake holders - policy makers, administrators, industrialists and news media to do their part in harnessing the power of biotech for the economic  benefit of the country. Here are the comments retrievable by only one click on their names in blue fonts: 

    Dr. Parvez Haris, Dr. Zaheed Hussain, Dr. Hemayet Ullah, Prof. Zeba I. Seraj, Dr. Abidur Rahman, Dr. Abed Choudhury. Dr. Parvez Haris (second letter), Prof. Ahmed Azad.

    Dr. Shah Md. Faruque's original letter has generated a lot of stimulating and thought-provoking discussion among GNOBB members, not hitherto seen since its birth a little more than three years ago. Here are Dr. Faruque's remarks in reply to comments so far received (see the above comments  to refresh your memory by pressing the individual names in blue fonts.) In order for Bangladeshi scientists to apply for a foreign grant related to infectious diseases, he requested GNOBB to post the announcement in its website. So here it is including the link to obtain detailed information about this funding source.

    Addenda: Professor Ahmed Azad enriches the ongoing discussion on International Funding with his valuable experience on this issue. Pl. read the letter which he begins by congratulating Prof. Maqsudul Alam on the outstanding achievement of himself and his team on unraveling the genetically modified papaya genome.

Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology Conference Concludes
Austin 13th April, '08. After three days of deliberations, the BAPTC&B organized Conference on Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology concluded on a note on confidence that the objective of the Association to harness the fruits of biotechnology is on its way to fulfillment, at the same time realizing that there is a long way to go before the dream of the biotech community is fully realized. Considering the short time, the Association had at its disposal to organize the conference, it was a big success. Thanks to Prof. M. Imdadul Hoque and Prof. Rakha Hari Sarker (DU) and their associates. Never before the Association was fortunate to have four NRB's available to enrich the PTC&B deliberations of which two were plenary lectures.  Please click here to see the report of the Organizing Secretary, Professor M. Imdadul Hoque on the conference. To see the list of award winners for top four poster presentations click here. The second prize went to Bose Institute, Kolkata, while the remaining were shared by the Dhaka University- (first prize), DU- and Islamic University, Kusthia students (third prize), respectively. GNOBB want to express their gratefulness to Dr. Abul Hussam for providing funds making it possible to award the prizes. The recommendations of the conference will be posted here as soon as they are available. Let us work together united to implement the resolutions adopted to build up better Bangladesh. Please click here for more information. 
The salient points emphasized by Dr. Md. Abdur Razzaque, Executive Chairman, BARC, on the theme of the Conference were the opportunities and hindrances that stand in the way of utilizing agricultural biotechnology in BD.  He also traced the history and development of commercial production of Tissue Culture derived diversified crops and horticultural plants and compared the global status of transgenic crop cultivation vis-a-vis the scenario that currently exists in Bangladesh. He also discussed about the roles to be played by different regulatory bodies such as National Committee on Biosafety (NCB), The Biosafety Core Committee (BCC) and The Field Level Biosafety Committee (BFC) stressing the urgency that these committees should be fully operational in order to ensure genetically modified crops such as Bt brinjal, golden rice that will be released after containment trial will be safe and not present any health hazard to the public.

[Pl. read comments from one young scientist from Bose Istitute, Calcutta about the conference.] 
Seated from left: Prof. Dr. M. Imdadul Hoque, Secretary, Organizing Committee, PTC&B Conference, Prof. Dr. M. Anwar Hossain, Dean, Faculty of Biological  Sciences, Dhaka University; Prof. Dr. Nazrul Islam, Chairman, University Grants Commission; Dr. Md. Al-Amin, Vice- President, BAPTC&B; and Dr. Md. Abdur Razzaque, Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council.


Second Day of the PTC&B Conference 
Austin 12th April, '08. The second day of the conference was equally eventful. It was the day of Professor Ahmed Azad, TWAS Research Professor and Professor Professor Swapan Kumar Datta now at Calcutta University. While the keynote speech by Prof. Azad  was on, "Fostering of Sustainable Development  in Bangladesh by Strengthening Molecular Biosciences Research Capacity and the Establishment of a Research-driven Pharmaceutical Industry", the topic of the lecture by Prof. Datta was on, "On Designer Plant for Drug Discovery and  Human Welfare." Another notable speaker was  Dr. Nasim Begum Mila from Tokushima University Japan. The topic of her presentation was, "Expression of peroxisome proliferator-activator receptor gamma and the growth  inhibitory effect of its synthetic ligands in human salivary gland cancer lines." There were two scientific sessions, one on "Plant Transformation: Status and Prospect of Transgenic Crops in Developing  Countries," and the other was on, "Biosafety and Public Acceptance of Genetically Modified Plants."  One of the presentations was on legume transformation by Dr. Fahmi Hassan, a postdoctoral fellow from Prof. Jacobsen's lab, at Hanover University, Germany. The day's last  scientific session was on, "Progress and Prospect of Commercialization of in vitro plants and Value-added Products."

First Day of the Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology ConferenceAustin, April 11. The BAPTC&B organized Austin 11th April, '08. The BAPTC&B organized Conference on Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology was held as per schedule in the Department of Botany, Dhaka University . The conference drew an impressive gathering comprising delegates and intellectuals from major public and private educational and research institutions of the country as well as distinguished NRB's from Australia , Japan and USA . Former Chief Plant Biotechnologist & Rice Breeder, IRRI, Professor Swapan Kumar Datta, credited for evolving indica version of Golden rice  as well as a few other scientists from India also graced the occasion. The conference was inaugurated by Professor Nazrul Islam, Chairman, The University  Grants Commission. The conference highlights were three plenary lectures: Professor Abed Chaudhury, an NRB from CSIRO, Australia spoke on, "Plant Breeding Systems for Increasing Agricultural Productivity." The topic of  the first plenary lecture  by Dr. Zaheed Husain at the Immune Disease Institute, Harvard Medical School was on, “Molecular Targeting and Drug Discovery in the post-Genomic Era”, while that of the third plenary by Dr. M. C. Kharkwal at the Indian Agricultural Res. Institute  was on, “Mutation Breeding and Food Security: Achievements and Prospects.” The new concept and strategy elaborated by Dr. Chaudhury  for increasing agricultural productivity provided food for thought. The first scientific session on, “Production and conservation of medicinal, horticultural, ornamental timber and other cash crops through in vitro techniques” was chaired by Professor T. B. Jha at the Presidency College , Kolkata. The poster session covering a wide variety of areas of biotechnology was inaugurated by Professor Ahmed Azad, an NRB from Australia . The names of the prize owners will be announced on the concluding day, the 13th of April.

Future of Biotechnology in Bangladesh

Austin, April 10, '08. On the occasion of Plant Tissue Cult. Biotech conference starting  tomorrow the 11th, an article captioned, "Future of Biotechnology in Bangladesh" has been generated  compiling important information from the birth of the Bangladesh Association for Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology to its present status. It will be highly appreciated if BAPTC&B members and sympathizers  or anyone interested in the development of plant biotechnology offer their comments adding, modifying or making suggestions for further improvement of this fast developing of this mindbogling science of the 21st Century. Read the story by clicking here.  Read the Comments received from Dr. Parvez Haris.

Preparations for Plant Tissue Cult. Biotech Conference  Near Completion
Austin, April 5, '08. All preparations for the upcoming Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology Conference from April 11 through 13, are almost ready requiring only last minute finishing touches. Among the celebrities who are delivering plenary lectures are: Professor Swapan K. Datta now in Calcutta University, Dr. Abed Chaudhury, CSIRO, Australia; Professor Ahmed Azad, Professor of Medical Biotechnology, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Dr. Zaheed Hussain, Harvard Medical School, Boston. Dr. M.C. Kharkwal, Principal Scientist, IARI; Professor T. B. Jha from Presidency College Kolkata; Nasima Begum Mila from  Tokushima University, Japan are also invited guest speakers talking on some exciting areas of biotechnology. Professor Nazrul Islam, Chairman University Grants Commission will inaugurate the conference as the Chief Guest, while Professor SMA Faiz, VC, Dhaka University will grace the occasion as a special guest. The Keynote address in the inaugural session will be delivered by Dr. Md. Abdur Razzaque, Executive Chairman BARC. Read the Program by clicking here.
Top 100 Living Contributors to Biotechnology – Results of a Recently Conducted Poll
Austin April 3, ’08. Young biotechnologists often wonder about the great men at work whose extremely productive research took biotechnology to a level, never witnessed in human history. The latest development started in late 70’s of the past century - thanks to the ingenious and original work of a few dedicated scientists gifted with vision and innovativeness in the multitude of fields, namely, medicine, agriculture, bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics. Their unique scientific adventures backed by equally robust visionaries in legislation and business  have made it possible to open up a vista in the establishment of the biotech industry for the welfare of the planet, not known heretofore. To honor these pioneers, Reed Exhibitions (a Division of Reed Elsevier) conducted a poll (their peers forming the electoral roll) to select the Top 100 Living Contributors to Biotechnology.  The results of this poll have been published in the form of a brochure. GNOBB join with Reed Exhibitions in expressing their whole hearted appreciation to the Top 100 Contributors and also those not mentioned in the brochure for their outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of biotechnology. The brochure is only a click away from the readers. 

Prof. Ahmed Azad, Abed Chaudhury and Dr. Zaheed Husain Attending the PTC and Biotech Conference at Dhaka
March 17, ’08. According to the information reaching the Moderator, Professor Ahmed Azad will be attending the Plant Tissue Culture & Biotech to be held from 11 through 13 April. An invitation extended to him by the United Nations University  to participate in the Framework Setting Dialogue on "Governing Science in Developing Countries" to be held in KL on April 7 and 8, has made it possible for him to come to Dhaka for the conference. The topic of his presentation will be announced as soon as it is finalized by the Program Committee of the Conference. BAPTC&B and GNOBB  heartily welcome him and appreciate the gesture of Professor Azad who would be coming to Dhaka on his own from KL to promote the cause of biotechnology in BD. Dr. Abed Chaudhury and Dr. Zaheed Husain will also be guest speakers at the conference.

Dr. Zaheed Husain will talk on, Biotechnology Research in the Post-Genomic World. Dr. Husain is now in Malaysia as a  Visiting Researcher, IBS, University Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.

Posters of Young BB at the PTC&B Conference to be Evaluated: Prizes Offered by Dr. Abul Hussam
Austin March 10, '08. The reputed Bangladeshi chemist , Dr. Abul Hussam, who won a million dollar prize for his innovative discovery of arsenic filter,  has offered prizes for the best posters to be put up tin the forthcoming Tissue Culture Conference to be held  in Dhaka from 11th through 13th April. The Plant Tissue Culture and Biotech Community of Bangladesh  express their profound sense of gratitude to this generous gesture of Dr. Hussam. We hope that Young BB will take this opportunity   to come up with  unique posters expressing their innovative ideas and bag the prizes.

Proceedings of  the Intl. Jute Symposium held in Kolkata are available now
Austin March 19, ’08. Proceedings of the Intl. Symposium on Jute and Allied Fibers: Agriculture, Utilization and Marketing held in Kolkata January 9-12 have just been published by its organizers. Among the recommendations, the panelists recommended with one voice that the erstwhile International Jute Organization (IJO) should be revived forthwith to regain confidence of jute importing countries and providing them with quality diversified-jute-products. A program need to be worked out to balance supply and demand of jute and allied fibers and their products by integrating different stakeholders: production, processing, marketing and consumers as an end-to-end system. Standards for quality assessment of diversified jute products like geo-textiles, other technical textiles, non-woven etc. in relation to their end use need to be clearly defined and strictly adhered to for satisfying the international market. An international initiative for jute genome research needs to be initiated immediately with the objective of quality improvement including conservation, characterization and genotyping, involving all countries where jute genomic research is carried out. Read the two relevant documents in   PDF format by clicking here for Proceedings and here for Jute Genomics.
Effect of  Gene Silencing without changing Nutritional Input on Honeybees
Austin March 28, 08. In an article captioned, "Nutritional Control of Reproductive Status in Honey- bees, via DNA Methylation,”  published in the 28th March edition of Science, vol. 319:1827-30,  
R. Kucharski, J. Maleszka,  S. Foret and  R. Maleszka  have shown that adult honeybees can be 
induced to develop into
queens with fully developed ovaries by silencing the expression of DNA 
methyltransferase Dnmt3.  Their findings reveal that in honeybees (Apis mellifera)), it is 
possible to direct the development of an individual of the same genetic makeup into a honeybee by 
DNA methyltransferase (Dnmt3),  which stores epigenetic information.  The above authors
have shown that the information as encoded by DNA blueprint can be altered by gene silencing that
mimicked the effects of royal jelly on the development of larva from its early stages. When Dnmt3 
expression was reduced, the effect was dramatic.  Even in the absence of royal jelly, larvae developed 
into queens rather than into workers i.e.,  almost the same effect was observed as if newly hatched
larvae  were fed with royal jelly.

Hybrid rice cultivation  in Bangladesh  is on the increase by app. 100 per cent  
Austin 23rd March, ’08.  Thanks to the effort of the Government that rice farmers have grown hybrid rice in the ‘boro’ season  in over seven lakh hectares compared to 3.9 lakh ha last year. Farmers were motivated to grow more rice to ensure food security and to face the challenge of food shortage in the wake of devastating twin flood and the cyclone ‘Sidr’.  Hybrid rice is one good example as to how biotech helps us in enhancing production of  staple food crops such as rice during the time of emergency when food is needed most.

The yield of hybrid rice such as Hira, Aloron, Jagoron, Sonar Bangla and Moina, is 20-30% higher than HYV’s, input of fertilizers and other practices remaining the same, initially under the supervision and management of rice hybrid experts.  Read More…


Scholarships are Available to do MS at BRAC University
Austin March 23, ’08.
MS in biotechnology, awarded by BRAC University has been designed to turn out skilled manpower for both teaching positions in educational institutions and to fill up vacancies in biotech- and  pharmaceutical-related industries in both private and public sectors of the country. Since MS degree in Biotech from BRACU is highly valued abroad, it will serve as a passport for you to do a higher degree including a Ph.D. both abroad and at home or even build up in you enough confidence to start your own entrepreneurship. Click here to read details about the announcement including the deadline to submit applications.
University and Politics
Austin March 27, ’08. It is a matter of opinion whether to post in the BAPTC&B website the attached reply in response to a letter captioned, "University and Politics" published in the Daily Star (DS) in  "the letters to the Editor" section, since the subject matter does not strictly fall within the purview of the objectives of the Association. However, the development and nurturing of science and technology in the country depends upon revival of conducive academic atmosphere in universities and its strict adherence in letter and spirit, when democracy returns. It is in this backdrop that the hyper-linked reply has been sent to DS for publication with the hope that the current regime will carefully consider the suggestions contained therein and take steps to keep the standard of BD Universities at par with those of the region. If you agree with the opinion in principle, pl endorse it with additional points. Here is the letter.
Prof. Maqsudul Alam had a Busy Schedule during his Stopover in Dhaka 
Austin March 19, ’08.  As the Guest  speaker at the Second Congress of the Yahoo Group of Young Biotechnologists Professor Maqsudul Alam made a special presentation today, the 19th of March at the TSC, Auditorium, DU at 10 a.m. The Professor  spoke  on Proteomics, Genomics and Bioinformatics: A System Approach to Understand Microbial Life at Extreme Environment in a manner that was appreciated by all because of its lucidity, specially by the students of universities who came from all parts of the country, Khulna, Sylhet, Kusthia, Tangail where biotechnology and genetic engineering is taught. The theme of the Congress was: Biopharmaceuticals: Global and Bangladesh Perspectives.  An estimated number of 200 represented the members of audience which included, apart from large contingent of student delegates from all over Bangladesh, distinguished Professors, Dr. Naiyyum Chowdhury, Dr. Haseena Khan, Dr. Zeba I. Seraj and scientists of relevant departments of DU and  other universities as well as representatives from pharmaceutical companies and news media.  Prof Alam answered a large number of questions posed by young BB on biotechnology and bioinformatics and presented some brilliant ideas around which future plans on biotechnology should be formulated. Click here to Read the program.   

As announced earlier Professor also spoke  in the afternoon at ICDDR,B  on "In silico High Throughput Drug Screening and and Development of Leads Against Dengue Virus Proteins DEN2 and NS2B/NS3." Professor Maqsud is expected to leave Dhaka on the 20th evening.

Austin March, 16,'08.  Prof. Maqsudul Alam presented his first mind-boggling talk this morning, the 16th of March on, "Bacteria Sense Oxygen from Physiology to Informatics to the Origin of Hemoglobin" in the auditorium of the Center of Excellence, Dhaka University. Among those present in the audience were: Prof. Yusuf Haider, Pro-VC, DU, Profesor Anwar Hossain, Dean of the Faculty of Biological Science, Professor Naiyyum Chaudhury representing Bangladesh Academy of Sciences, Professors and other staff members of the Departments of Biochemistry and Mol. Biol. (BMB), Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Microbiology, Botany etc.; and research and senior students where Mustak Ibn Ayub representing Young BB of Yahoo Group was also present. Professor Alam's talk created a good deal of interest among the audience. It may be mentioned here that the discovery of Prof. Alam and his associates  has been patented. Later in the afternoon, the guest speaker spent his time at BMB.

As scheduled,
on the 17th at 2:30 p.m. Professor Alam presented his second talk at the BARC auditorium  on "Three Stories of Applied Research: Blood Substitute, Herbal Extract Against Dengue Fever and Papaya Genome: How We Did it and What We Have Learned. Among those who graced the occasion were member directors of BARC, scientists from BARI, BRRI, BJRI, professors and senior colleagues from BAU, Dhaka University, IPSA and other institutions. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Md. Khalequzzaman A. Chowdhury, Member Director (crops). The lecture was followed by a stimulating discussion which among others also covered the circumstances which led to the discontinuation of USDA-supported papaya project. The consensus was that the papaya field trial should start after the net house containment experiments  are duly completed with no adverse effects on the environment.
On the 18th morning
, Prof. Maqsud is scheduled to meet Dr. Abdur Razzaque, the Executive Chairman of BARC to discuss about the papaya genomic project. The meeting between the two great visionaries  took place in a conducive atmosphere. Later in the day Prof. Maqsud visited Bangladesh Jute Research Institute and called on DG and  met the directors and concerned scientists.

Austin March 17, '08. In the Bigyan Projonmo section of the last Sunday's edition of Prothom Alo, Mr. Munir Hasan has published the life sketch of Professor Maqsudul Alam starting from his early life; and traced it to his phenomenal rise in academic and research career, most of which he accomplished in Russia, thereafter in Germany  and now in Hawaii. He now heads the department of Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu. In an interview with Mr. Hasan, the Prof. said that jute being the main cash crop of Bangladesh, its government and industrialists should come forward to finance the jute genome project. The Prof. said that unlike rice which has a huge number of varieties, jute has a limited No. of cultivars requiring breeders to depend upon the arsenal of the genes in jute cultivars for their improvement in fibre qualities, lignin reduction, their use in vegetables and medicines etc.; and that is possible only through the construction of jute genomic library. Completion of the jute project will not only help this cash crop  regain its lost glory but also build up skilled manpower in the country and put Bangladesh in the World Atlas of biotechnology.  Read the article by clicking here for page 1 and  here for page 2

It may be recalled that Professor Alam heads a team of 85 scientists who recently cracked the entire genomic structure of papaya and has agreed to explore the possibility of constructing jute genomic library on a global level of which Bangladesh will be an integral part. For  the Lecture Schedule Summary Click here.  

What is a Gene? History and Updated Definition.
Austin, March 15, '08. An open access article is available under the title, “What is a gene, post-ENCODE? History and updated definition,” published  in Genome Res. 17: 669-681 (2007), written by ten experts, eight belonging to different departments at Yale University, one of the ten at  Stockholm  University and the other at European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Germany. Describing the gene as conceived in pre- and post-Mendelian era until the discovery of the Structure and Function of a DNA molecule, the article elucidates the changing definition of a gene pointing out that the classical  concept that genotype determines phenotype still hold good and  has not changed over time and that at the molecular level one DNA sequence still codes for one protein or RNA: which means that DNA sequences determine the sequences of functional molecules..  A part of the concluding paragraph quoted from Falk is reproduced here:  ‘‘. . . the gene is neither discrete  nor continuous, nor does it have a constant location, nor a clear cut function, not even constant sequences nor definite borderlines.” And now the ENCODE project has increased the complexity still further. In the most general case, genes can be defined “consisting of sequence modules that combine in multiple ways to generate products. By focusing on the functional products of the genome, this definition sets a concrete standard in enumerating unambiguously the number of genes it contains.” Click here to read the whole article.

Number of Recent visitors surfing BAPTC&B Homepage
Austin 11th March, 08.With a sense of great pleasure, We would like to draw your attention to the fact that scientists of our discipline are viewing the Journal, PTC&B from all over the world. You can find it for yourself by scrolling the homepage of BAPTC&B down to the bottom of the page and clicking  the word ‘Visitor’. It will reveal to you the number of visitors who have surfed our homepage ( today. To have a worldwide graphic picture country-wise, click By World Map on the left hand column under  the section ‘Recent Visitors’. Underneath the map click 100, to see the countrywide distribution of the last 100 visitors. The last hundred browsers were from the following countries: Algeria, Benin,  Nigeria,  Tunisia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, Finland,  Romania, Sweden, Poland, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Papua New Guinea, France, Germany, Ukraine,  Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, India (Delhi, Gujrat, Karnataka, Chennai, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Raipur, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh), California, Georgia, Texas, Mexico, Saskatchewan, Ontario,  Dundee, Oxford, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Japan, multiple regions  including Jakarta from Indonesia, Queensland (Australia), New Zealand. Pl enrich the journal with your original scientific- or review papers to make this journal earn further distinction in the international arena
Upcoming  Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology  Conf.: April 11-13, 2008
Austin, March 1, '08. The upcoming  Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology  Conference will be held in the Department of Botany, Dhaka University from April 11 through 13. The theme of the conference is, “Opportunities and Challenges of Agricultural Biotechnology in Developing countries.” The 3-day conference will meet in eight sessions as follows: a) Production of horticultural, ornamental, timber and other cash crops through in vitro techniques; b) Micropropagation of medicinal plants and conservation of biodiversity; c) Progress and prospect of commercialization of in vitro derived plants and value-added products; d) Tools for crop improvement: In vitro techniques, DNA markers and sequence information; e)  Status and prospect of transgenic crops in developing countries; f) Impact of biotechnology in agricultural and economic development;  g ) Biotechnology in Pharmaceutical Industry; h) Biosafety, IPR and other legal issues related to biotechnology. In addition, there will be poster presentations. You are only one click away from the first circular.

First Bacterial Genome Transplantation: Conversion of one species  to another
Austin Feb. 29th '08.In an article entitled, "Complete Chemical Synthesis, Assembly, and Cloning of a Mycoplasma  genitalium  Genome" published in the 29th Feb edition of  Science (vol. 319:1215-1220), the Craig Venter Group of 17 scientists report of bacterial genome transplantation changing one species to another.  The group created the largest man-made DNA structure by synthesizing and assembling the 582,970 base pair genome of M. genitalium JCVI-1.0. This work with Dan Gibson as the lead author in the weekly Science magazine  is the second of three key steps toward the team’s goal of creating a fully synthetic organism. It must be mentioned here that the transplanted genome uses the built-in  functional cell machinery of the host cell vital to DNA replication.  The mol wt. of the synthetic M. genitalium is 360,110 kilodaltons (kDa).  The base pairs of the synthetic genome,  if printed in 10 point font,  will span 147 pages.

The research to create the synthetic M. genitalium JCVI-1.0 was funded by Synthetic Genomics, Inc. Pl read the companion article by clicking here to have a better understanding of this monumental achievement. 

Prospect of H2 gas Production on an enhanced scale from E. coli

Austin Feb 23rd  '08
. In an article entitled, "Metabolic engineering to enhance bacterial hydrogen production," published in Microbial Biotechnology 1(1): 30–39, a team of three scientists led by Professor Thomas K. Wood at the Artie McFerrin Dept of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College station, TX  demonstrated that it is possible to direct the metabolic flux toward enhancing hydrogen production 141 times. They achieved this seemingly impossible task  by using isogenic E. coli K-12 KEIO library to construct multiple precise deletions in the bacterial genome. The bacterium has three active hydrogenases genes; associated with  them are the regulatory genes called the formate hydrogen lyase  (FHL) system. Hydrogen is synthesized from formate via hydogenase 3 at an accelerated rate. The  above scientists altered the regulation of FHL. Several mutated genes such as fdnG, fdoG, narG, focA, fnr and focB mutations took part in re-directing formate metabolism, thereby removing hydrogen consumption by dehydrogenases. The newly created bacterium was christened  BW25113 hyaB hybC hycA fdoG/pCA24N-FhlA. The strain  produces the largest amount of hydrogen to date matching theoretical yield for hydrogen from formate. Furthermore, in the genetically modified bacterium, the yield of hydrogen  from glucose increased by 50%. Wood's experiment has brightened the prospect of utilization of renewable hydrogen fuel at a comparatively low cost. Successful pilot experiment will pave the way of production of hydrogen fuel on a commercial scale mitigating the current suffering of people dependent solely on fossil fuel. Here is one area in which NRB biotechnologists  can collaborate with their counterparts in producing clean hydrogen gas for the country at  a competitive price.
Intl. Symp. on Regulatory & Safety Issues in Commercialization of Biotech Res. in Developing World
Dhaka Feb 16, 2008.The preparation on the above International Symposium, hosted by BRAC University and scheduled to be held in Dhaka in December 2-4, is progressing in full swing. Among the speakers are well-known experts from all over the world: Francisco Baralle, Decio Repandelli, Mark Tepfer (Italy), Ulf Petruson and Bo Hieden (Sweden), Julian Kinderler (U.K.), Solly Benetar, Dr. Glenda Gray and Dr. Gita Ramjee (South Africa), Albert Farrugia and Dr. Abed Chaudhury, (Australia), Tim Caulfield (Canada), Godfrey Tangwa (Cameroon), Raimundo Ubieta Gomez (Cuba) Virander Chauhan, V.S. Reddy, P.S. Bhattacharya and Hari Subramaniam (India) and a number of local speakers representing prestigious organizations. They will cover a number of topics as shown: Technology Transfer Process, Biosafety, Clinical and Field Trials, IP and IPR, Regulatory Affairs and Bioethics including the clinical trials of HIV/AIDS vaccines and drugs in South Africa and Sub-Saharan. The community owes to Professor Ahmed Azad who was driving force not only conceiving this idea of organizing the symposium but also garnering international funds and renowned guest speakers for this Meet. For more information click here.

December Issue of the J. Plant Tissue Culture & Biotech is on line
Dhaka, January 22, 08.  The articles of the December issue  of the J. Plant Tissue Culture & Biotech are now available on line including supplemental information if provided by the author ( The hard copies will be out in a couple of days. In keeping with the  current trend there are  more and more articles (5 out of 12 in 17(2) in biotechnology in the last two issues of the journal. Many of our members are frank enough to tell us that  they will consider to submit their articles to this journal, only when we shall attain international standard. We don't blame them. However, it reminds us of the age-old adage: egg first or chicken first. Submission of articles containing important research results will surely raise the journal's standard helping it  to be included and indexed by ISI.  At present it is indexed by Biological Abstracts, BIOSIS Previews, Elsevier Bibliographic Databases. We do hope that GNOBB members will bear in mind that together we can make this journal internationally competitive. According to GNOBB database there are more than 250 biotech SCIENTISTS working in Bangladesh and abroad. There is no reason why with this skilled manpower we cannot earn this distinction. Certainly it is within our reach. The contents  of the current issue is only one click away.
Austin, Nov. 27, 2007
Dear BAPTC&B Readers,

First and foremost my profound apology to you all for having kept the site inactive for more than a year. It was a technical glitch that prevented the moderator to update the site. I mean it when I say because it's no problem for me to post latest news on plant biotechnology which in most cases will be  a duplication of news that I post in another website, namely, Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists ( Fortunately, the problem has just been solved and I hope to keep you all well posted about what is new and exciting in the biotechnology Field. Following are some welcome developments which augur well in the rapid promotion of this emerging science in Bangladesh.

Some of you might have noticed that at the bottom of the homepage, the number of visitors who surf BAPTC&B is recorded. The company called, "Sitemeter"   provides free service to any webpage  seeking its assistance. Clicking the number  of visitors will open this site showing the number of surfers that visit the site DAILY. Not only that: on the left hand column under the title, "recent visitors", you will see a section on the third row called "BY WORLD MAP".  Click it and the world map, that will appear on your screen, will show the countries from where the website was recently visited. Below the map you will see opposite to "recent visitors" the figure 100. Click it and you will be amazed to see how popular  this website is. People from even Latin  American countries such as Chile, Brazil, Caribbean, Mexico, Iran, Turkey, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan, Thailand, USA, Greece,  Spain, England, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Egypt, China, Korea surf our website. The fact  that the journal is indexed by Biological Abstracts, BIOSIS Previews, Elsevier Bibliographic Databases has made the website popular.

Believe us, if we put our heart and soul together toward its further improvement, not only its standard will go up but we may be able to increase our revenue and who knows that with the extra money, we may be able to raise the number of publications from two to three. Pakistan J Botany now publishes three issues a year. Many of us still argue: let the standard of this journal be enhanced to an international level and then we send our articles here, little realizing that their contribution will enrich this journal
and make it internationally known by being included in the "Current Contents". Then the evaluating authority,  who recommend us for  various academic jobs will have no qualms of conscience to equate the articles published in PTC&B journal and those in outside journals.

A New Era Ushering in the Development of Biotech in Bangladesh
Austin, Nov. 20, '07.  The auspicious moment GNOBB members were waiting for has finally come. It has heralded a new era in which INCEPTAPHARMA, one of the leading Pharmaceuticals in BD will set up pilot scale  as well as production facilities  for the whole range of recombinant biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics and vaccines. Professor Ahmed Azad played the vital role of an intermediary between ICGEB and Mr. Abdul Muktadir, MD INCEPTA for technology transfer from ICGEB and other sources. The company will continue to produce its existing recombinant biopharmaceuticals in addition to two new ones through host/vector systems developed at the ICGEB Trieste Laboratory as well as a couple of diagnostics patented in the ICGEB laboratory at its Delhi Center.
A "World-class" biomedical Res. Inst. for basic biosciences & Drug Discovery
Austin, Nov. 20, '07.   While talking to Professor Ahmed Azad, Mr. Abdul Muktadir  of Incepta has expressed  his keen interest in setting up a "world-class" biomedical research institute for basic biosciences and discovery research. It will be left entirely to the discretion of Incepta whether  to develop and commercialize or refuse any candidate drugs or vaccines that are developed in  the proposed institute. Incepta looks forward to participation of  the brightest and the most capable bioscientists  working in Bangladesh, or abroad to participate in building up this proposed state of the art institute where the main objectives would be excellence in science. Incepta would also be interested in collaborating with researchers both at university and research institutional level.   Bangladeshi scientists from home and abroad are requested to contact Prof. Azad if they are interested to be a part of this building process of this proposed Incepta institute envisaged to be one of the best in this region.

Conversion of Human Somatic- to Pluripotent Cells under Appropriate Gene Control  
Austin, Nov. 24, '07. In  online edition of Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.1151526), a breakthrough news on the use of human skin  cells having the potency of stem cell lines was published in the form a report captioned,  “Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Somatic Cells”. In their research findings, twelve authors under the leadership of Professor JA Thompson   (affiliated to three Madison- based research centers, namely, the Genome Center of Wisconsin, Wisconsin National Primate Res. Center  and WiCell Res. Inst.) reveal  that it is possible to reprogram somatic cell nuclei to an undifferentiated state by four genes: OCT4, SOX2, NANOG, and LIN28 and that  reprogrammed  human somatic cells behave like  pluripotent stem cells, i.e.,  they differentiate into any of the three germ layers: endoderm, mesoderm, or ectoderm. Following characterize the transformed skin cells: they  a) have normal karyotypes (chromosome morphology), b) express  telomerase activity (an enzyme that regulates the telomere end of the chromosome), c) express cell surface markers and d) contain genes  that confer them characteristics  of stem cells, capable of  developing and differentiating into advanced stages of all  the above three primary germ- layers.  Once the impediments such as blocking of mutation following viral integration and satisfactory solution of other technical glitches  are found, induced pluripotent cell lines will open up new vista in drug development for cure of many advanced-age diseases  such as Alzheimer making an end of the bitter controversy centering round the use of human embryonic stem cells.
Here is the Position Paper Prepared at the Last April Biotech Conference held in Dhaka
Austin Nov.28, .07. Many of us are both BAPTC&B as well as GNOBB members. For the convenience of those who have not joined GNOBB, and yet eager to know about the position paper ; i.e. recommendations that were prepared at the concluding session of the last April conference held in Dhaka, we request them to press the link  shown here in highlighted  blue font. You may also like to browse another nice website launched to mark the historic occasion where  biotech scientists from home and abroad met for a three-day-conference, held from 6th through 8th of April this year  at  the ICDDR,B  auditorium. Another characteristic feature of this conference was that non-government organizations, pharmaceutical industries, news media covering radio, television and Newspaper not only attended the conference but also financially supported it with liberal donations. There was also an enthusiastic response for the government in as much as three advisers in charge of Health, S&T and Agriculture respectively graced different sessions as Chief Guests. In other words the conference  proved to be an unprecedented success both in terms of quality of  oral and poster presentation and a huge turnout of scientists until the last session where there was an in-depth discussion on  national biotech policy. Since the conference received support of advisors from Health, Agriculture and S&T Ministries, it was presumed that the recommendations which laid an emphasis  and utmost importance on the creation of the National Commission of Biotechnology (as an independent unit under the umbrella of the PM) on the pattern  of Pakistan and India would be accepted without reservation.  The lofty idea that worked behind the tireless exercise has been to reap the benefit of this fast developing science without being bogged down by the administrative red  tape. Although not confirmed, it has come to our knowledge that out of three, only the Ministry of Health has favorably responded to the  recommendations.
Eleventh Congress of IAPTC&B at Beijing August 13 through17
Austin, August 14, '06. The Eleventh Congress of the International Association of Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology (IAPTC&B) started on August 13 and would continue through 17 in Beijing International Convention Center.  Eighty-eight countries are affiliated to this association that holds its Assembly every four years hosted by different countries by turn. The last Congress was hosted by the USA and was held in Florida under the chairmanship of Professor Indra K. Vasil. The Chair of the current congress is Professor Zhihong Xu , currently Professor in Griffith University, Brisbane.

Seventeen plenary- and 33 keynote speakers have confirmed their participation. The number of posters classified under 26 symposia are 1601. Besides posters, 155 papers will be presented under 26 different symposia titles S-1 to S-155, 6-7  sessions running concurrently.  In the workshop on RNAi Research four papers will be presented and the same number of papers in the other workshop entitled, "Opportunities for Research in Agriculture Science in Canada."  To know more about the conference, pl click the title. The biotechnology community will be interested to take clues from some of the papers/posters to be presented at the conference such as “ Engineering Plants for the Global Clean up of Arsenic Pollution (P-9)” by R ichard Meagher, USA in order to ameliorate the problem of arsenic contamination in both rural and urban Bangladesh.

GNOBB member, Dr. Kamal Chowdhury, Associate Professor of Biology, Claflin University, SC is attending the conference. He will convey to the President of the Congress warmest greetings from both non-resident and resident Bangladeshis and present to him the latest copy of the Journal of Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology; i.e., vol. 16, # 1. _______________________

Interesting Developments in Multitude Fields of Biotechnology
Following titles recently posted in the SciDev.Net website may be of interest to GNOBB members. All the four are in areas of biotechnology directly related to the promotion of biotechnology in our country. The first title, “ Bangladeshi farmers banish insecticides ” has depicted how without the use of pesticides Bangladesh farmers were able to enhance the yield of crops, once they were trained how to avoid using pesticides without crop loss. The second article, “ GM crops are compatible with sustainable agriculture ” allays the fear of adversaries of GM crops who fear that their introduction will do irreparable loss to the ecosystem. The third article, “ WTO says Europe's GM ban broke trade rules ” brings to the attention of the EU countries that they cannot continue banning imports of GM crops from countries like Brazil because that will go against the trade rules which clearly spell out that without clear cut evidence such an embargo cannot be imposed on import of food crops. The fourth article “ Genomics accelerates East Coast Fever vaccine hunt ”, epitomizes as to how the cracking of the genomic library of Theileria parva, a parasite that causes a deadly cattle disease causing an annual loss of about USD 200 million, has helped the vaccine biotechnologists to come up with eight parasite proteins that have proved to be promising vaccine candidates.

Recent Publication of a reference book on abiotic stresses :

An important chapter was published in the book, “ Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants” by Springer, The Netherlands. Details are as follows:

Zeba I. Seraj, Laisa A. Lisa, M. Rafiqul Islam, Rokeya Begum and Deepok K. Das (2005) Genetic Diversity of Saline Coastal Rice (Oryza sativa L. ) Landraces of Bangladesh. In : Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants. Toward Improvement of Global Environment and Food. Ashwani K. Rai and Teruhiro Takabe (eds.). Springer, The Netherlands, pp. 229-244. Click the title to know what this book is all about and its contents.


Prospect of GM crops in Malaysia  to Improve Crop Productivity 

Dr. Abul   Ekramoddoullah, Senior Research Scientist, Tree Biotechnology and Advanced Genetics, Pacific Forestry Center, Victoria, B.C. sends the article, " Sharing Malaysian experience with the development of biotechnology-derived food crops.” . In case you are interested to read the article, please press here; the article is only a click away from you .

DNA Sequencer in Dhaka University.

Austin Feb. 10, '06. Dhaka University Centre of Excellence has recently acquired a DNA sequencer. Interested BAPTC&B members are requested to contact Dr. Amir Hossain Khan ( ) of the DU Center of Excellence if you have any suggestions or queries regarding the sequencer . Another scientist to contact is Dr. Gazi Nurun Nahar Sultana who will be operating the facility including sample analysis on the machine ( ).


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