Information about the Plenary and Keynote speeches at the Fourth International Plant Tissue Culture Conference
Austin Nov-30-01: There were a few excellent presentations. Participants were spell bound when Dr. Swapan Datta (see the picture below), the Chief Biotechnologist of IRRI spoke on IRRI's outstanding achievements in the plenary lecture on, "Potential benefit of bioengineered rice for developing countries". He dwelt on their recently launched project on developing new varieties of indica rice incorporating in it B carotene and Fe genes from "the japonica Golden Rice".
Datta said that it would take them five years following the initiation of
crosses between the japonica golden rice and the standard indica rice varieties;
three years of work before they are tested in the field and
two years for seed multiplication. He is also planning to step up the vitamin A content in the proposed indica version of "the Golden Rice" by a factor of 2 because the level in the japonica variety is not sufficient to meet the daily requirements of undernourished people who have no means to eat dairy products.
The title of the second plenary lecture was, "How to keep Biodiversity by means of plant biotechnology? Some approaches in overcoming breeding behaviour. " Professor Taiji Adachi, School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, Osaka Prefacture University, Japan, was the invited speaker. His presentation made a deep impression on the audience. Equally impressive were the two keynote addresses presented by two German professors, Dr. Heiko Kiesecker, Department of Genetics, University of Hannover and Dr. E. R. J. Keller of the Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gaterslaben. They spoke on, "Agrobacterium tumefaciens- mediated transfer in large seed grain legumes - Pisum sativum L. and Cicer arietinum L.." and "In vitro techniques to improve the germplasm preservation - case studies for some temperate corps and general features", respectively. The keynote speech delivered by Professor S. N. Raina, University of Delhi, "Molecular DNA markers as an aid to evaluate genetic integrity of micropropagated plants" drew spontaneous applause from the delegates. The last keynote address on "Intellectual Property Rights and Biotechnology" was delivered by Dr. Naiyyum Chowdhury, Project Director of the National Institute of Biotechnology and Member Bioscience, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission.
Speakers from Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka spoke mainly on micropropagation. There were oral presentations and posters on marker-aided selection by participants from India and those from the Molecular Biology & Plant Biotechnology Faculty & Research Associates of the Biochemistry Department, Dhaka University.
Bangladesh TV gave prominent coverage to the inaugural ceremony. The BTV-interview of Professor Syed Hadiuzzaman, the President of BAPTC on the prospects of tissue culture in Bangladesh featured prominently in the TV programme. The Hamdard stall, one of many on display in the conference venue, was also given coverage by BTV. On the 2nd (Friday) afternoon, conference participants were taken on a tour to Savar.