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Agricultural Biotechnology Training Workshop

Agricultural biotechnology continuously increases its influence on the entire Asian and Pacific (ASPAC) region’s food system. A variety of genetically modified (GM) crops are now commercially available in the region. For instance, GM-corn and GM-soybean have been genetically improved/ enhanced in terms of some key agronomic traits such as pest resistance and herbicide tolerance, resulting in higher yield and better quality produce.

Most Southeast Asian countries are primarily still dependent on an agrarian economy. In fact, agriculture accounts for 70-80 percent of employment in the greater Mekong sub-region. Hence, the enhancement of human capacity building in the agricultural sector remains a crucial factor for the broad-based economic growth in the region.

In view of the crucial role of agriculture in the economic development of Southeast Asia countries, FFTC launched the first training program on agricultural biotechnology in 2007, in cooperation with the National Taiwan University (NTU) and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). Upon completion of the third training program in 2009, a total of 83 participants in related biotechnology disciplines from eight countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan ROC and Vietnam) in the region have been trained to embark on agricultural biotechnology programs in their respective countries.

In recent years, Taiwan has significantly gained higher ground in the areas of agricultural biotechnology for animal, crop, fishery and food industries. Agricultural biotechnology has become one of Taiwan’s newly flourishing and leading industries. All the sound fundamentals of the agro-bio-industry illustrated by increased market share, increased investment on researches, and highly lucrative products explicitly demonstrate its high potential for further development. These Taiwan experiences could definitely benefit its neighboring Asian countries.

FFTC and its collaborating agencies have agreed to implement the fourth of a series of training workshops in 2010 in an effort to continuously enhance the capacity building of agricultural biotechnology manpower in Asian countries. This, in turn, is envisioned to consequently lead to the improvement of the productivity and quality of their agricultural produce, and pave the way for the development of the biotechnology industry in the region. The training workshop will be held at NTU, where the trainees will undergo intensive lectures and hands-on training on modern biotechnology techniques and their application, and on-site visits to local biotechnology industry.

Training course topics

  1. Recombinant DNA Techniques, which consists of three lectures, namely: a) Cloning Tools; b) Transformation and Identification of Transformants; and c) Protein Expressions Systems
  2. Molecular Detection of Plant Pathogens
  3. Methods for Identification of GMOs
  4. Applications of Serological Detection in Agriculture
  5. Transgenic Fish, Shellfish, and Microalga for Aquaculture Application and Biomedical Research
  6. Concepts on Genetic Transformation in Pigs
  7. The Applications of Marker-Assisted Selection in Rice Breeding
  8. Concepts on Genetic Transformation in Plants
  9. Application of Molecular Profiling in Crop Quality Management and Improvement
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