Significant innovative event

National Centre for Genome Biotechnologies opens in Minsk

By Tatiana Chumakova

The Director of the Institute for Genetics and Cytology at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Alexander Kilchevsky, tells us that services are being provided in the field of genome biotechnology to the ministries of Agriculture and Food, Sports and Tourism, and Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. Other legal entities and individuals, including those from abroad, are able to make use of the National Centre of Genome Biotechnologies, which is a unique multi-field innovative agency — unrivalled in the CIS.

The Centre has been founded from the accredited Centre of DNA Biotechnologies at the NAS’ Institute of Genetics and Cytology and the Genome Centre for Collective Use — as part of the current state innovative development programme. It aims to determine the presence of genetically modified ingredients in raw foods, agricultural products, feeds and seeds, while identifying DNA-markers for the certification of crop varieties. It will also work on identifying the genes responsible for positive characteristics and hereditary diseases in animals, alongside those responsible for the individual characteristics of people.

Preparatory works are complete, allowing accreditation for marker-assisted selection of agricultural plants, DNA-typing of rare and disappearing plant and animal species, and the molecular-genetic identification of bacteria. A Health Ministry license has been given for medical activity.

The Centre and the Institute have successfully passed international STB ISO 9001-2009 quality management certification, with a corresponding certificate already received. The Centre should reach its designed capacity in December 2013: 7,000 tests per year. Mr. Kilchevsky believes that this will bring commercialisation of genome research in Belarus, while laying the foundations for domestic genome biotechnology, fully meeting the country’s needs.

The Chief Scientific Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Sergey Chizhik, notes that the establishment of the Centre is a great innovative achievement, bringing the opportunity to attract non-budgetary financing and allow employees to earn more under current conditions.

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