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DNA research to identify stolen species

on 30 September 2011.

BORNEOPOST

 

KUCHING: Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud believes that a genomic research through DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) technology may be able to help scientists identify stolen endangered species and jungle
products.

“Our jungle products in Sarawak, which are rich in biodiversity and natural resources, are always subject to environmental violation and theft.

‘With this major breakthrough, we are hoping to track down the origins of the species even though they had been ‘processed’ (slaughtered or cooked) and have to be identified. This can easily help us to take legal actions against the offenders,” he said.

He said this when officiating at the three-day 9th Malaysia Genetics Congress held from Sept 28 to 30, jointly organised by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and Persatuan Genetik Malaysia (PGM).

His speech was read out by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu.

The theme for the three-day congress, held here for the first time, is ‘Appreciating the richness of nature through genetics’.

Taib believed the breakthrough would contribute greatly towards the betterment of the society at large as DNA technology had brought remarkable scientific advances in recent years.

“Maize, for example has been modified to produce its own insecticide. DNA fingerprints have been used to solve crimes and study the origins of ancient peoples and it has been made towards curing many fatal diseases,” he said.

He added that the launch of Human Genome project back in 1990 was perhaps the most exciting use of DNA technology.

The discovery of the sequence of human genome was only the first step in understanding how the instructions coded in DNA lead to a functioning human being, he stressed.

The research focuses on the complete map of human genome and gives immense benefits and advancements to medical genetics and human well-being.

“The sequence data will be created and analysed and it would be expended to other organisms including the preservation of native species of Proboscis monkey and many others.”

Another related genetics technology – the NGS Technology or Next Generation Sequencing – would enable scientists to multiply and upgrade living organisms in the medical field and other areas like agriculture and livestock, food vetting and production, law and forensics and many others.

“Perhaps we can use the research technology and latest findings onto our local fish products like Semah, Empurau, Terubok and many more.”

About 220 delegates and genetic experts attended the congress.

Among those present were Unimas Board of Directors chairman Datu Dr Hatta Solhi, Unimas deputy vice chancellor (Academic and International) Prof Dr Fatimah Abang, Unimas deputy vice chancellor (Research and Innovation) Prof Dr Peter Songan, Persatuan Genetic Malaysia (PGM)  president  Prof Dr Mohammad Osman and organising chairman Prof Dr Mustafa Abdul
Rahman.

 

 

Extracted from The Borneo Post

Arkib Berita

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia Telephone: +60 82581000/+60 82581388, Fax: +60 82 665 088, Email: corporate@unimas.my
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