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February 26th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru writes:
It’s 8:30 East African Standard Time. I disembark from a van filled with science journalists from Kampala, Uganda and accompanied by stakeholders from Uganda National Farmers Federation at the National Agriculture Crops Resources Research Institute in Namulonge.

We are on a fact-finding trip about research and the application of modern biotechnology in crop development. Upon arrival the team is welcomed into the Biosciences Laboratory by Dr. Titus Alicia, director of the root crops program.

I take keen interest in observing what is going on at the cassava tissue culture lab, where Dr. Teddy Amuge is picking tiny cells from a transparent glass plate and analyzing them under a microscope.

Amuge explains that there are two basic steps in plant genome editing, and the same applies to the application of synthetic biology and nanotechnology.

“The emerging field of synthetic biology, nanotechnology and gene editing has been making waves in the global scientific community recently and this includes scientists working in different laboratories in Africa,” she tells me. Read more