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March 3rd, 2019 / Alliance for Science, US

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afredraru reports:

The Ugandan researchers who have been working since 2005 to breed more nutritious bananas say their progress won’t be hindered by a strict liability clause in the nation’s latest biosafety bill.

The scientists are using genetic engineering to develop bananas rich in such nutrients as vitamin A, iron, zinc and folic acid. The Ugandan Parliament recently passed a billthat regulates the process for commercializing such crops. Though it has yet to be signed into law by the president, it includes a controversial clause that holds scientists accountable in case of any complaint associated to their research, regardless of whether the particular anomaly was directly caused by the scientist.

“The current Genetic Engineering Regulatory Act has a specific clause which is strict on scientists, but this will not stop us from releasing GMO products to farmers,” said Dr. Jerome Kubiriba, head of the banana research program at the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL). Read more