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Human Genetic Variations, merely different DNA Sequences, Researchers ascertain

KARACHI-  The Pakistan Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (PSBMB) and Dr A.Q. Khan Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (KIBGE), KU, recently organized the four-day long 14th biennial conference on ‘Molecular Biosciences: Research and Innovation.’

The General Secretary, PSBMB, M. Waheed Akhtar, from School of Biological Sciences, University of Punjab, while delivering a memorial lecture on MID Chughtai, one of the founders of PSBMB, at the Jinnah Auditorium, KIBGE, mentioned about the numerous advancements made in the recombinant DNA technology and the large variety of protein engineering methods supported by high-throughput screening. He added how these techniques were opening gateways to unlimited possibilities of improving proteins and enzymes for applications.

He further added, “Techniques like site-directed mutagenesis, error prone polymerase chain reaction (PCR), usage of specific substrate-binding modules, truncation of molecules, and fusion of selected protein segments from two or more proteins; all have been used to modify the expressed recombinant proteins.”

General Secretary M. Akhtar further informed the audience regarding the substitution of amino acid residues through error prone PCR of the gene encoding the enzyme, which has shown to result in several-fold increased activity.

Shakeel Ahmed Khan of Department of Biosciences, Barrett Hodgson University, talked on the subject: ‘Bacillus cereus group: an exceptional reservoir of bioactive substances.’ Whilst addressing the audience, he stated, “The overall ecological balance on this planet is maintained by associations between various life forms, in one way or another. Alongside the plants, the importance of microorganisms cannot be ignored in maintaining the energy pyramid. For ages, microorganisms have been associated with soil as decomposers.”

Abdul Hameed from Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Islamabad, spoke about the variations seen in human genes and diseases associated with them.

He said, “Human genetic variations are the differences in DNA sequence within the genome of individuals in populations, consisting of many forms.”

Anwar Ali Siddiqui from KIBGE, KU, highlighted the strategic use of research resources in developing countries, further mentioning that the available data and reports from various international agencies suggested that research in developing countries, including Pakistan, is enhancing gradually.

He also observed that since the last two decades, Pakistan had displayed an increase in the number of research institutes, to address health sciences issues and emerging threats of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

The Government based programs in Pakistan have been provided with reasonable funds, in order to facilitate the research sector and higher education.

However, in Biomedical Sciences, many quality research publications have resulted due to parachute science phenomenon, where researchers from developed countries grab opportunities to collect samples and carry out most of the analytical work under a consortium in their home countries, without allowing a chance to develop capacity and technology transfer to the collaborating institute of the developing world.

It was also revealed that the recent WHO and World Bank reports had shown a gradual change in the pattern of life-threatening illnesses, over the last twenty years.

December 17, 2018

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