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Our Founder Treasurer, Ms. Samjhana Thapa represented of Biotechnology Society of Nepal (BSN) in the Global Ethics Forum in Geneva on 30June and 1st July 2011.The main objectives of this conference was to provide an opportunity for participants to arrange bilateral meetings or small group meetings to follow up the conference in order to:

  • Explore bilateral future cooperation with participating individuals and its organizations
  • Prepare projects for implementing recommendations
  • Find partners for their own projects

Ms. Thapa showed her active participation. She was able to make network with different people around the world. The registration of BSN as the contact organization in Nepal has been regarded as a good achievement for the society and the country.

Uma S. Shah and Amol Dahal
National Agriculture Genetic Resources Centre (Gene Bank),
Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), P. O.Box 3055, Nepal
E-mail: ushah_gene@yahoo.com

Abstract
Agriculture is the major sector of Nepalese economy. It provides employment opportunities to 66 percent of the total population and contributes about 36 percent in the GDP. Therefore, the development of agriculture sector is the key for development of national economy. However the lack of improved varieties seems to be a root cause for low agricultural production and poor economic growth of the country. If this situation persists, the significant part of the country’s economy will have to be spent on import of agricultural commodities in the future. Hence it is high time to go for advanced technologies that enhance agricultural produce to ensure food security in Nepal. In this context, biotechnological innovation and commercialization has great potential for agriculture and economic development of the country. Advanced researches on biotechnology for crop improvements and development and commercialization of GM crops could give definite direction to the agriculture of the country.

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Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC), Biotechnology Unit is organizing ” National Biotechnology Conference 2011″ with theme ” Biological Revolution through Biotech” on 12-13 July 2011 at Khumaltar, Lalitpur, Nepal. You are cordially invited for the participation of the program. This program will be inaugurated by Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Nepal.

Venue: National Agriculture Research Institute Hall, Khumaltar, Lalitpur, Nepal

Conformed Speakers:

  1. Dr. Dilip Panthee (Asso. Prof. North Carolina State University, NC, USA)

Deadline for Abstract Submission: 17 June 2011
The abstract should be within 250 words and the topic should relate to theme of the conference. Similarly, you will be notified about its acceptance. The topic of the article should be purely research based except for status and policy papers.

Areas for the abstract submission:

  1. Status of the biotechnology research, production and development
  2. Tissue culture and in-vitro techniques
  3. Biodiversity conservation and utilization using biotechnology tools.
  4. Breeding and genetics using biotechnology tools.
  5. Vaccine and medical biotechnology
  6. Policy on biotechnology research, production and development

For further information, please contact Raj K. Niroula (rkn27st@yahoo.com) and Resham B. Amgai (reshamamgain@yahoo.com) at Biotechnology Unit (Phone: +977 1 5539658).

For details please download the document below

Notice & Program Biotech Conference 2011

April 25-26 – James Watson, a biologist from Indiana University, and Francis Crick, a physicist, were working at the Cavendish Lab in Cambridge, England on the structure of DNA. On Saturday, February 28, 1953 it is reported that Crick came into the Eagle, a Cambridge pub, and announced to everyone there that they had “found the secret of life”. In 1953 they proposed the double helix model of DNA. In April of 1953 the Watson and Crick paper appeared in the journal Nature 171: 737-738 & 964-967 (1953). US Congress declared April 25th 2003 as DNA Day to celebrate the completion of the human genome project and the 50th anniversary of the description of DNA.

In this regard Biotechnology Society of Nepal (BSN) has been celebrating “World DNA Day” every year since 2008 by organizing different talk programs, seminars, documentary shows and student awareness programs. This year also the day was celebrated under the theme “Biotech Youth Meet 2011” at White House institute of Science and Technology (WHIST), Khumlaltar. Over 250 students from biotechnology and applied biological sciences studying at Kathmandu University, Tribhuvan University, WHIST, SANN International College, LBEF College and GEMS institute of Higher education and other different colleges participated. The program was also attendant by more than 50 scientists and researchers from government institutions like NAST, NARC, NAFOL, Government delegates from Public Service Commission (PSC) and Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and private sectors.

In the program Mr. Jivan Rijal from NAFOL stressed the need of DNA Databank for crime investigation, identification of missing individuals and wildlife management. He also sought for clear act and rules, appropriate education for judges and law students and support for scientific community for making the judgment based on scientific evidence.

Speaking at the program, Mr. Dibesh Karmacharya, Executive Director of Intrepid Nepal Pvt. Ltd. emphasized on the 3-C (Communicate, Collaborate and build the biotech Community) for the development of biotechnology in Nepal. Similarly, Dr. Sameer M. Dixit, Country Director of Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal (CMDN) highlighted the role of biotechnology in public health and biomedical research.

Speaking at the program, Dr. Kayo Devi Yami, acting chair person PSC of Nepal stressed on need of taskforce comprising researchers, scientists, biotech graduates and concerned stakeholders to pressure the concern ministries and line agencies to recruit the biotech graduates via PSC. She also clarified that PSC only cannot recognize the biotech graduates until the concerned ministries demand for the post and also assured that PSC will work at high speed in developing curriculum for recognition of those graduates.

During the program, Mr. Ganesh Shah, former minister, MoST wished for capturing first Nobel Prize for Nepal in the field of biotechnology by encouraging the scientific community and graduates and assured that he is dedicated for the development for biotechnology in Nepal. He also said about the entrepreneurial activity apart from research for contributing economic growth of the country. He added that unification in work and sharing of facilities currently available is inevitable for sustainability and growth.

Mr. Mukunda Raj Prakash Gimire, Joint Secretary of MoST and also the Coordinator of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Technical Team said that government is working for the development of Biotechnology and also highlighted the Biotechnology policy of Nepal 2063.

Speaking at the program, Dr. Dinesh Raj Bhuju, Head of Faculty of Science, NAST focused on the facilities and opportunities available for biotechnology graduates and future works of NAST in this field.

Similarly, Dr. Mukunda Ranjit, President of Nepal Biotech Association (NBA) highlighted the need of government investment, as India has done in early 90s, for the development of Biotechnology.

Similarly, Dr. Janardan Lamichhane, Vice President of Regional Branch Office, Asian Federation of Biotechnology (AFOB) emphasized the need of technology transfer and collaboration among different international research institutions for capacity building and establishment of state-of-the- art facilities.

Speaking at the program, Mr. Rajiv Singh, Head of Institute, WHIST highlighted the need of collaborative effort among different biotech institutions for upliftment of biotechnology and development competent graduates.

In the program, Mr. Ravi Bhandari, Vice President of BSN highlighted current projects of BSN like e-bulletin, e-interview, article on demand (AOD), brain drain to brain gain and BSN journal entitled Nepal Journal of Biotechnology (NJB) which will ultimately enhance the academic knowledge of students, scientists and researchers in this field. He also added that BSN will come up with new projects and opportunities for them.

Mr. Prajwal Rajbhandari, a MS by Research (Bio-Technology) graduate from Kathmandu University focused on the unity among biotech graduates, faculty members for uplifting new born subject in Nepal and role of BSN in fulfilling this. Similarly, Mr. Hemanta Raj Mainali, Teaching Assistant and Biotech graduate from Department of Biotechnology, Kathmandu University said that involvement of youth is inevitable for development of biotechnology in Nepal and need of such program for making the awareness among the different stakeholders for collaborative effort.

The program was organized by Biotechnology Society of Nepal (BSN), sponsored by WHIST and supported by JHS Analytic Trader, Menaka Enterprizes, Intrepid Nepal, Chaudhary Group, Himalaya Distillery, GEMS/AUF and Everest Biotech.

Also, on 26th of April, Mitra Kunj/Nepal Science and Technology Development Forum/ Russia Centre of Science and Culture headed by Mr Ganesh Shah also celebrated World DNA Day on the topic “Talk program on Biotechnology”. Speaker for the program were Dr. Janardan Lamichhane, Associate Professor at Department of Biotechnology, Kathmandu University and Dr. Pramod Aryal, Chief Scientific Officer at Deurali Janata Biotech Pharma, a Biotech wing of renowned pharmaceutical company Deurali Janata Pharmaceuticals Limited (DJPL).

Core Team of the Biotech Youth Meet 2011

Organizing Team of Biotech Youth Meet - 2011

The discovery of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is regarded as the milestone in the history of modern biotechnology. World DNA Day is celebrated worldwide on the 25th April to commemorate discovery of double helix structure of DNA by Watson & Crick in 1953.

Since April 2008 BSN has been celebrating the World DNA Day. Continuing with the same spirit, BSN will be celebrating the DNA day this year too on 25th April 2011, Monday. We are organizing National Program on Biotechnology with the title “Biotech Youth Meet 2011” on the occasion of World DNA Day 2011. The highlights of the program include:

  • Biotech Industries for two digit economy rise in Nepal
  • Acceptance of Genetic Based Tests in Nepal
  • Recognition of Biotech Graduates in Government Agency
  • Science and Technology in Nepal – Retrospect to Prospect
  • Government Activities for Biotech Promotion in Nepal
  • Documentary Show

BSN cordially invites all the well-wishers of Biotechnology to attend the program Biotech Youth Meet 2011.

Program details are as follows:

Date:     25thApril, 2011 (12 Baishak, 2068), Monday

Time:     8:30 am onwards

Venue:  White House Institute of Science and Technology (WHIST), Khumaltar, Lalitpur.

Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=214708948555417

Facebook id: http://facebook.com/bsnbiotech

For more information please contact: Mr. Ramesh Parajuli (9841107638, 9802034243)

Click on the picture for enlarged version.

“ …. A single idea from the human mind can build cities…..

An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules…..” (Inception, 2010)

As stated in the quote from the 2010 blockbuster movie “Inception”, a single idea can indeed transform the whole world. Human history has witnessed many such ideas – Newton’s law of gravitation, Einstein’s theory of Relativity, Mendel’s theory of inheritance, Watson & Crick’s model of double-helix DNA and many more on the list to follow. For centuries scientific publications have been a platform to communicate any scientific ideas. Nevertheless scientific publication has also been a means to put ones views forward and initiate debates to address key issues such as global warming, biodiversity conservation, epidemics, etc. It is an undisputed fact that scientific progress serves as a development indicator of any nation and that is where scientific journal publication serves for national development.

Biotechnology Society of Nepal (BSN) had a vision to work towards journal publication especially in biotechnology and related life-sciences since its inception. In fact, biotechnology in Nepal is just toddling. Then, back in 2007, Nepal did not have even a single scientific journal published regularly that could document the precocious works of modern biotechnology. Research scientists from Nepal had to depend on international journals for their work to be recognized.

Despite many challenges, BSN took the lead to initiate Nepal Journal of Biotechnology (NJB) so as to address issues especially in biotechnology and its related domains of life-sciences. NJB got established in mid 2009 assembling a team of both young as well as distinguished scientists from Nepal and abroad to work for the publication of the journal. Later, towards the first quarter of 2010, NJB registered itself in Nepal Journal Online (Nepjol) as a peer reviewed open access journal.

NJB has recently published its inaugural issue on January 2011. There are 4 Original Research Articles, 1 Review Article, 2 articles under Short Communication and an editorial. More information about the journal can be found in http://www.nepjol.info/index.php/NJB.

NJB and BSN together would like to thank all the authors of the published articles, the publication team, the editorial team and the members of the advisory board for a great team effort to initiate the publication of the journal. Indeed this has been a great milestone in the history of Nepali Biotechnology.

The following are the articles published.

Nepal Journal of Biotechnology, Vol 1, No 1 (2011)
Table of Contents: http://nepjol.info/index.php/NJB/issue/view/268

Editorial
——–
Race for Excellence

Dipesh Dhakal

Original Research Articles
——–

Information Theory and Multivariate Techniques for Analyzing DNA Sequence Data: An Example from Tomato Genes (1-8)

Bal K Joshi, Dilip R Panthee

An Evaluation of the Fungi Isolated from Sub-epidermal Region of Post-harvested Stored Wheat Grains (9-13)

Shiju Mathew,  George Thomas, Tufail Ahmad

Analysis of KatG Ser315Thr Mutation in Multidrug Resistant  Mycobacterium tuberculosis and SLC11A1 Polymorphism in Multidrug Resistance Tuberculosis in Central Development Region of Nepal Using PCR-RFLP Technique: A Pilot Study (14-21)

Raunak Shrestha, Rubin Narayan Joshi, Kriti Joshi, Bal Hari Poudel, Bhupal Govinda Shrestha

Development of PCR assay for targeting partial  lipL21  and  lipL41  gene of  leptospira  (22-30)
S Chandan, S Umesha,   SK Bhure, N Haraprasad, S Chandrashekar

Review Articles
——–
Molecular differences between GM- and non-GM crops over-estimated? (31-48)

Klaus Ammann

Brief Communications
——–

In vitro cultivation and regeneration of Solanum melongena  (L.) using stem, root and leaf explants (49-54)

Bishnu Pada Ray, Lutful Hassan,                Smreeti Kana Sarker

Biotechnology Growth Partnership: A Potential Flagship Program in S&T (55-58)

Raju Adhikari, Benu Adhikari

Kathmandu, Dec 31, 2010 – Biotechnology Society of Nepal (BSN) organized a one day seminar on the theme “Brain Drain to Brain Gain” on 31st December 2010 at NAST Conference Hall, Khumaltar, Lalitpur. The program was organized in collaboration with Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Non-Resident Nepali – Skill, Knowledge and Innovation Transfer Task force (NRN-SKI). The main theme of the program was about the sharing the knowledge gained by home coming students.

The program witnessed participants from different biotech colleges around Kathmandu. Also there was an enthusiastic participation of scientists representing different biotech organization and research institutes of Nepal.

Four speakers from different field discussed on several aspects of science and its development. Mr. Hom Raj Acharya, Executive Director (NRN-SKI), talked about the prospective of Nepalese students in Nepal and abroad. He also discussed about how NRN could help the innovative and young scientists. Dr. Jyoti Tandukar (Associate Professor, Institute of Engineering (IOE), Tribhuvan University) discussed on ‘Reinventing Success’. His presentation was inspirational and eye opening and based on contemporary issues in Nepal. He raised an issue regarding our habit of underestimating the market value and technical advancement of Nepal in the field of IT.  He provided some good examples where Nepalese technologies are used in the international market.  The importance of self-learning and being up-to-date in the field of one’s interest were highlighted in his presentation. The idea of information sharing was emphasized as pivotal.

Similarly, Mr. Ramkrishna Shrestha, a Computational Biology graduate (University of East Angelia, UK) presented on ‘The Next Generation Sequencing Technology and Assembly Algorithms ‘. His presentation included both traditional and the modern technologies being used in the world in sequencing.  He discussed about the research practices, particularly in genome sequencing and bioinformatics, and also on how new ideas could be converted into research.

Mr. Raunak Shrestha represented the iconic and leading organization in the field of biotechnology in Nepal, Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal (CMDN)/Intrepid Nepal Pvt. Ltd.  The representation of the company was there because it is established by scientists and professionals who worked and studied abroad. The successful establishment of this company sets a definition of Brain Gain for all. Mr. Shrestha talked about the establishment of the company and its infrastructures. He also briefed about the current and future projects of CMDN/Intrepid Nepal. In addition to this he discussed how Intrepid has been conducting training programs and how it can be a possible place for working for the students of relevant field.

The program was concluded with a discussion session where guests were invited for free interaction with the speakers. The program was a success and first of its kind with such a unique theme.

The second program in the series is scheduled to be held at Central Department of Biotechnology, Tribhuvan University (TU), Kritipur on 14th of January 2011.

Chandra Prasad Risala, b, Tadashi Yokoyamac, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, Naoko Ohkama-Ohtsud, Salem Djedidia and Hitoshi Sekimotoe

a United Graduate School of Agri. Science, Tokyo Univ. of Agri. and Tech., Tokyo 183-8509, Japan

b Soil Management Directorate, Dept. of Agriculture, Hariharbhawan 552-0314, Nepal

c Institute of Agriculture, Tokyo Univ. of Agri. and Tech., Saiwai-cho 3-5-8, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan

d Women’s Future Devt. Organization, Tokyo University of Agri. and Tech., Tokyo 183-8509, Japan

e Faculty of Agriculture, Utsunomiya University, Utsunomiya 321-8505, Japan

Received 2 April 2010.
Available online 20 September 2010.
Systematic and Applied Microbiology
Volume 33, Issue 7, November 2010, Pages 416-425

Abstract

Soybean-nodulating bradyrhizobia are genetically diverse and are classified into different species. In this study, the genetic diversity of native soybean bradyrhizobia isolated from different topographical regions along the southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal was explored. Soil samples were collected from three different topographical regions with contrasting climates. A local soybean cultivar, Cobb, was used as a trap plant to isolate bradyrhizobia. A total of 24 isolates selected on the basis of their colony morphology were genetically characterized. For each isolate, the full nucleotide sequence of the 16S rRNA gene and ITS region, and partial sequences of the nifD and nodD1 genes were determined. Two lineages were evident in the conserved gene phylogeny; one representing Bradyrhizobium elkanii (71% of isolates), and the other representing Bradyrhizobium japonicum (21%) and Bradyrhizobium yuanmingense (8%). Phylogenetic analyses revealed three novel lineages in the Bradyrhizobium elkanii clade, indicating high levels of genetic diversity among Bradyrhizobium isolates in Nepal. B. japonicum and B. yuanmingense strains were distributed in areas from 2420 to 2660 m above sea level (asl), which were mountain regions with a temperate climate. The B. elkanii clade was distributed in two regions; hill regions ranging from 1512 to 1935 m asl, and mountain regions ranging from 2420 to 2660 m asl. Ten multi-locus genotypes were detected; seven among B. elkanii, two among B. japonicum, and one among B. yuanmingense-related isolates. The results indicated that there was higher species-level diversity of Bradyrhizobium in the temperate region than in the sub-tropical region along the southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal.

Keywords: Bradyrhizobium; Genetic diversity; 16S rRNA gene; Himalaya; Nepal

- by Dr. Sameer M. Dixit and Prof. Dr. Meeta Singh

Cervical cancer is the most preventable cancer in women. Ironically, it is also the biggest killer amongst all cancers in Nepali women. All women that are sexually-active are at risk of contracting it. Although there are no clear reports, it is estimated that 20 percent of all female cancers is linked to cervical cancer, most of those being in advanced clinical stages. Annually, in Nepal, there are an estimated 1,100 deaths due to cervical cancer.

Research worldwide has shown that Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the major cause of cervical cancer in women. Specifically, about 5 types of HPV (16, 18, 31, 32 and 45) among about 100 known strains have been linked to cervical cancer. According to literature, persistence infection with one of 15 high-risk HPV types is considered a necessary cause for cervical cancer. Estimates worldwide have suggested that types 16 and 18 account for 70 percent of all cervical cancers. In Asia, this has been liked to 67 percent of all cervical cancers, with Southern Asia (where Nepal is located) linked to 80 percent of all cervical cancers.

There are preventive vaccines already developed and being used in developed countries against at least four of the high-risk HPV groups. Gardasil (manufactured by Merck) protects against HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18. Cervarix (manufactured by Glaxo Smithkline) protects against 16 and 18. These are recommended for young girls in three shots (primary and booster dosage).

In the United States, the Center for Disease Control recommends that female patients start regular cervical cancer screening at the age of 21 or within three years after first having sexual intercourse. The first test for the screening test for cancer of the cervix is the pap test which detects precancerous or cancers cells. The second recommended test is the HPV test, which looks for the human papillomavirus that can cause these cell changes leading to cervical cancer. While the smear test can be carried out by most pathology laboratories, HPV test requires advanced laboratory setup. In US and other developed countries, early intervention is now made possible by molecular detection technologies such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or real-time PCR. These tests enable detection of high-risk HPV in the cervix rather than relying on histopathological results alone. Thus, by regular screening for HPV, it is now possible to reduce the risk of developing cancer in women worldwide.

For a developing country like Nepal, accurate screening of cases of cancer of the cervix in Nepal continues to be a major problem. Very little, if any, literature reports exist on the type of HPV present in the population, and in cervical cancer cases. Even World Health Organization (WHO) does not have data on Nepali context to come up with an effective solution to the problem. Even though vaccines exist, without the knowledge of the HPV type prevalent here, the usefulness of such vaccines in Nepal is not proven.

Women who are sexually-active should visit their gynecologist for cervical cancer screening. Cervical cancer is totally preventable, so there is no excuse for not getting tested for it.

Molecular detection of HPV and its strain identification has never been tried in Nepali laboratories before. The primary screening method used in Nepal is the Pap Test – Pap smears can detect cervical cancers if smears are taken properly and interpreted by an experienced expert cytologist. Pap smears may not provide accurate detection of all suspect cases if the smear sample is not taken properly. However, if we can even screen some of the early stage cervical cancer patients using novel molecular tools such as PCR, we could be saving many more lives. PCR could be the preferred and more efficient method of detection of HPV and thereby detect cancer cervix in our country where there are very few pathologists. It must be taken into account that just the presence of HPV in the cervix does not necessarily indicate cervical cancer risk. In most cases, the low-risk viruses are shed off by the body automatically. However, detection of the virus provides the gynecologist evidence to screen the patient at regular intervals, thereby enabling early detection of abnormal cellular morphology in the case of cancer. Identification of any of the high-risk HPV is thus the key to early intervention of cervical cancer.

It is, therefore, highly recommended for all women who are sexually-active to visit their preferred gynecologist for cervical cancer screening. HPV type molecular screening is also now available in the city. October of every year is dedicated to cancer, worldwide. Cervical cancer is totally preventable, so there is no excuse for not getting tested for it.

Dr. Dixit is associated with the Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal (CMDN). Dr. Singh is Head of Department, Gynecology/Obstetrics, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH). CMDN in collaboration with Dept of Gynecology/Obstetrics, TUTH, is in the process of initiating HPV type study into cervical cancer in Nepal.

s.dixit@cmdn.org

This article has been taken from The Republica National Daily http://myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=24761

DR SAMEER M DIXIT & PROF DR MEETA SINGH
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