By Chioma Obinna
Shortage of human resource expertise in Biotechnology related policies and molecular research in Nigeria can only be improved if government provided the enabling environment in tune with advancements in modern technology.
Director General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency, Abuja, Prof. Babatunde Solomon who made the observation identified the absence of a suitable forum for biotechnology communication, as well as lack of financial resources to develop and implement policies and non- viable seed industries as challenges facing molecular biology in Nigeria.
Speaking during a lecture entitled; â€œProspects of Biotechnology and Molecular Biology in Nigeria,â€ – a hands -on training workshop with the Theme: Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: Road Map to Specific Diagnosis, Solomon urged government at the top to encourage such trainingso as to ensure it is targetted at solving the nationâ€™s biotechnology-oriented problems.
He said the vision for biotechnology development is targeted towards food security, health and environmental productivity and safety while providing solutions to agricultural-, environmental-, industrial- and medical problems and that it had influenced drug and vaccine manufacturing in Nigeria.
At the moment, vaccine, HIV and Hepatitis test kits are in the fore front.
He said the most widely used biotechnology tool in Nigeria is the micro-propagation of plants and development of protocol for economic tree plants but in recent times, the Agency had made notable advances to alleviate farmersâ€™ needs for long fibre cotton with pest and disease resistance.
Deputy Director, Research and Head of the Division, Dr. Stella Smith disclosed that the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology division of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), is planning to establish, in the near future, a molecular biology laboratory for paternity testing.