Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomenewsZimbabwe moves to spur gene editing technology – The Herald

Zimbabwe moves to spur gene editing technology – The Herald

Dr Leonard Madzingaidzo, SIRDC chief executive

Sifelani Tsiko

Innovations Editor

The country’s scientific experts are meeting to review gene editing modules before they are published and adopted in institutions of higher learning.

The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC) and National Biotechnology Authority organised the workshop to help strengthen the capacity of local universities and colleges to adopt gene editing as a tool to optimise the country’s agricultural sector.

Dr Leonard Madzingaidzo, SIRDC chief executive said Zimbabwe is stepping up efforts to bolster the teaching and adoption of gene editing science in tertiary institutions.

He said the purpose of the workshop is to introduce university lecturers to four carefully crafted modules that have been developed by experts at AUDA-NEPAD.

“These modules are designed to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of genome editing, covering both the scientific principles and the ethical considerations surrounding this cutting-edge technology,” he said.

“Secondly, and equally important, we aim to gather your invaluable feedback on these modules. Your expertise and insights as experienced educators will play a crucial role in enhancing these modules before they are finalized for publication.”

Dr Madzingaidzo said it was important for university lecturers to rigorously review the modules to ensure that the modules are comprehensive, engaging, and effectively meet the needs of students and the broader academic community.

Speaking at the same event, Florence Nazare, the Head of the Centres of Excellence, AUDA-NEPAD said the module review was part of the National Strategy on Communication and Advocacy for genome editing in eight pilot project countries.

A total of four modules on genome editing have been developed by experts supported by AUDA-NEPAD.
The modules will be used in tertiary and research institutions for training and the implementation of gene editing projects.

“This workshop will interrogate whether there are there any gaps in training. The modules will be used beyond the eight pilot-implementing countries. We are looking forward to vibrant feedback from the various participants,” Nazare told participants at the workshop.

Zimbabwe is among other selected countries such as Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Kenya and Malawi that were chosen to pilot the application of genome editing research towards product development.

Gene-editing science and technology is in the early stages in Zimbabwe and most African countries and the potential of this technology is still to be harnessed.

Gene editing technology allows scientists to edit any gene they target, enabling them to find and change or replace genetic defects.
“Genome editing, as we all know, is a powerful tool that holds immense potential in revolutionizing the field of biotechnology,” Dr Madzingaidzo said.

“The ability to precisely modify DNA sequences not only provides us with a deeper understanding of life, but also presents us with unprecedented opportunities to address various challenges in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, and environmental sustainability.”

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