Pakistan is one of many countries where biotechnology is playing an important role through crops, animal breeding and human health. In 1959, the importance of biotechnology was realized by the Pakistan's first commission on science and technology when they set up research centers and organizations to meet the challenges of the science as well as the modern world.
National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) is the most prominent and important research center of Pakistan. The research centre is focusing its attention mainly on the research of plant, medical and environmental biotechnology. In a short time, NIBGE has produced significant results in these areas. For example, during the research on cotton plant, scientists found biotechnological solution for the cotton disease called as Cotton Leaf Curl Virus. This virus is the source of destroying many cotton crops and caused harmful effects on the economy of the country.
NIBGE has the credit of making useful the 11 million acres of saline land into a fertilized land by using the methods of biotechnology. The technique of making useless land into useful one has also been used by the International Atomic Energy Agency to initiate certain projects in eight more countries. The research centre is also developing such methods through which energy will be produced by extracting minerals and fossil fuels. Bacteria, has been used to extract uranium and copper. The development of the technique using bacteria has potential applications in the development of mines of Saindak. These mines are the biggest copper mines of Pakistan and are found in Balochistan, a province of Pakistan.
Environmental Biotechnology in Pakistan:-
NIBGE has expanded its research in the field of environmental biotechnology. It has designed such methods by using microbes which have helped in the area of effluent detoxification and waste management. The industrial effluents pollute the drinking water and dyes released from textile industries contain harmful chemicals and carcinogens which are extremely harmful for the human health. NIBGE has NIBGE has developed such microbes which can degrade the dyes and make them colorless so they can be recycled easily.
Biomedicine and genetic engineering in Pakistan:-
Pakistan is also making advances in the research of molecular biology. Institute of Molecular Genetics Islamabad is the research center for biomedicine and genetic engineering. Scientists at the institute have identified a gene which is responsible for causing a hereditary degenerative disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. This disease results in the loss of eyesight. Scientists of Pakistan have also prepared more than 3,000 lymphoblastoid cell lines. The researchers of Pakistan have the credit of preparing largest amount of human cells in the whole world. These cell lines have been banked at France, Biochemistry department at Oxford University in the duplicate form. Wellcome Trust and United Kingdom has supported this research financially.
The Center of Advanced Molecular Biology at Punjab University has gotten the credit of discovering 45 new restriction enzymes. These restriction enzymes are involved mainly in replication of DNA molecule. Scientists of Pakistan have also developed methods to detect tuberculosis, breast cancer and hepatitis A and C. Center of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Biology is also a recognized research center in Pakistan and researchers are involved in research of plants, animals and humans at this center.
Pakistan has also many medical centers which are providing facilities for the treatment and diagnosis of cancers to the patients. There is a special tuberculosis hospital in the Rawalpindi city of Pakistan in which patients are provided with the facilities of diagnosis and treatment of TB. Laboratory at the hospital takes blood tests and X-rays for the diagnosis and doctors prescribe medicines according to the X-ray and blood tests reports.
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