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Museveni to launch Eastern Africa Gene Bank

President Museveni at a function recently. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Joy Kabatsi has on July 16 revealed that the official launch of the Eastern Africa Gene Bank is slated for Friday, July 19 at Livestock Experimental Station in Entebbe.

While addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre, the minister said that the Chief Guest of Honor is H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda.

“Guests for this event are expected from the 12 African Union member states, regional economic communities such as East African Community (EAC), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) as the agricultural research coordinating body in Eastern and Central Africa,” she said.

The launch is part of the operationalization of the Global Plan of Action on Animal Genetic Resources from the global, continental, regional and national perspectives. Uganda was chosen to host the Eastern Africa regional Gene Bank in 2015 after an assessment that other Eastern African countries participated in.

However, the launch event will be preceded by the 6th General Assembly for Animal Genetic Resources for Eastern Africa, which starts on July 17th-18th, at Golf Corse Hotel, in Entebbe, Uganda.

The General Assembly is convened by the Association for Strengthening ASARECA in collaboration with the African Union-lnter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR).

ASARECA is the Secretariat to the Eastern Africa Sub-Regional Focal Point (S-RFP) for Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR) and has been coordinating regional collaborative efforts in the project.

The overall objective of the 6th General Assembly is to further strengthen regional efforts in the implementation of the Global Plan of Action on AnGR.

About the gene bank

Under the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources adopted by the International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture agreed on in Interlaken Switzerland, 2007 it was agreed, among other things, that all member countries undertake to conserve AnGR.

Gene Banking is a type of conservation and refers to prolonged cold storage (cryopreservation) that allows virtually indefinite storage of biological material without deterioration over a time scale of at least several thousands of years. This means that we can preserve the present wealth of genetic diversity in long-time storage.

Gene Banks provide the possibility of recreating breeds or breeding lines in case they are lost; can be used as a back-up in case genetic problems occur; can be used to minimize inbreeding and genetic drift in small-managed populations; are useful in development of new lines or breeds; and can serve as the primary source of material for country researchers performing DNA research.

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