Australian Government

Over the last 15 years, ACIAR has entered into more than 100 biotechnology R&D partnerships with at least 10 Asian countries in support of more than 600 active or completed projects. The emphasis of this work has been on developing diagnostics and vaccines for a large suite of diseases of tropical livestock, with some recent work on fish and shrimp being undertaken. Most of these projects have been implemented through government programs, but NGOs are becoming increasingly involved. Molecular marker methods for identifying disease- resistant genes and prolificacy in livestock have also been developed. Several projects on biotechnology for rumen manipulation have been carried out.

Crops and forestry work has focused on development of diagnostics for diseases (viral, fungal, mycoplasma, and bacterial) and contaminants in tropical crops, and the application of biofertilizers, bioremediation technology, and biofumigants. Molecular markers have been developed for the improvement of cereals and tree species. In cooperation with IRRI, attempts are being made to develop apomixis systems for rice. Tissue culture methods for micropropagation and conservation of several species, including sweetpotato, taro, tropical fruits, coconut, green tea, and tree species such as mangrove are being developed.

Eight of ACIAR's current or completed projects have included aspects of plant genetic engineering, with target crops being cereals and pulses, groundnut, and several tropical fruits. Target characters include virus resistance and quality defects related to ripening processes. These collaborative projects were developed at the request of the Asian countries, which fully approved regulatory procedures. ACIAR also provides core funding to many CGIAR and other IARCs, a proportion of which is applied to biotechnology R&D.

Australian support has been provided through AusAID for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)/Australia regional biotechnology network, mainly concerned with food, microbial, and industrial biotechnology. AusAID also supports the characterization and conservation of genetic resources of taro and forest genetic resources in the South Pacific. AusAID has supported several biotechnology seminars. A major seminar in 1989 at the Australian Academy of Sciences on the potential of agricultural biotechnology in international development reported on the outcomes of a joint study cosponsored by AusAID, ACIAR, ISNAR, and the World Bank (Persley 1990a, 1990b).

In the area of human resources, the Crawford Fund has sponsored several master classes in biotechnology for senior policymakers over the past decade.

0 0

Post a comment