Journal of the Cameroon Academy of Sciences

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The present status and perspectives of Biotechnology in Cameroon with particular reference to GM and non-GM technologies

PK Titanji


The development and application of Modern Biotechnology* in Cameroon dates back to 1986 when the Biotechnology Centre, Nkolbisson, was created at the University of Yaoundé I with a capacity for recombinant DNA technology. The same year another laboratory (subsequently named the Johnson Biotechnology Laboratory) was created in Ekona, SW Region for plant tissue cultures aimed at producing planting materials (banana, plantains, yams, cocoyams etc.). Meanwhile the practice of Classical Biotechnology**in Cameroon dates back to pre-colonial times and was manifested in traditional practices like corn beer brewing, cassava fermentation, bread baking etc. Subsequently teaching and research programs in Biotechnology applied to health were developed from 1986 onwards and implemented at the Biotechnology Centre, Nkolbisson,Yaounde, and University of Buea Biotechnology Unit ,Buea, which was created later. Together both units trained a sizeable number of biotechnologists at the master's and doctoral degree levels. At the national level the Government of Cameroon enacted legislation to govern the use of Modern Biotechnology in the country and also signed and ratified various International Conventions, notably the Rio-Convention on Biodiversity and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The present article reviews these achievements, and further describes the applications of biotechnology techniques to health, plant and animal production including the recent introduction of Bt- cotton cultivation on experimental basis. It is concluded that the stage is now set for the rapid exploitation of biotechnology for the socioeconomic development of Cameroon, subject to the mobilization of the necessary venture capital.

Keywords: Cameroon, Biotechnology, GMO, Biodiversity, Economic Development, Recombinant DNA


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