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Objective

The South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP), supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is dedicated to assisting India and Bangladesh in further strengthening institutional governance of biotechnology. Managed by the ILSI Research Foundation, SABP provides technical assistance to the biosafety risk assessment and research communities in India and Bangladesh, and further supports governments’ efforts to implement functional and scientifically sound regulatory processes for agricultural biotechnology.

Collaborators & Partners

USAID, USDA, IFPRI, Biotech Consortium India Limited, University of Dhaka, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (India), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Bangladesh), Department of Environment (Bangladesh) and the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council

Areas of Focus

SABP works with its in-country partners to:

  • Identify and respond to technical training needs for GE food, feed and environmental safety assessment.
  • Develop a network of trained, authoritative local experts to communicate about the science of agricultural biotechnology and its biosafety to interested stakeholders.
  • Facilitate systems for permitting the safe conduct of experimental field trials of new crops developed using biotechnology so that scientists and farmers can evaluate them.

Current Activity

Presently, over 30 Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutes have active research programs developing and evaluating genetically engineered (GE) plants, to address basic research questions about plant biology on through to efforts to improve productivity under the stressors of climate change.  Because ICAR is committed to compliance with biosafety regulations concerned with GE organisms, it has partnered with the South Asia Biosafety Program, managed by the ILSI Research Foundation, to initiate a pilot program in ten ICAR institutions actively working to develop new GE plants. Two individuals were selected from each of the ICAR institutions to become Institutional Biosafety Officers (IBOs) who are now working together to develop resources necessary for a functioning institutional biosafety program, including standard operating procedures, staff training materials, and processes for facility biosafety audits.

Biosafety Research in Bangladesh Grants Program (BRBGP)

The Biosafety Research in Bangladesh Grants Program (BRBGP) is managed by the ILSI Research Foundation as part of the USAID-funded South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP). The Biosafety Research in Bangladesh Grants Program recognizes the need for biosafety research as part of a broader effort to support science-based decision-making and policy development, and will fund research that considers the potential impacts of agricultural biotechnology, particularly genetically engineered crops, on the environment and biodiversity in Bangladesh.

Pre-proposal submission deadline:
February 15, 2019, 18:00 GMT

Resources

Newsletters

Find out about the work being done through the South Asia Biosafety Program by reading our monthly newsletter.

ICAR Biosafety Portal

Meet the IBOs and review resources made available through the IBO Pilot Program.

Bangladesh Biosafety Portal

Explore this resource, which is designed to strengthen compliance with the regulatory framework and effectively facilitate research and development of agricultural biotechnology activities in Bangladesh.

Events

7th Training Workshop for Institutional Biosafety Officers on the Conduct and Monitoring of Confined Field Trials of Regulated Genetically Engineered (GE) Plants

New Delhi, India

ILSI Research Foundation, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Biotech Consortium India Limited, co-organized the 7th Training Workshop for Institutional Biosafety Officers on the Conduct and Monitoring of Confined Field Trials of Regulated Genetically Engineered Plants.

Read more

6th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference

Dhaka, Bangladesh

As the premier biosafety meeting in South Asia, the South Asia Biosafety Conference (SABC 2018) brought together leading scientists from regulatory agencies, public sector research institutions, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations.

Read more

IFPRI Special Event: Tales of Yield Improvement

Washington, DC, USA

Dr. Morven McLean numbered among the distinguished set of experts invited to address the issue of yield growth at an IFPRI special event honoring Dr. Mark Rosegrant’s work over the last 40 years.

Read more

7th International Botanical Conference

Dhaka, Bangladesh

The ILSI Research Foundation’s South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP) sponsored the “Genetics, Biotechnology, and Biosafety Regulations in Genetically Engineered Crops” session at the 7th International Botanical Conference in Dhaka.

Read more

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Biotech Consortium India Ltd. and the ILSI Research Foundation co-organized the 7th Training Workshop for Institutional Biosafety Officers on Confined Field Trials of Genetically Engineered Plants on December 10-11 in New Delhi. The workshop, part of ICAR’s Program on Biosafety Compliance and Readiness, provided training to 20 participants, including institutional biosafety officers and scientists engaged in the development of GE plants under the ICAR Network Project of Transgenics in Crops.

Agenda

December 10, 2018

December 11, 2018

Photos

December 10, 2018

Welcome and Introductions
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Opening Remarks
Dr. N.K. Singh, Project Director, National Research Center on Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB) and Coordinator, ICAR Network Project of Transgenics in Crops (NPTC)

Overview of the Program
Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Session 1: Regulatory Framework and Guidelines for the Conduct of CFTs

Regulatory framework for CFTs of GE Crops
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Guidelines for the Conduct of Confined Field Trials of Regulated, GE Plants
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Exercise 1: Workbook Questions on CFT Regulations and Guidelines

Q&A and Review of Session 1

Session 2: Application and Conduct of CFTs for GE Plants

Application for Seeking Permission for Confined Field Trials of Regulated GE Plants
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Exercise 2: Using Plant Biology Documents to Complete Part E of CFT Applications

Interactive Walkthrough: Annotations to the CFT Application Form
Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Conducting a CFT: Handling Material, Maintaining Isolation, Harvest, and Termination
Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Exercise 3: Workbook Questions on Conducting a CFT

December 11, 2018

Session 2: Application and Conduct of CFTs for GE Plants (continued)

Demonstrating Compliance with Regulatory Requirements
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Interactive Walkthrough: Recording Formats
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Non-Compliance and Corrective Actions for CFTs
Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Exercise 4: Workbook Questions on Compliance

Open Discussion

Adjournment 

Photos

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6th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference - Conference Book

Download the Conference Book

Under the auspices of the South Asia Biosafety Program, the ILSI Research Foundation and Biotech Consortium India Limited organized the 6th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference, which was held on September 15-17, 2018 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This annual conference is the premier biosafety meeting in South Asia and provides an essential forum to hear from leading scientists representing regulatory agencies, public sector research institutions, and the private sector in South Asia and internationally.

Presentations

Day 1 - September 15, 2018

Day 2 - September 16, 2018

Day 3 - September 17, 2018

Poster Session

Presenting a poster at the South Asia Biosafety Confernece was a noteworthy way to share expertise or accomplishment, and poster presenters had a dedicated time to present and discuss their work with the diverse group of attendees. All posters conveyed relevance to biosafety research, environmental or food safety assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or the regulation of GM plants, animals, arthropods, or micro-organisms.

Poster Competition

All posters accepted into the Poster Program were eligible for the Poster Competition. In cases where a registrant had two or more posters accepted for the Poster Program, s/he were asked to identify which one should be included in the poster competition i.e., only one poster per registrant was eligible for the Poster Competition.  The posters were judged on September 15-16 and the winners were announced on September 17 before the final plenary session of the conference.

Winners

  • First Prize: Md. Nazrul Islam, National Institute of Biotechnology, Bangladesh, for the poster: “Overexpression of G-Protein Beta Subunit Gene (OsRGB) Confers Both Heat and Salinity Stress in Rice"
  • Second Prize: Abdullah Mohammad Shohael, Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh, for the poster: “Development of Greening (HLB) and Canker Resistant Citrus Cultivars Through Genetic Engineering”

Prizes

The Institute for International Crop Improvement, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, generously provided the following prizes for the SABC 2018 Poster Session:

First Prize: Registration, airfare and hotel accommodation to attend the International Society for Biosafety Research Symposium (formerly the International Symposium on the Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms or ISBGMO) which will be held April 1-4, 2019 in beautiful Tarragona, Spain.

Second Prize: USD $300 cash and a two-year membership to the International Society for Biosafety Research.

Support for Early Career Scientists

The 6th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference gratefully acknowledges the generous gift provided by Reliance Industries Limited to support the attendance of three early-career scientists from Indian public sector research institutes so that they could share their work in the Poster Session and Lightning Round.

Evaluation and Judging

Posters were evaluated as follows:

Abstract (10%) - Clarity and correlation with poster.

Scientific Content (70%) - Introduction and background with literature cited, objectives, materials and methods, results and discussion, and significance to field. The quality of the research presented were judged on its scientific rigor and significance as conveyed by the poster. Each poster had to be self-explanatory. Judges had the opportunity to discuss posters with their presenters, but this was not considered in the evaluation of the display.

Poster Display (20%) - Posters were judged on organization, effective use of space, legibility, grammar and spelling, and effective use of graphics.

Each poster display was judged independently by three judges on September 15-16, 2018 based on the abstract, scientific content, and poster display. Judges were encouraged to provide constructive comments for each poster, however comments may have been very brief or absent because of the limited time available. Winners were announced on September 17.

Layout and Design

The maximum dimensions for the poster was 48 inches/122 cm (height) x 36 inches/91 cm (width). Poster boards had a plywood surface that permitted the use of removable double-sided tape, tacks, or board pins.

The following were suggestions that contributed to ensuring the readability and quality of posters:

  • Check for proper spelling and grammar.
  • Use a standard typeface font.
  • Ensure text is clear and concise.
  • Important information should be readable from about 10 feet away.
  • Use bullets, numbering, and headlines make it easy to read.
  • Include tables, figures, graphs and color to enforce key points.
  • Standard abbreviations may be used without definition, but nonstandard abbreviations/acronyms should be placed in parentheses after the first use of the terminology. It is important to keep nonstandard abbreviations/acronyms to a minimum, to allow for readability and understanding.
  • Have a consistent and clean layout.
  • Include any appropriate acknowledgments, your name and institutional affiliation.

Assigned Spaces

Each accepted poster was assigned a numbered space for where they would be posted in the conference hall. Posters were added to their assigned space on Saturday, September 15, 2018 prior to the beginning of the Poster Session. Posters remained in their assigned space until Monday, September 17, 2018 after the final plenary session to ensure that attendees and judges had adequate time to view the posters.

Lightning Round

The Lightning Round was a unique opportunity for students and early career researchers to share their research in an oral presentation format that is exciting, challenging, and entertaining. Each participant was given 5 minutes and 5 slides to clearly present their work and were challenged to think carefully about how best to use the allotted time and visual aids. The presentations were scored by the session's Chair and Co-Chair, and prizes were awarded to the top two participants.

Winners

  • First Prize: Sabrina Elias, School of Life Science, Independent University for the presentation: “Blending Gene expression with Phenomics to Decipher Salt Tolerance Determinant”
  • Second Prize: Mohammad Umer Sharif Shohan, University of Dhaka, for the presentation: “Two Amino Acid Substitution Model Across Membranes in the Oryza Species HKT1;5 Transporter from Salt Tolerant Rice Landraces for a Beneficially Low Na+/K+ Ratio”

Prizes

The International Society for Biosafety Research generously provided the following prizes for the SABC 2018 Poster Session:

  • First Prize: USD $300
  • Second Prize: USD $200
  • All participants in the Lightning Round received a one-year membership to the International Society for Biosafety Research.

Presentations

Blending Gene Expression with Phenomics to Decipher Salt Tolerance Determinant
Sabrina M. Elias, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Alternatively Spliced Form of the Vacuolar Na+/H+ Antiporter (OsNHX1) Gene: Aspire to Combat Salinity Stress in Rice
Hamida Nooreen Mahmood, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Fluorescence Based Kompetitive (Competitive) Allele Specific PCR (KASP) for High-Throughput SNP Marker Detection and Validation
Tabassum Sunfi, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Two Amino Acid Substitution Model Across Membranes in the Oryza Species HKT1;5 Transporter from Salt Tolerant Rice Landraces for a Beneficially Low Na+/K+ Ratio
Mohammad Umer Sharif Shohan, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Genetic Engineering for Development of Salt-Tolerant Pigeon Pea Plants
Rakshita Singh, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, India

Engineering Insect Resistance in Rice
Yaiphabi Kumam, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, India

Comparative Nutritional Equivalence Evaluation of Transgenic Chickpea Seeds Harboring either a Cry1Ac or a Cry2Aa Gene
Rubi Gupta, Assam Agricultural University, India

Genetic Engineering of Sugarcane with EXPA1 and BRK Genes Increases Water Deficit Stress Tolerance and its Biosafety Concern
Ashwin Narayan, ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute

 

Social Media

Revisit the Conversation!

Tweet #TwitterDev

SABC 2018

Photos

Sponsors

SABC 2018 was organized by

with support from

Congratulations to 1st Place
Poster Session Winner Md. Nazrul Islam!

Congratulations to Md. Nazrul Islam for the poster Overexpression of G-Protein Beta Subunit Gene (OsRGB) Confers both Heat and Salinity Stress in Rice winning first prize in the Poster Session and receiving registration, airfare and hotel accommodation to attend the International Society for Biosafety Research Symposium (formerly the International Symposium on the Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms or ISBGMO), which will be held April 1-4, 2019 in Tarragona, Spain.

Congratulations to 1st Place
Lightning Round Winner Sabrina Elias!

Congratulations to Sabrina Elias for the presentation Blending Gene Expression with Phenomics to Decipher Salt Tolerance Determinant winning first prize in the Lightning Round and receiving a one-year membership for the International Society of Biosafety Research and a USD $300 cash prize.

Congratulations to 2nd Place
Lightning Round Winner Mohammad Umer Sharif Shohan!

Congratulations to Mohammad Umer Sharif Shohan for the presentation Two Amino Acid Substitution Model Across Membranes in the Oryza Species HKT1;5 Transporter from Salt Tolerant Rice Landraces for a Beneficially Low Na+/K+ Ratio winning second prize in the Lightning Round and receiving a one-year membership for the International Society of Biosafety Research and a USD $200 cash prize.

Congratulations to 2nd Place
Poster Session Winner Abdullah Mohammad Shohael!

Congratulations to Abdullah Mohammad Shohael for the poster Development of Greening (HLB) and Canker Resistant Citrus Cultivars Through Genetic Engineering winning second prize in the Poster Session and receiving a two-year membership to the International Society for Biosafety Research and a USD $300 cash prize.

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Yield growth is essential for people and the planet. But what should we breed and for what should we breed under a more erratic climate, growing natural resource scarcity, and new disease threats? What is the role for better agricultural and food systems management and more adaptive institutions? Can yield growth help reduce environmental damages from agriculture, and help end hunger, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity?

ILSI Research Foundation Executive Director, Dr. Morven McLean, numbered among the distinguished set of experts invited to address the issue of yield growth at an International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) special event honoring Dr. Mark Rosegrant’s work over the last 40 years.

Learn more about the event on IFPRI's website.

Dr. Morven McLean's Presentation

Photos from the Event

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ifpri/40569771624/in/album-72157667516978168/" target="blank">Photo </a>by Jamed Falik/IFPRI  | Licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/" target="blank">CC BY 2.0</a> Photo by Jamed Falik/IFPRI | Licensed under CC BY 2.0 <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ifpri/40569771344/in/album-72157667516978168/" target="blank">Photo </a>by Jamed Falik/IFPRI  | Licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/" target="blank">CC BY 2.0</a> Photo by Jamed Falik/IFPRI | Licensed under CC BY 2.0

More event photos are available from IFPRI.

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Overview: Organized by the Bangladesh Botanical Society (BBS), the 7th International Botanical Conference was held at the University of Dhaka on February 3-4, 2018. It attracted about 300 participants from Bangladesh and abroad, representing policymakers, public and private universities, national agricultural research institutes, private laboratories, and non-governmental organizations.

The conference’s theme was “Plant Diversity - Food Security and Environmental Management.” In addition to a poster session, it included scientific sessions covering the following aspects of plant sciences:

  • Environmental Management and Conservation Biology
  • Restoration of Plant Diversity, Food Security, and Global Climate Change
  • Microbes and Plant Diseases
  • Genetics, Biotechnology, and Biosafety Regulations in Genetically Engineered Crops
  • Taxonomy and Ethnobotany
  • Plant Physiology, Nutrition, and Horticulture.

The ILSI Research Foundation's South Asia Biosafety Program sponsored the “Genetics, Biotechnology, and Biosafety Regulations in Genetically Engineered Crops” session.

Presentations from our Scientific Session

Vibha

Dr. Vibha Ahuja (BCIL)

Strengthening Biosafety
Compliance among Public
Sector Institutions in India

Download the Presentation MacKenzie

Dr. Donald J. Mackenzie (IRRI)

The Golden Rice Story:
Realizing the Promise of Public Sector
Biotech Product Delivery

Download the Presentation ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Roberts

Dr. Andrew Roberts

Regulatory Transparency, Information
Dissemination and Biosafety Information
Resources for Bangladesh (Video)

Download the Presentation Haider, M.S. Photo

Mr. Mohammed Solaiman Haider (DOE BD)

The Biosafety Regulatory
Regime in Bangladesh

Download the Presentation

For more information about the event, please visit the Bangladesh Botanical Society website.

For more information about the South Asia Biosafety Program, please visit our program page.

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Biotech Consortium India Ltd. and the ILSI Research Foundation co-organized the 7th Training Workshop for Institutional Biosafety Officers on Confined Field Trials of Genetically Engineered Plants on December 10-11 in New Delhi. The workshop, part of ICAR’s Program on Biosafety Compliance and Readiness, provided training to 20 participants, including institutional biosafety officers and scientists engaged in the development of GE plants under the ICAR Network Project of Transgenics in Crops.

Agenda

December 10, 2018

December 11, 2018

Photos

December 10, 2018

Welcome and Introductions
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Opening Remarks
Dr. N.K. Singh, Project Director, National Research Center on Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB) and Coordinator, ICAR Network Project of Transgenics in Crops (NPTC)

Overview of the Program
Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Session 1: Regulatory Framework and Guidelines for the Conduct of CFTs

Regulatory framework for CFTs of GE Crops
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Guidelines for the Conduct of Confined Field Trials of Regulated, GE Plants
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Exercise 1: Workbook Questions on CFT Regulations and Guidelines

Q&A and Review of Session 1

Session 2: Application and Conduct of CFTs for GE Plants

Application for Seeking Permission for Confined Field Trials of Regulated GE Plants
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Exercise 2: Using Plant Biology Documents to Complete Part E of CFT Applications

Interactive Walkthrough: Annotations to the CFT Application Form
Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Conducting a CFT: Handling Material, Maintaining Isolation, Harvest, and Termination
Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Exercise 3: Workbook Questions on Conducting a CFT

December 11, 2018

Session 2: Application and Conduct of CFTs for GE Plants (continued)

Demonstrating Compliance with Regulatory Requirements
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Interactive Walkthrough: Recording Formats
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager, Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL)

Non-Compliance and Corrective Actions for CFTs
Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Exercise 4: Workbook Questions on Compliance

Open Discussion

Adjournment 

Photos

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