A consortium of researchers from Dhaka University, Bangladesh Jute Research Institute and Software Company Data Soft Systems Bangladesh Ltd. in collaboration with Centre for Chemical Biology, University of Science Malaysia and University of Hawaii, USA has successfully decoded the Jute Plant Draft Genome. This accomplishment by local scientists and bioinformatics specialists will potentially placed Bangladesh at the forefront of the global jute industry.
Officials and scientists said Bangladesh was the lone country in Asia after Malaysia to carry out such a high level research led by Maqsudul Alam, a professor of the University of Hawaii.Scientist Maqsudul Alam earlier decoded the genome of papaya in the US and rubber plant in Malaysia, led from the forefront in sequencing the jute genome.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the announcement of Bangladesh’s scientific achievement in the parliament on wednesday 16th june 2010 amid cheers and desk thumping by lawmakers.
Jute genome sequencing initiative began in February, 2008 when Maqsudul started exploring the possibilities with several Bangladeshi scientists and academics. The whole process was kicked off with many long conference calls between Maqsudul and plant molecular biologists, Prof Haseena Khan and Prof Zeba Seraj of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Dhaka University. Then the lead researcher had several meetings with Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury.
Genome sequence represents a valuable shortcut, helping scientists find genes much more easily and quickly. A genome sequence allows scientists identify and understand how genes work together for the plant’s different features like growth, development and maintenance as an entire organism. This allows them to manipulate the genes and enhance, reduce or add certain features of the plant.
Jute is the second largest fibre crop in terms of cultivation next to cotton. Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest producer of jute, after India, and the world’s largest exporter of the fibre.
If cotton is ‘white gold’ for some countries, jute could be ‘fibre gold’ for Bangladesh in the near future. A high value and quality product is what ultimately matters. I believe this will realise a key objective of jute research by the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute – to develop improved varieties of jute with wider adaptability having high quality, finer and stronger fibre.
S:The Daily Star(17th June 2010) ;www.jutegenome.org ;www.sydneybashi-bangla.com-article by Abdul Quader and Facebook Group of scientist Maqsudul Alam – The discover of jute genome sequencing