Role of plasma lipids in the susceptibility of laboratory mice to trypanosomosis

Hassan M, Agaba M, Bulimo W, Noyes, Brass A, Hinsley T, Iraqi F, Kemp S. "Role of plasma lipids in the susceptibility of laboratory mice to trypanosomosis." In: Rege JEO, Nyamu AM, Sendalo D, eds. The role of biotechnology in animal agriculture to address poverty in Africa: Opportunities and challenges. Proceedings of the 4th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture and the 31st annual meeting of Tanzania Society for Animal Production, Arusha, . Arusha, Tanzania: TSAP (Tanzania Society for Animal Production), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), Nairobi, Kenya.; 2006:.

Date Presented:

20-24 September


The current debate on agricultural biotechnology is, at best, confusing—even to the better informedsections of the public. A complex set of issues, all intertwined, combine to complicate the debate.These include, ethical, moral, socio-economic, political, philosophical and scientific points ofview being expressed. While champions provide fascinating arguments illuminating howbiotechnology could save the world from poverty and hunger, opponents deride it as the doomsdaydevil of agriculture. The rest of the public remain sandwiched between the two camps eitherengaged enough to take a semi-informed stand or indifferent to the discussions.Africa is emerging as one of the frontlines in the battle for acceptance (or otherwise) of agriculturalbiotechnology. For Africa, the debate is occurring at a crucial time. The local policy makers whowill ultimately decide on the future of biotechnology, including genetically modified foods, arebeing pushed and pulled in both directions. Only a few countries, namely Burkina Faso, Egypt,Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe are involved in some form of biotechnology researchor (at least for South Africa) commercial use, especially in crop agriculture. A few of thesecountries have introduced regulations to govern transgenic agriculture.Clearly, biotechnology issues specific to Africa must include crop and animal productivity, foodsecurity, alleviation of poverty and gender equity, and discussions must not be allowed todegenerate into political and philosophical battles, usually led by those who are least affected bythe plight of the poor in the continent. Like any new technology, the risks and benefits ofbiotechnology should be assessed in a cost–benefit analysis framework. The final verdict on awell-tested technology should be untainted by views of zealots on either side of the debate,driven by the needs of the people and supported by solid scientific facts taking into considerationsocial and monetary costs and benefits. In all the debate to date, the application of biotechnologyin animal agriculture has received much less consideration than that for crops. With a focus onthe animal sector of agriculture, this conference was designed to provide opportunity for expertsand policy makers to examine the potential role of the public sector (notably national governmentsin developing countries and development partners), the private sector and public–privatepartnerships that could facilitate North–South transfer of relevant biotechnology.The overall objective of the conference was to provide an opportunity for African scientists andthe broader stakeholder groups of the livestock sector to discuss the potential role of biotechnologyin animal agriculture to improve the livelihoods of African people. The conference aimed toattempt, through discussions of a series of papers, to answer the questions: Is biotechnology amenace or an opportunity to address the pressing needs for sustainable livelihoods of poor people?What are the potentials and limitations/threats of biotechnology? The conference organisersenvisioned that at the end of the conference some of the following questions would have beenaddressed, at least in part: Are there proven technologies currently available which Africa canimmediately take up to address the known constraints? What are the current technical andinstitutional constraints to livestock biotechnology research and development in Africa? Howcan Africa organise itself to take full advantage of available opportunities and to minimise possiblethreats?The conference was organised by the All Africa Society for Animal Production (AASAP) inassociation with the Tanzania Society for Animal Production (TSAP). We would like to expressour gratitude to the sponsors of the conference. Special thanks are due to the Government of theUnited Republic of Tanzania which was a major sponsor and also host of the conference, presentersand authors of papers and posters, our colleagues on the organising committee, institutions,groups and individuals who assisted in one way or the other, and everyone who attended theconference.While the following pages provide a good coverage of the proceedings of the conference, theydo not, indeed could not, cover the sense of enthusiasm and commitment that characterised theconference itself. Contributions were critical, open and frank, but also constructive and objectivein content. The conference atmosphere was truly that of a sense of purpose by a people united toaccomplish a task, i.e. to translate the potential of biotechnology for Africa into improvedlivelihoods for Africa’s people. The collegial atmosphere also provided opportunity for networkingby participants from across the continent and with colleagues from other corners of the globe.Many new friendships were made, old ones strengthened/renewed, and collaborations born. Wehave made no attempt to summarise the outcomes of the wide array of discussions on the manypapers presented in the six sessions of the conference. After the conference, presenters wereasked to submit or revise their papers, taking into account the issues raised during the conferencediscussions. The papers were then subjected to light technical reviews and language editing, thusensuring that the intellectual content remains that of the authors.It is our hope that these proceedings will provide useful reference material for those interested inbiotech applications in animal agriculture in developing countries generally and Africa inparticular.



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