Monday 19 November 2018


Greetings to you dear readers,
Science and technology is an area that has been a great driver propelling the Nation into a middle income country despite many challenges faced.
It's important that one recognizes and appreciates the efforts by government to fund, promote and encourage citizens to embrace science, to that, I'm grateful.
However, scientists have worked towards designing products and finding solutions at a low financial and legal support from government and the community, it's a shame to all those that speak loudly for science yet they never concentrate on the burning issues in the field that I today think are lack of funds and legal frameworks
While in the lab, scientists make it practical for our wishes to be put into reality, there has been a number of technologies developed that have turned the world into a better place to live.
Failure for them to have happened, we would have been too late to stand up against the consequences of not being modern such as our environment becoming inhabitable, means of communication not being reliable, resources and knowledge being insufficient to initiate problem solving.
I will put up a few issues in the field of biotechnology that I think should be addressed sooner than later if our scientists are to feel relevant.

Biotechnology in policy; A case of Uganda
Uganda is a contracting party to the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) whose aim as stated in Article 1 of the protocol is to  contribute to ensuring an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health, and specifically focusing on trans-boundary movements.
This in simple terms aims at protecting humans and biodiversity (the variety of plant and animal life) from potential harm as a result of living modified organisms and to also regulate their movement across country boundaries.
Uganda is also a contracting party to the Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) that requires signatories to take appropriate means including legal and administrative to regulate, manage or control the risks associated with utilization of living modified organisms.
Both of these international agreements demand that Uganda takes keen interest in matters concerning biosafety and manipulation of biodiversity.
To better effect these agreements, a local biotechnology and biosafety law is mandatory to ensure the safe application of biotechnology and protection of the ever decreasing biodiversty lost to developments associated with high population.
Without this law in place, genetically modified (GM) crops are not released to farmers and consumers due to safety concerns thus research will not benefit the nation since all developments will end in confinement fields.
It is a daily heartbreak for our local scientists that invested a lot in their education and research, only to develop solutions that meet resistance.
These GM crops are tailored to solve the real challenges of a developing country, you can read my previous posts to learn more about the potential benefits.
In my view, I think that for as long as an innovation has been assessed for risks and benefits, with so the results being beneficiary with little or no harm, such an innovation be accepted.
This assessment should be legal and arrived at by a consensus that involves policy makers, scientists and the benefiting community.
Scientists need the right laws to feel relevant and speed up inventions.
The regulatory law aside, the issue of intellectual property rights in Uganda is so unexplored and looked at as if it belongs to the next decade.
Musicians came up to demand copyright on their pieces but there has been no positive response in three years now.
I think people need to be educated on intellectual property rights such that they accept them for inventors to directly benefit from their ideas and own them.
These issues regarding law if tackled serve as an incentive to encourage invention.

Funding in Uganda is limited across most of the sectors, however, In my observation, emergencies are well funded, which is a beautiful thing. It somehow suggests that we need a to be acted upon by a really big force to get us moving in the direction we should have taken without any force.
A lot of research goes on in other countries that people would consider useless yet it will be useful in a short time when it provides a solution that can't be found overnight under tight demand.
I want to agree that we have limited funds to do research that we wont benefit from in the near future, however, we are faced with challenges that scientists aim to solve but are constrained by under-funding from government.
The "big jackpot" funds availed for research are from foreign organizations with predetermined areas of research that do not necessarily address the challenges Ugandans face.
Makerere university is regarded one of the best research institutions, this in itself implies that we have skilled man power and still producing more only to be exported to other countries.

Delaying right laws in science delays useful innovation.

Daka Anthony

Thursday 15 February 2018


There is usually a point of no return but not in relation to activism especially where you have people's interests at heart. For a long time there has been a desire by the President to improve agriculture which he believes is the back bone of Uganda's economy, of course we have heard this but does it add up to a level that we can be proud of? Of course not, we export products that are unfinished, of low standard, with poor technology to keep them fresh until they reach the best market and worst of all policing has its own many weaknesses.
Basically with all these loop holes you can not convince the majority to believe that agriculture contributes to our economy the percentage it really should be contributing.
I find it difficult figuring out why the president that wanted the Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill passed would return it to parliament after the legislators had finally put a tick on it.
 There are a whole lot of departments that are keeping quiet with the solutions, for a science cause, let me speak out for the scientists, the biotechnologists.
As you may have read my previous articles, there are advantages of GMOs that I listed and today I want us to focus on how best they can boost how much the farmer and country can earn.
There was a complain about GMO propagules (what is planted to grow into a new plant), that when you plant the seeds for example, they will grow but will not germinate if the harvested seeds are planted. This is called gene termination technology and it is a kind of copyright. It is so unfortunate that Ugandans would have a problem with this, it's a culture we have developed of wanting to have things free over and over again, let us get into the world of bills where you make money with money. Gene termination technology prevents the contamination of non GMO crops, this is an answer to the president's worry about traditional species possibly going extinct, however, even before you think about their extinction, we have been conserving these plants in research labs by germplasm conservation. Like I usually say, the scientist is more scared than you are but the main difference is that we provide the solutions that you end up understanding as problems.
The GMO has a higher harvest output and less input. Look at this scenario, you buy these seeds, plant them and do not spray, you experience a faster growth and you are least affected by climate change, and when you harvest, it is a jackpot of returns. Why on earth with all that saving and big returns on investment would a farmer fail to buy seeds for the next planting season?  Is it the business mind of calculating profits lacking?
There is also the advantage of increasing the shelf life of perishables so that the products reach the market without having post harvest losses due to ripening, rotting or wilting depending on the produce in question.
The remaining task is left to the legislators to make policies that will benefit the farmers, they are tired of farming with no returns.
The science is there, everything is set and only awaiting you to change our negativity or consider research in Uganda doomed. One thing people should know is that legislators could be asking the wrong people or the wrong legislators asking the right people, the former is coupled with a knowledge gap that would yield less or no impact their final decision.
I will refer you to watch the documentary film Food Evolution on Amazon Video, Hulu, iTunes, just click on those links.  The documentary shows you how biotechnology has saved farmers even after its initial heavy criticism.
Have a great time as you embrace biotechnology for sustainability.

Bsc In Biotechnology

Saturday 28 October 2017


 As many of you are already equipped with the information that the parliament of the Republic of Uganda finally passed the Uganda National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill into law, this shows how much interest we have in solving global bio-science related challenges. This came after years of some Honorable members singing their usual song titled "bill requires more research and time to understand" The bill had been tabled a number of times so the speaker requested them to go read articles at the Science and technology dept at parliament. Thank God they understood the bill this time round and passed it into law. I recommend that inquiries into any bill regarding science be conducted by MPs with a scientific background to enable quicker and efficient interpretation of information gathered.

To avail biotechnology products to the public, there should be a national legal framework that protects the consumer and environment this being a law aimed at ensuring safe use of biotechnology in the country. This is demanded for by the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) to which Uganda is a signatory.
In Uganda the first meeting about bio-safety was convened in march 1994 by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) and then the National Bio-safety Committee(NBC) was formed in 1996 that drafted the biotechnology bill immediately.
Biosafety here refers to the need to protect human health and the environment from the possible adverse effects of the products of modern biotechnology.
April 2008; The first success in biotechnology is received and this was the approval of the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy. This was aimed at promoting biotechnology research. This came five years after H.E YK Museveni opened the first National Biotechnology center at Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute. Agriculture has been a sector the president has put on emphasis in all of his terms and we give him credit for having wanted the National Biotechnology And Biosafety Bill passed earlier than 2017.
Many NGOs created awareness and put pressure on the legal minds to adopt biotechnology, these include Uganda Biotechnology And Biosafety Consortium (UBBC), Uganda Biosciences Information Centre (Ubic) among others.
And finally the bill was passed into law and forwarded to the president.

Scientists upon completion of research will be free to release products to consumers after being proven harmless to human health. With these products ranging from pharmaceuticals, plants among others will solve many of the challenges the country faces. From confined fields to our world, the farmer will have that banana wilt resistant banana soon and the army worm will be eradicated too.
A lot of research has been ongoing for so many years thus from the table below, many products are expected to be up for grab.

Till next time, biotechnology for sustainability.

Bsc In Biotechnology
Makerere University

Sunday 1 October 2017


Hello readers,

I have had overwhelming joy over the new ministry- Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations, further more, the choice of such a well informed minister (Hon Dr Elioda Tumwesigye). All we can say is congratulations Uganda. We can see a much more brighter future in the field of science now more than ever before, however, lets get started on the subject matter.
In a long time i haven't had simple arguments about the savior technology-biotechnology. its very ridiculous that majority of the masses can't state a single correct sentence about biotechnology in this day and era where we have all information at our fingertips, the internet and our now many science professors to consult.
I won't be bitter with all those that know only the theoretical dangers(no scientific practical proof written so far) of biotechnology after all a lot of resources have been effectively spent on feeding them with bad food for the soul about biotechnology.
The reason as to why the anti biotechnology group has risen this much is because they have let the masses think its all about plants and specifically GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), I at at times think they will soon change it to Genetically Modified Plants (GMPs) to better suit their arguments and defenses tabled because they will definitely lose the battle when the technology is looked at as a whole.
Now dear readers, biotechnology is a technology you rely on daily and trust me avoiding it will lead to a complicated life where basic problems wont be solved.
Biotechnology is not just about plants!! this is a so much broad field you are relying on to spread evil about it, lets  put this GMO thing aside and we focus on other bio technologies by quietly answering the following;
Do you have diabetes and you are taking insulin injections?
Do you brew or take alcohol?
Have you tested for cancer or you are about to do so?
Do you have a genetic disorder that was put right or yet to be? (Genetic disorder is a complication you inherit from parents such as sickle cells, diabetes mellitus, cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease among others)
And by the way have you ever needed to do a paternity test?
Your answer is definitely yes to one of the questions above, if not so then you know many people that will answer yes. Now thank the scientist that fights hard for the above benefits to be brought to you under regulation, the Uganda Biotechnology And Biosafety Bill, 2012 is that one bill you should applaud and accept to be passed in the Ugandan parliament.

Looking at the controversial issue (GMOs) which some people have based on to trash the bill.
Many GMOs have been developed over time to solve;
  • nutritional problems
  • climate change
  • low soil fertility
  • treatment of diseases
  • increase farm output
  • environmental challenges
  • poor breeds
It's so absurd that despite having proven these benefits achievable and harmless to human life, baseless  information is being accepted to suggest that these are harmful.
Of recent, rural homes have been sprayed with DDT to curb malaria, the army worm has been trending in maize farms and the solution was heavy spraying, worse still, this didn't produce the desired results. Is this intensive spraying having less or no effect on human life and the environment? Of course no, the effects can be stated by a non scientist too. Now the GMOs say we don't need spraying, its a matter of us being accepted.
Insulin is produced by a GM(Genetically Modified) bacterium, and then you have insulin injected into you but would not consume a GM plant? Are we being superstitious? conserved? wrongly indoctrinated?
I highly agree that wrong indoctrination about biotechnology is the problem, this is the reason as to why we are working this much to bridge the knowledge gap between the scientists and the beneficiaries to be.
Untill nwxt time, Biotechnology for sustainability. Thank you.
Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Daka Anthony
Bsc In Biotechnolgy
Makerere University Kampala

Wednesday 23 November 2016


In all aspects of life, you benefit from the works of biotech whose benefits can be discussed under the following branches of biotech;
1. Agricultural/Green Biotech
Crops do not naturally have all the traits(characteristics) a farmer needs, genetic engineering modifies crops by adding particular beneficial traits  making them genetically modified organisms(GMOs), crops in particular.
These transgenic crops have the following advantages over the usual crops;
  • Drought resistant
  • Pest and disease resistant
  • Fast yielding
  • Greater yields
  • Use more carbon dioxide this cleaning the air
2. Environmental/Blue Biotech
Micro organisms are used to degrade and process wastes.
With the advantages of GMOs listed above, pesticide and herbicide application is minimised.
These mean that the environment is saved from having so many chemicals.

3. Medical/Red Biotech
People react to medicine differently due to the difference in genotype(a sequence that determines an organism's characteristics). Biotech ensures that Incase a particular medicine is not working for you, an appropriate one is designed through pharmacogenomics to increase efficiency when adminstered to a patient.
Before 1978, insulin(hormone that reduces sugar level in blood) was extracted from pigs' pancreas and injected into humans, disgusting??? yes, thanks to biotech, insulin is now manufactured on large scale and it's cheaper to treat diabetes now than then.
You doubt if that child is yours or not?? don't accuse all of your friends and neighbors, a DNA test can be run to confirm who the true biological parent is, it's about biotech. 
Detection and treatment of genetic diseases/disorders, the most common being sickle cell anemia.
Antibiotics are also manufuctered by application of biotech.

4. Industrial/White biotech
Here, micro organisms have been used for industrial benefits, manufacturing products such as beer, food and chemicals.
A process, fermentation is one of the earliest biotech application since it involves use of life to make products.
Another important biotech application is biogas production, the safe energy source.

Looking at the current situation, people starving, malnutritioned yet they do farming.
Believe me with this global warming, climate change, the crops we are growing need to be modernised to cope up with the changes in climate.
Why suffer with hunger now because you fear the future effects of GMOs, you will not make it there.
Embrace Biotechnology.

Daka Anthony
Makerere University Kampala

Friday 11 November 2016



I am DAKA ANTHONY, a biotechnologist who loves what he does and would like you to join hands wake up to embrace the good fruits of biotechnology.
Biotechnology(Biotech in short) is a science that manipulates living organisms for the good. These include manufactur of drugs/medicines, genetically modified organisms(GMOs the controversial issue), industrial science(eg brewing), and so many other applications I will be discussing here.
Thank you and I look forward to having your support in this extremely beneficial science.