Iran-Lebanon Plant Biotech Cooperation

Iran-Lebanon Plant Biotech CooperationIran-Lebanon Plant Biotech Cooperation

A well-equipped ‘plant biotechnology laboratory’ was opened at the Lebanese National University in Beirut, as part of the scientific agreement with Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, on Sunday.

Chancellor of the Lebanese university Adnan Sayed Hussein, Iran’s Ambassador to Beirut Mohammad Fathali, representative of Shahid Beheshti University Ebrahim Zargar, and a number of Iranian and Lebanese university professors and students attended the opening ceremony, IRNA reported.

According to Zargar, the laboratory establishment “is in line with the additional tasks of the Shahid Beheshti University (founded in 1959) to launch its ‘Plant Biotechnology’ master’s and PhD programs at the Lebanese university (founded in 1953).

Officials from the two universities also discussed possible areas of further bilateral cooperation in the fields of training, research as well as exchange of professors and research scholars.

Appreciating the Iranian university’s efforts in launching the biotechnology lab, Sayed Hussein said, “We will fulfill our commitments in this regard towards the Iranian university.”

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Abbas Saeedi, director of biotechnology at Shahid Beheshti University said, “Scientific cooperation between the two universities started five years ago. During this period we launched the new plant biotechnology program at the Lebanese university.”

“Every year, Iranian faculty visits the university to teach Lebanese students.”The courses are held in both Iran and Lebanon and students are given dual degree certificates, issued by both the universities.”

The funding for equipping the laboratory was provided by Lebanon, and the Iranian university offered scientific advice in its construction.

The 50 students in the program are all instructed by Iranian professors. As part of the exchange program, this year (started March 20), seven Lebanese students were accepted by the Shahid Beheshti University.

Plant biotechnology can be defined as the introduction of desirable traits into plants through genetic modification (GM) or genetic engineering (GE) and mutagenesis.

Genetic engineering is a set of laboratory-based methods used to change the genetic makeup of cells by removing, moving or transferring genes within and between plants.

Mutagenesis is a process where the genes of an organism are altered. This process occurs in nature, but plant breeders can accelerate the alteration of a plant’s genes experimentally by the use of chemicals or radiation. Mutagenesis as a science was developed in the first half of the 20th century and many of today’s varieties of crops have been derived using it.