University of Ilorin’s Institute of Molecular Science and Biotechnology (UIMSB), will be contributing 10,000 genomes to the 100 million genome project in the next five years.
Dr Kolawole Matthew, the Ag. Director of the institute, made the disclosure in Ilorin on Tuesday while declaring open the annual workshop on Biomedical Innovation and Research Commercialization.
A genome is all the genetic information of an organism. For example, the human genome is analogous to the instructions stored in a cookbook. Just as a cookbook gives the instructions needed to make a range of meals including a holiday feast or a summer picnic.
The programme was organised by the institute in conjunction with the Laboratory and the Product Centre of the University.
According to him, the action makes the university to become the first institution in the whole of Sub-Sahara Africa to attain the feat.
The researcher described genome as `a genetic information of an organism’.
He said that the human genome contained all the instructions needed to make the full range of human cell types including muscle cells or neurons.
According to him, the development of new technologies has made genome sequencing dramatically cheaper and easier, and the number of complete genome sequences is growing rapidly.
Kolawole said: “Before the death of the famous Steve Jobs, the Co-founder of Apple, he donated $100,000 USD to sequence the genome of the cancer that killed him.
“About 13 years ago, the United States Government spent about $3 billion USD and produced in returns one trillion US dollars in economic impact to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) through the human genome project”.
The director, however, lamented that African research institutes, and Nigeria in particular, had not keyed into these advancements.
He said that the institute was determined as part of its major goals to contribute 10,000 genomes to the 100 million genome project in the next five years, thereby becoming the first institute in the whole Sub-Saharan Africa to attain the feat”.
According to him, this might sound not achievable knowing full well that sequencing a single genome cost about $1,000, and sequencing 10,000 genomes would cost $10 million.
Mathew disclosed that the institute was making frantic collaborative efforts with international bodies and notable organisations like Inqaba Biotech West Africa (Africa Genomic Company) towards making the quest possible.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof Sulyman Abdulkareem said that it would explore new frontiers in the area of molecular biology with a view to producing world class researchers within the next few years.
He observed that recent advances in medicine, agriculture and biomedical engineering were strongly linked to molecular science and biotechnology.
Abdulkareem reiterated that the University was devoting resources to research in those fields to increase the outputs that would provide immediate solutions to the problems of food insufficiency, environmental degradation and health care challenges.