President of Iranian Genetics Society says significant advances were made in genetics in the past Iranian year (ended March 20) including the authorization of two genetics drugs for marketing and the unveiling of Bt cotton.
Mahmoud Tavallaei told Mehr News the Genetics Society has more than 65 years of history in Iran and has made some significant advances in genetics in the past Iranian year; “as of today, good capacities have been made in the fields of plant genetics, animal genetics and even human genetics,” said Tavallaei, adding 60 scientific centers are presently active in genetic areas in the country.
The unveiling of Iran’s first genetically modified Bt cotton on the sidelines of the First International and 9th National Biotechnology Congress (from 24-26 May, 2015) was one of the most important events for Iran’s Genetics Society, said Tavallaei.
“This technology will increase the amount of harvest up to 5-7 times more than the current amount,” he said.
He added that two drugs in the field of biotechnology were also unveiled in the past year; “Trastuzumab (trade name Herceptin) for treating breast cancer and Factor VIII for treating patients with hemophilia are the two drugs that were authorized for marketing in the last year.”
‘Solaleh’ Genetics Laboratory also became operational in 2015. According to Tavallaei, the less privileged families can have their hemophilia and thalassemia-related tests there free of charge.
He further maintained that Nour Genetic Research Center was mostly focused on genetic identification of unknown martyred soldiers of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, saying “we managed to identify 40 unknown martyred soldiers in 2014. This number was doubled in 2015.”
Iran has made rapid advancements in biotechnology in the past two decades. Pharmaceutical biotechnology has advanced to a degree that the country is exporting biotech medicinal drugs abroad including Europe, and there have been contracts for technology transfer to other countries.