AUB signs MoU with ICARDA to enhance quality of crop and agricultural research
- Lebanon: Thursday, January 10 - 2013 at 09:43
- PRESS RELEASE
The American University of Beirut signed on January 7, 2013, a memorandum of understanding with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), research center, with the purpose of enhancing research and training on the topic of crop breeding.
"By using biotechnology, we can enhance the efficiency of traditional breeding methods without resorting to genetic engineering or introducing foreign genes into crop varieties," explained Mahmoud el-Solh, director-general of ICARDA, which works towards food security, poverty alleviation, and protection of natural resources in dry areas.
The MOU will also help AUB offer specialized training programmes in agriculture to its undergraduate and graduate students at FAFS, while supporting agricultural research at the University's Agricultural Research and Education Center (AREC) in the Bekaa region.
In addition to research and training cooperation, ICARDA and AUB will establish a gene bank at AREC, which will conserve a large sample of crop varieties that are about to become obsolete or extinct. These varieties, though of low yields, have desirable traits that are worth studying and conserving.
ICARDA already owns one of the largest gene banks in the region in Aleppo, with more than 140,000 crop varieties.
"As we are committed to serving the region and producing quality research, we stand to benefit tremendously from such a cooperation with ICARDA," said AUB Provost Ahmad Dallal. "Our ongoing and long-term goals are to offer high quality training to our students, contribute to knowledge production, and develop advanced and specialized degree programmes in agriculture," he added.
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