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Thursday, June 17, 2010
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Jute genome decoded

Golden fibre to become healthy, high yielding, weather-tolerant; Hawaii-based Bangladeshi scientist leads team to landmark discovery

Maqsudul Alam

Bangladeshi researchers have successfully decoded the jute plant genome opening up a new vista in the development of variety of the world's most adorned biodegradable natural fibre.

Experts said this gene sequencing would help improve the fibre length and quality, including colours and strength; and develop high yielding, saline soil- and pest-tolerant jute varieties through genetic engineering.

With the successful sequencing of jute genome, Bangladesh becomes only the second country after Malaysia, among the developing nations, to achieve such a feat.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the announcement of Bangladesh's scientific achievement in the parliament yesterday amid cheers and desk thumping by lawmakers.

Researchers from Dhaka University, Bangladesh Jute Research Institute and Software Company DataSoft in collaboration with Centre for Chemical Biology, University of Science, Malaysia and University of Hawaii, USA have decoded the genome.

Bangladeshi scientist Maqsudul Alam, a professor of the University of Hawaii, who earlier decoded the genome of papaya in the US and rubber plant in Malaysia, led from the forefront in sequencing the jute genome.

Maqsudul told The Daily Star over telephone yesterday evening, "This is a great accomplishment not only for Bangladesh but for the whole world." He refused to comment any further saying there would be a formal address to the press today (Thursday).

Dubbing it a historic scientific advancement, Sheikh Hasina told the parliament this would redeem the lost glory of the "golden fibre" as gene mapping of jute would now help breeders develop jute varieties resistant to pests and climatic adversities.

She said genome sequencing would help redeem the lost glory of our jute and jute products, immensely contribute to our economy and help transform jute fibre into the golden fibre and bring smiles to millions of jute farmers.

Jute genome sequencing initiative began in February, 2008 when Maqsudul started exploring the possibilities with several Bangladeshi scientists and academics. The whole process was kicked off with many long conference calls between Maqsudul and plant molecular biologists, Prof Haseena Khan and Prof Zeba Seraj of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Dhaka University. Then the lead researcher had several meetings with Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury.

Genome sequence represents a valuable shortcut, helping scientists find genes much more easily and quickly. A genome sequence allows scientists identify and understand how genes work together for the plant's different features like growth, development and maintenance as an entire organism. This allows them to manipulate the genes and enhance, reduce or add certain features of the plant.

Contacted, Zeba Seraj of DU told The Daily Star, "As against three billion genetic letters in human genome, jute has one billion. And sequencing of jute genome will open up a new vista of possibilities."

Jute is the second largest fibre crop in terms of cultivation next to cotton. Bangladesh is the world's second-largest producer of jute, after India, and the world's largest exporter of the fibre.

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Congratulations. This is Great news for our country, the land of the golden fibre.

: Chowdhury Irad Ahmed Siddiky

This proves that our Peoples can do anything.Because ours have the ability.But the problem is that their is lack of proper nursing.Our IT section is also improving and they should get proper guides to do something.

: Shakil Ahmed


  • Opee Monir
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 12:46 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    This is news of great hope and truly we shall call this one as first digital Bangladesh achievement. It has the greatest potential of all which has the capability to revolutionise the social & financial structure of Bangladesh. I congratulate Sheikh Hasina & Motia Chowdhury.

    Decoding the Jute genome, may we call it DNA profiling to make it simple to understand in general. First of all we have to make sure of its security. Making it patented does not ensure its safeguarding, intellectual property right is very much vague?

    To begin with it will bring our dependence on raw cotton to a bare minimum and the new soften jute fibre will open a new horizon for our RMG sector. Combined RMG sector should come forward immediately with huge fund to invest in the infrastructure which Dr. Maqsudul Alam was mentioning.

    Congratulations Bangladesh!

  • S.M. J@nn@T
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 12:49 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Towards the POLYTHENE free PLANET,the Earth.

    May ALLAH keep your health sound always all ways. we are really proud of you. Take our best regards

  • farul usa
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 01:23 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    congratulation Dr Maqsudul Alam. amother Bangladeshi feat after everest conquare by musa ibrahim.

  • Rhyme
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 01:53 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Great Work...

  • baz
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 03:05 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Mr. Alam, a graduate of both best university and institute of Russia Germany.Max-Planck-Institute)

    Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.

    As myself graduated from former USSR and Canada went to Bangladesh and many Bangladeshi institutions denied many graduates from former USSR, because they, means western graduate professors and stuffs in our country think that russian graduates are inferiors and do not worth at all, why many graduating from Russia are working with great achievement in the west, where Russian degrees are not aliens to them. I know many of our graduates are here in the west are professors, scientists and specialists here.

    Congratulation Maksud Bhai

  • Thursday, June 17, 2010 03:58 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    You bring us PRIDE !!! Great JOB !

  • James Swapan Peris
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 04:30 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    From thousands miles away of Bangladesh I would like to say,'Great' and yes we can make it.We are the decendant of Scientist Jagadish Chandra Basu and many other great Bengalis. Hope and pray for the further success of my Mother land, Bangladesh.

  • Rashed
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 05:24 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)


  • M. S. Ahsan
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 05:54 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Such an uplifting news amid some recent events which affected our image abroad. After a number of successful research and development of high yielding rice varieties suted to specific weather and other situations by our own scientists this success would be a huge boost to the golden fibre. It is all the more important now as the whole perspective regarding production and marketing of jute has started to look up for some wise policy measures taken by the government. Congratulations Dr. Alam and your team, wish you many more such successes.

  • Hasan A Rouf.
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 07:07 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Congratulations to our scientists for such an achievement.Thanks to our PM for breaking the news in the parliament giving due importance to this achievement.

  • Antik
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 07:54 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    I hail the discovery and am hopeful about the prospects of jute in Bangladesh. However, I do not see how this is a Bangladeshi achievement. True, the researcher may be Bangladeshi. But he used US university facilities and resources to make this finding. Bangladeshi institutions/universities were not involved.

  • Habibul ABri Shozib
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 07:58 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Assalamualaikum.Congratulation to Maqsudul Alam Sir and his winning team members of Sapnajattra.Excellent piece of research for Bangladesh.Alhamdullilah.

    May Allah bless them all.

    Allah hafaz


  • Nasirullah Mridha,USA
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 08:26 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    We hope this significant achievement will be bring back our lost glory of jute.BNP government had shut down a lot of jute mills.consequently this sector faced a big bang.present government should utilize the feedback of our scientist.Hats off to Mr.Mahqsudul Alam.

  • Nishat
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 08:27 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Congratulations! It is a great achievement for our country.

  • Debashis
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 08:59 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Wonderful. It will open new era in the development of Jute industry. Hope it will be utilized properly and farely. In future we expect more fund in science and technology.

  • Thursday, June 17, 2010 09:08 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Congratulations Dr. Maqsudul Alam. Wishing your more brilliant success in Genetic Engineering. Hope one day you will flourish Bangladesh in the world

  • Jahidul Islam
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 11:19 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    It is a great achievement for our country, it will now prove that we can do. Thanks to all scientists who are in this project and especially biochemists in Dhaka University.

  • Md.Sarwar kamal
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 10:37 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    It is very happy news for us that Bangladeshi scientiest discover outstanding acievement.

    As a computer Engineer i want to participate this research field.

  • Ahmed A Azad
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 12:07 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    This is the start of a new dawn that shows what can be achieved when people are able to work cooperatively and adopt a multidisciplinary approach to scienific research. The journy has just begun and I hope we are prepared for the hard slog ahead that will propel us into a new age of science and technology.

    My heartiest congratulations and thanks to the entire team; Dr. Maksudal Alam who works in Hawaii and Penang but whose heart remains in Bangladesh; Dr. Haseena Khan, her close collaborator Dr. Zeba Seraj, their students and colleagues in the Department of Biochemistry at Dhaka University who have continued to do very good research in the face of unsurmountable difficulties; the unheralded Jute Reserach Institute that has the world's largest and best collection of jute genetic stocks; Mr. Mahbub Zaman and his team at Datasoft who were prepared to take up this challege and provide IT support showing how the private sector can work in partnership with the universities and government.

    My gratitude to Begum Motia Chowdhury who took the courageous step to provide the necessary fund for a very risky and completely new venture, and my thanks to the PM for making the announcement in parliament.

    Finally my thanks to fellow biotechnologists in the Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists (GNOBB and its moderator Prof. Ahmad Shamsul Islam) which has provided moral support to this venture, and to The Daily Star which has provided me with generous space to propagate views on the need for collaborative and multidisciplinary research in areas of national priority. Let us hope this is a new beginning and the effort will be sustained with the support of the government.

    Ahmed Azad

    Former Member, Council of Scientific Advisers, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB).

    Thursday, June 17, 2010 10:41 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Great news for us, congratulations to our scientist mr Maqsudul Alam, we now want to see it's applications in our country.

  • K. M. Rasel
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 11:27 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    No doubt this is a great news but the opposite of the coin is why this kind of scientific research are not held in our own land. Why government has no budget for research purpose which may be the wheel of development.

  • Md. Shofiqul Islam
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 11:32 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Congratulation to Dr. Maqsud! It is obvious that he shows our ability to performing good research. Scientists from Bangladesh (across the globe) are doing excellent. But it is quite difficult to do at home (Bangladesh) due to inadequate sophisticated instrument and funding. There are too many potential human resources in Bangladesh, and we can prove our Excellency. We need only good policy and support. Again, I congratulate Dr. Maqsud and his team.

    University of the Ryukyus


  • Md. Taz Uddin
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 12:46 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Congrats Maqsudul Alam. Congrats Bangladesh. May be we are passing very good times now. Frequent leading news made by the heroic sons of this land are being seen. I as a citizen of this land feeling now enormous proud. Yes, we can. Give us chance, we will prove our competency.

  • Tanvir Morshed
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 01:06 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Congratulations! Salute! I'm really proud of my country and the countrymen.

  • Mr R.R
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 01:54 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Good,well done. Definitely the people of BD are capable to do something in research and technology development. We should develop the technology locally even a small lock to prompt the BD in prosperous and good country in the world. Look to Malaysia,China, japan, India, Singapore all they are producing technology locally and developing their country but in BD we are not doing that. The university teachers should take research project and should do some technology development in country and government should take initiative to implement any successful research to its outcome and finally to deliver it to the people hand. The research should be encouraged on public interest, I mean what we need what people need and what need the farmer. If BD were developed the technology then It could be a new window to open employment opportunity ,rapid economical growth and self dependency of us. The university teacher could do lot of for BD but in Bd the most of professors are busy only with class and political activities no research project no research and development work. So go ahead and make research group and work hard to save our BD.

  • Thursday, June 17, 2010 01:56 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    why not essentials for living..foods

  • Md. Siddiqur rahman
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 02:24 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Congratulations on the revolutionary success. You are a pride of the nation. The global Jute Sector will be immensely benefitted.

  • Salma
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 02:44 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Undoubtedly, great news ! But we have to go long way to reach the destination. The next steps are to produce genetically engineered jute plants which have to be cultivated to the farmers level. This just creates new windows. At the same time our local institutions should reinforced to do such type of research with the help of foreign donors. Then this genome sequence result would be fruitful. Other wise it would be a triumph for a moment.


    South Korea

  • Yameen Mazumder
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 02:52 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    A breakthrough of great significance! The implication of this would have far reaching positive consequence both in social and economic terms provided Bangladesh takes on the challenge of exporting the product to the global market professionally. Great news!

  • Arnob Saha
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 04:48 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago) our scientists for such a great achievements.

    We are proud of you.

  • A.H. Pasha
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 04:39 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Great news for Bangladesh indeed. It shows that our scientists and researchers are capable of doing top class research. Jute was gradually losing its pre-eminent role that it once played in our economy. If the research findings can be replicated at the field level then jute may regain its lost glory. Farmers will be encouraged to produce more jute, as this will ensure more income. Ultimately the national economy will be benefited. Government assistance is urgently needed for such research that helps the economy, and our neglected farmers. Congratulations to the whole team for this success. Congratulations to the Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury for helping the group financially and encouraging them in their pursuit.

  • H M Borhanul Alam
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 04:36 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Congratulation to Dr M Alam and all the proud members of his research team for their great success in sequencing the genome of Jute. Bangladesh feels proud for your achievement. Well-done!

  • Pallab
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 04:13 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    It's good to see that intelligent people also make headlines now-a-days in our newspapers. Congrats to the scientists involved in this project.

  • Md. Delowar Hossain
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 03:31 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Congratulations all team member. This is good news for BANGLADESHI farmers. They will be benefited.

  • Engr. Nafiz Ahmed khan
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 11:54 AM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    Many congratulations to you & your team for making us proud. You really remind us that we can deliver something World-class.

  • Concerned Citizen
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 12:36 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    It will become GREAT NEWS only when we manage to reap the economic and the financial benefits from this landmark achievement. To date all we have done is become emotional, and closed down its production units. Can we now produce it, market it and make money out? Can't call it golden fiber if we can't make gold out of it!

  • ST hossain
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 12:18 PM GMT+06:00 (295 weeks ago)

    This is not only beneficial for our jute farmers but also inspiring for molecular students of the country.





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