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CU feat in cloning of prawns Boon for export sector

INDIA - A Centrally-aided research project of the Calicut University Zoology department has made a path-breaking feat in the field of genetic engineering and cloning, which can have a tremendous impact in the export of prawns, the countrys major source of foreign exchange.

Aided by the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT) under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology, this 3-year research project in cloning has successfully isolated two growth regulating genes in the giant fresh water prawns (macro brachium rosenbergii) at the university laboratory.

"Now the clone is at our disposal which has to undergo further procedures of genetic engineering before it can be introduced in prawns," principal investigator K V Lazar, a reader with the Zoology department, told this website's newspaper. A report on the successful completion of the first phase has already been handed over to the DBT.

The Rs 33-lakh project aims to generate giant prawns of a different nature from the usual fresh water prawns, combining the technologies in genetic engineering and cloning. The growth regulating genes in the prawns could be replaced through cloning leading to a new variety of prawns with extra-ordinary growth rate, Lazar said.

With another one-and-a-half years left for the completion of the project, he expects prompt introduction of the clone in prawns that would help the country to take a major leap in the export sector.