ABI StepOne Real -time PCR machine
The cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops has increased significantly over the last decade. This increase in production has been combined with a complex global regulatory approval process for GM products. This has necessitated the need for testing and analysis of food, feed or seed in order to facilitate international trade and ensures compliance with local legislations.

The Molecular Biology Laboratory offers a GMO testing service and is ISO 17025 accredited with state - of - the art equipment and highly skilled personnel. The GMO testing service makes use of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method which allows direct analysis of DNA. It is cost-effective, accurate and allows rapid detection and identification if present of GMO events in tobacco, food and feed, and other plant and animal products. The laboratory is connected to a global network of laboratories for standardization of testing methods and consistency of results. The ISO 17025 accredited Laboratory at Kutsaga Research Station provides advisory services on genetically modified crops and their products.

Molecular Diagnostics

Rapid and accurate diagnosis of plant health problems is essential for disease management strategies. Molecular Biology Laboratory performs a wide range of diagnostic nucleic acid-based tests for selected pathogens affecting agricultural crops. Through appropriate use of high throughput technology we are able to provide faster turnaround times ensuring quality of the result. Some of the high quality validated tools include:

• Reverse transcriptase PCR
• Qualitative PCR
• Quantitative PCR using ABI StepOne real time PCR platform

DNA fingerprinting

Method used for determining uniqueness of plants in variety identification based on the DNA profile.

DNA, the genetic material present in all living organisms is unique to each individual like fingerprints. To evaluate the genetic make up of an organism, the DNA can be mapped using a technique known as DNA fingerprinting. Tobacco as an example has nearly all the DNA of one variety identical to all other tobacco varieties, only small specific regions of the total DNA are useful for the purpose of tobacco variety identification. Analysis of these specific regions, referred to as DNA markers, produces the DNA profile or "DNA Fingerprint". To identify the variety, the DNA profile of the client's sample is matched to a reference DNA profile of the same variety.

DNA fingerprinting can have far reaching influence in preventing the fraudulent commerce of plant material and in protecting plant breeder’s rights and sole grower rights. Results are typically ready in three to four weeks