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Kazakhstan′s state sci-tech policy views development of biotechnologies as a top priority. National Biotechnology Centre (NBC) is the largest scientific institution in the country, carrying out top-level research in the field of biotechnology. NBC develops advanced technologies for healthcare, agriculture, environment protection, food and processing industries.

NBC’s major innovation projects:

HLA typing and genetic diversity study
200 Kazakh patients underwent genotyping. For the first time, complete mtDNA genomes of 20 people were decoded, that enabled tracing of the maternal origin up to the first humans who lived 200,000 years ago. The diagnostic test-system was developed. Further research will be focused on determination of genetic specifications of the chosen gene pool.

Development of molecular approaches to more rational drug administration
For the first time in Kazakhstan, test system using standard DNA sequencing techniques was developed. It includes cytochromes and vitamin K antagonist enzymes. In thrombosis therapy, the system will enable to determine optimal dose of Warfarin for each individual patient.

Development of molecular genetic methods for identification of M. tuberculosis strain drug-resistance
Mutations responsible for multiple drug resistance of Kazakhstani M.tuberculosis strains were studied. Data on gene mutations responsible for the resistance to rifampicin and INH was collected. 17 different variations of mutations were identified in the correspondent genes. Multiresistant and rifampicin-resistant M.tuberculosis strains found in Kazakhstan differ from the strains circulating on the territory of the neighbouring countries. The collected data is the basis for development of a new diagnostic system for detection of multiresistant M.tuberculosis strains.

Test-system for diagnostics of Hepatitis B, cytomegalovirus, polyomavirus, Epstein-Barr virus
Pilot test-systems for diagnostics of cytomegalovirus, polyomavirus, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B virus were developed. At present they are analyzed in comparison to commercially available analogues.

Development of comprehensive cancer genetic markers analysis system
The specified research was the first to study mutations among women, including those living in Semipalatinsk district. Breast cancer-associated gene mutations were identified in 200 women. These results have shown a great promise in prevention of breast cancer relying on genetic analysis.

Test-system for hereditary diseases diagnostics
The test plate for detection of the most significant gene mutations responsible for mucoviscidosis, phenylketonuria and adrenogenital syndrome was created on the basis of advanced molecular genetic DNA technologies. The proposed method is currently optimized for use in pre-natal diagnostics of hereditary diseases of Kazakhstan’s population.

DNA microarrays for the diagnostics of infectious diseases
Diagnostics based on biochip technology allows to identify dozens and even hundreds of infectious agents simultaneously. 20 of the most common pathogens of the respiratory tract and 26 pathogens of the urogenital tract were selected for the creation of DNA-chip. The bacterial DNA bank was formed. Primer systems and specific DNA probes were created for identification of the bacteria with DNA chip. First samples of DNA chips were produced. Conditions of analysis are optimized using the reference DNA samples.

Integrated test kits for the prognosis of development of gastritis, gastric ulcer and gastric cancer
Helicobacter pylori is an infectious agent which causes diseases of gastrointestinal tract, predisposing to the alteration in the stomach which favor formation of the gastric cancer. Research-based test kits to be widely used in gastroenterology practice are currently under development. H. Pylori virulence factors are studied for the exploitation of the test system.

Genetic engineering of human stem sells
The world practice sees application of stem cells in treatment of cardiovascular and nervous system diseases, burns and wounds, cartilage and bone tissue engineering. Laboratory researchers identified stem cells markers Oct-4, Nanog, C-myc and Lin28, and inserted them into normal somatic human cells. Primary cultures of human stem cells were also identified and studied for cancerogenicity.

Tissue-engineered human skin for treatment of burn injuries and non-healing wounds
Four fibroblast were cultured with designed (up to 50) number of sell divisions. At present, research is conducted to determine the viability and longevity of obtained sells safety of their use in regards of cancerogenicity.

New diagnostics test kits for tuberculosis and syphilis
NBC developed diagnostic test kits for tuberculosis, based on ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) technology using tuberculosis strains isolated from Kazakh patients. Using genetic engineering methods, scientists isolated diagnostically significant next generation antigens in the causative agent of syphilis.

Technology of early diagnosis of breast cancer
Monoclonal antibodies that specifically recognize breast cancer tumor cells were isolated, serving a basis for creation of breast cancer diagnostic technology.

Diagnostics of highly infectious animal diseases
Antigens which allow differentiation between FMD infected and vaccinated animals were identified. The identified antigens enable three-fold increase in diagnostic methods of leukemia. Experimental test kits for diagnosis of FMD and rabies in agricultural animals were developed.

Diagnosis of brucellosis in farm animals
New method for the diagnosis of brucellosis using standard immunochromotography techniques was developed. Main advantages of this method are high efficiency, duration of diagnostics - 20 minutes, adaptable to field use.

Production of eatable anti-tuberculosis vaccine
Genetic constructs containing Mycobacterium tuberculosis protein coding genes were created. Transgenic carrot plants able to synthesize tuberculosis antigens were produced.

Genetic certification of agricultural plants
Specific molecular genetic markers were designed for genotyping of cereal crops. Draft documents for genetic certificates of 50% domestic wheat varieties and 75% of domestic barley varieties have been prepared.

Production of new cereal crop breeds
Biotechnology methods underlie production of 4 new breeds of heavy–yielding wheat – “Miras”, “Nadezhda”, “Alem” and “Baiterek” – resistant to drought and diseases.

Spring soft wheat “Baiterek” - 20 c/ha – resistant to drought and leaf rust.
Winter soft wheat “Miras” - 38 c/ha – resistant to lodging and shattering.
Winter soft wheat “Nadezhda” - 40 c/ha – resistant to drought.
Winter soft wheat “Alem” - 43 c/ha – resistant to smut.

Two new rice breeds were obtained:
Rice breed “Bakanassky” – crop yield 60 c/ha – resistant to salinization and lodging.
Rice breed “Madina” – crop yield 50 c/ha – early-ripening, with excellent culinary properties of the grain.

Production of elite seed potato using biotechnology methods
The new aeroponic technology for getting grain potato based on virusless cloning of plants was developed. It helps eliminate absence of high-quality seed material and low potato yields. High performance of new technology was acknowledged by Astra-Agro, Ltd., which had implemented it and obtained the status of elite seed farm. In 2009, elite seed yield made 25 t/ha.


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