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National Research Center of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (NRCGEB)

Other Name: National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Research
Location: Tehran, 16km west
Subordinate To: Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology
Size: The center was constructed on a 15 hectare site with 60,000 square meters of laboratory, library, pilot plant, and administrative buildings. About 170 employees including 93 researchers (30 with doctorates) are currently working at the center.
Facility Status: Unknown

Founded in 1988 under the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education, the NRCGEB is one of the pillars of modern genetic engineering in Iran.

The center conducts research in biotechnology and the biological sciences. It also provides advanced training and education programs for scientists and students from other universities and academic institutions. Center activities have been focused in five major areas: Medical Biotechnology, Plant Biotechnology, Animal and Marine Biotechnology, Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology and Basic Sciences. The center in Tehran is specifically equipped for various molecular biology fields such as genetic engineering.

Other labs, research centers and universities in Iran outsource work on DNA primer synthesis, protein sequencing, freeze-drying and glass blowing to the center. A series of basic and applied research projects have been funded in molecular biology and biotechnology. Current projects include Biotechnological production of protein-based drugs; Production of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies; Molecular genetics studies; and Studies on the agricultural applications of biotechnology.

Of particular interest are the NRCGEB's:

  • Creation of a cell bank, as well as the production and storing of cell lines;
  • Evaluation of a recombinant DNA hepatitis B vaccine;
  • Product design and production of recombinant growth hormone; and
  • Work to create a recombinant hepatitis C vaccine.

The center also offers workshops on gene expression in prokaryotic cells, molecular biology, recombinant DNA, the use of computers in genetic engineering and molecular biology, gene copying, translation of mRNA, protein synthesis, high volume protein purification, gene transmission and expression, gene expression in eukaryotic cells, and the molecular analysis of gene products.

The center has a record of consistent achievement in medicinal biotechnology, such as success in the production of recombinant growth hormone and the production of a recombinant DNA hepatitis B vaccine. Its efforts in agricultural biotechnology research are relatively new. Some of the ongoing agricultural activities include transformation of sugar beet and rape seed, promoter analysis of Psr3, production of salt tolerance in plants by tDNA activation and insertion mutagenesis, and gene isolation and characterization. A future project will focus on hGH-GSF production.

The Chitgar Center's laboratories consist of two main laboratory rooms, cell and bacterial culture rooms, cold and warm rooms, dark room and photographic lab, washing and sterilization room, and centrifuge center. Also at the center are an animal house, a green house, and a computer room. Two other main laboratories and other facilities are under construction.

The laboratories are equipped with advanced equipment for research in genetic engineering and biotechnology, including a DNA synthesizer, a DNA extractor, chromatographic systems, a protein sequencer, orbital shakers, incubators, a PCR machine, incubator shakers, a lyophilizer (freeze-dryer), fermenters, centrifuges, a culture propagation system, microfuges, a spectrophotometer, a gel-scanning system, an ultracentrifuge, instruments for DNA sequence spectroscopy, a spectroscope, a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) electrophorus, and -C 70° and -C 20° freezers.

Currently underway is a pilot plan for a workstation to study recombinant proteins.

The workstation equipment consists of a homogenizer, fermenters, centrifuges, preparative chromatography columns, ultrafilters, freezers, cold and warm rooms, and specialized tanks for the preparation of buffers and culture media.

The center's recent directors have been:
M.H. Sanati - m-sanati@nrcgeb.ac.ir (1996-Present)
Bahram Golyaie (1992-1996)
Mohammad R. Noori Daloii (1989-1992)

Sources:
NRCGEB, www.nrcgeb.ac.ir; "Iran: Biotechnology Center Outlined," Ettela'at-e Elmi (Tehran), 20 January 2001, pp. 28-29, in FBIS Document IAP20010516000003, 16 May 2001; Behzad Ghareyazie, "Iran: Hopes, Achievements, and Constraints in Agricultural Biotechnology."

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

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