RAWALPINDI - A four-day workshop on Real Time PCR commenced at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) in collaboration with HEC here on Wednesday.

The workshop started with an objective to impart practical training on Real Time PCR technique and to provide/explore opportunities for collaborative research initiatives. The workshop will be helpful to fortify the knowledge of existing teaching manpower and to create inter and intra-university communication channels between university academicians and research students.

Real Time PCR is a technique which has wide spread applications in different fields of molecular biology & agricultural sciences, medical diagnostics and forensics. It is called Real Time because the results are obtained while the test is still undergoing hence saving a lot of time. In addition, it is also a quantitative technique which determines the quantity of target DNA.

Executive Director, Higher Education Commission, Prof Dr S Sohail H Naqvi was the chief guest at the inaugural session of the workshop. In his address; he said that universities should change their objectives from producing graduates for obtaining employment to graduate capable of generating employment.

He also gave a detailed presentation about the composition, working and achievements of the HEC. He said that the establishment of the HEC in 2002 had heralded a revolution in higher education in Pakistan. Dr Naqvi further said HEC has brought revolutionary changes in the education sector of Pakistan and this commendable work should continue in the larger interest of the people of the Pakistan. He emphasized the need for bringing about a knowledge-based change that would be greatly helpful for the socio-economic uplift of the people of Pakistan. During the last ten years, HEC not only contributed in the higher education sector but it also earned international credibility. He said that more PhDs have graduated from Pakistani universities in the last ten years than in the first 55 years of the country’s existence. The universities are now expected to produce more PhDs in the next three years than in the last ten years.

Earlier, Prof Dr Muhammad Azim Malik, Vice Chancellor PMAS-AAUR, in his welcome address he welcomed the participants and appreciated the efforts being made for higher education by HEC. He hoped that participants will get knowledge from this workshop and will implement it in their respective filed. He further said that the knowledge gained by the participants will not only help them in their academic research but will also enhance their chances of employment.

He also appreciated the efforts of organisers for organising this workshop.

The workshop schedule consisted of lectures followed by lab sessions on topics like; an overview of replication and transcription, Real Time PCR and its applications in plant breeding/genetics and molecular biology, primer designing and testing, detection chemistries of Real Time PCR, RNA isolation from plant tissues, preparation of cDNA, Real Time PCR reaction set-up and run, denaturing agarose gel electrophoresis, testing cDNA and its purity, primers for Real Time PCR and sequencing, advanced DNA sequencing techniques, basics of biosafety, downstream processing of RT-PCR products, RNA isolation methods, reagents and precautions.