Mnangagwa commissions NUST DNA tests lab

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa Friday commissioned the National University of Science and Technology (Nust)’s Applied Genetic Testing Centre (AGTC).

The centre was set up in August 2017 with the aim of making technology of genetics affordable to the public.

Prior to the setting up of the facility, Zimbabweans seeking paternity tests would travel as far as South Africa and the United Kingdom seeking such services.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony held on campus, AGTC director Zephaniah Dlamini said more than 2 000 paternity tests have been conducted at the centre since its establishment.

“DNA based paternity testing has been the most popular service. To date, we have tested over 2 000 families from all corners of Zimbabwe,” said Dlamini.

The government has previously engaged the centre to identify people who died in a horrific road accident when a Brooklyn bus which they were travelling in some few months back caught fire following a suspected gas tank explosion.

The government has also engaged the lab to identify victims of Cyclone Idai disaster.

“We have collected reference samples from relatives of missing persons and are waiting for a go-ahead and funding from government to identify the victims and bring the most needed closure to their surviving relatives.

“DNA paternity testing is the use of DNA profiling to determine whether two individuals are biological parents of a child or not,” said Dlamini.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa was conferred with an honorary degree in the Philosophy of Education (Honoris Causa) at the Nust‘s 25th graduation ceremony.

In conferring the degree, Nust Vice Chancellor, Professor Mqhele Dlodlo said the institution was honouring Mnangagwa for his contribution in “enhancing higher and tertiary education and taking it higher to focus on science-based solutions, moving it to Education 5.0 from previous system of 3.0.

Mnangagwa capped a total of 2 652 students.