Sixty-one years ago, South Africa's linkurl:Council for Scientific and Industrial Research; was established by a parliamentary decree that specifically required it to undertake research that improves the linkurl:wellbeing; of the country's people. Given this, I wasn't really surprised, on visiting CSIR's sprawling campus on the outskirts of the city of Pretoria, to find biosciences researchers focusing on issues to do with HIV, malaria, linkurl:tuberculosis; and improving nutrition. I dropped by the campus during my 10 day linkurl:trip to Africa; on behalf of The Scientist to linkurl:survey; the region?s science. In the plant biotechnology group, for example, group leader Rachel Chikwamba showed me around one lab where investigators are using microarrays and proteomics to examine lead compounds from indigenous plants as potential antimalarials. Down the hall, she introduced me to investigators who have had some success in producing plants that express a rabies monoclonal antibody. In the greenhouses outside, her group...

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