Friday, February 19, 2010

Iran's science progress fastest in world: Canadian report

A Canadian firm evaluating the global output of science and technology says scientific advancements in Iran have grown 11 times faster than any other country in the world.

Science-Metrix — a Montreal-based company dedicated to the quantitative and qualitative evaluation and measurement of science, technology and innovation — has released its most recent report on "geopolitical shifts in knowledge creation" since 1980, Newscientist reported on Thursday.

In the report, Science-Metrix says the number of scientific publications listed in the Web of Science database shows that the standard growth in the Middle East, particularly in Iran and Turkey, is nearly four times faster than the world average.

“Iran is showing fastest worldwide growth in science,” said Eric Archambault, who authored the report.

"Asia is catching up even more rapidly than previously thought, Europe is holding its position more than most would expect, and the Middle East is a region to watch," he added.

According to Archambaut, while Iran's publications have somewhat emphasized on nuclear chemistry and particle physics, the country has also made significant progress in medical science and agriculture development.

Archambaut said Iran's technological advancements this year have been to an extent that they may even outshine those of China, whose prominence in world science is known to have been growing.

Despite more than thirty years of Western-imposed sanctions, Iran has made great strides in different sectors, including aerospace, nuclear science, medical development, as well as stem cell and cloning research.

Among the country's most recent accomplishments, which has garnered international acclaim, was the February 2 launch of Kavoshgar 3 (Explorer 3) satellite carrier into space with living organisms — a rat, two turtles and worms — onboard.

In January 2010, the country became the first Middle Eastern country to produce transgenic animals, such as sheep and goats that express foreign proteins in their milk and are, therefore, considered valuable sources of protein for human therapy.

Also Iran has become one of the few countries that have the technology and the means to clone farm animals, which could lead to advances in medical research, including using cloned animals to produce human antibodies against diseases.

A lamb named 'Royana', a kid named 'Hanna' and two calves named 'Bonyana' and 'Tamina' were the first animals successfully cloned in the country.

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