sábado, 30 de agosto de 2008

a caminho do "bio-unix"?

«[...] The Green Revolution of the 20th century more than doubled the global supply of corn, rice, and wheat. Unless crop yields increase again, however, feeding the Earth's 9.2 billion inhabitants in 2050 will require doubling the amount of land now under cultivation. [...]

GM crops now grow on 114 million hectares of land, with no scientific evidence so far of danger to human health or damage to the environment. Quite the opposite is true: By reducing the amount of pesticides and herbicides farmers spray on their fields and enhancing crop yields, GM varieties have dramatically curbed water pollution, biodiversity loss, and spared much forested land from being turned into farms.[...]

GM crops do not solve "the broader socioeconomic dilemmas faced by developing countries." There's no doubting that most GM products to date have been developed for prosperous farmers in wealthy countries. "Our seed industry has virtually been turned over to for-profit institutions," says Pamela Ronald, a plant geneticist at the University of California, Davis. [...]

Ronald and others are at the forefront of groundbreaking efforts to take genetic engineering from the private sector into the realm of public good. In 1995 Ronald isolated Xa21, a gene that gives rice tolerance to Xanthomonas oryzae — a bacterium responsible for a devastating crop disease. UC Davis licensed the gene to Monsanto and Pioneer but excluded those companies from developing rice varieties in poor countries. The cloned gene is now being distributed freely to Chinese rice scientists [...]

[The] Rockefeller Foundation [partnered] with the McKnight Foundation and 40 other institutions to establish PIPRA — Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture — an initiative through which plant biology researchers in the US can market their technologies to private firms while retaining rights for humanitarian purposes and subsistence agriculture. [...]

Free distribution and local ownership of bioproperty will be one crucial aspect of the new Green Revolution. Another will be the cultivation of locally adapted varieties. [...]»

(Seed Magazine --- August 20, 2008)