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Growth from obscurity to biggest selling vegeatable in less than a century has made tomato an object of corporate attention. Intensive industrial producion has lead to genetic uniformity of the crop which is largely owned and consumed by the North.

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While bioprospecting agreements continue to be heralded as the way towards conserving biodiversity and sustainable development, this article takes a critical look at some of those agreements, seen by many as legalised biopiracy.

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The Convention on Biodiversity says countries should regulate access to genetic resources. The mechanisms to do this are starting to emerge at the regional, subregional and national levels. A case study of the Philippines' now-famous Executive Order 247 governing bioprospecting.

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Genetically-engineered herbicide-tolerant soybean gained worldwide public attention due to consumer opposition in Europe. As with many other crops, the soybean market is characterised by increasing consolidation of corporate control over it, specially through genetechnology R&D strategies.

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1996 was a year of unprecedented international attention for agricultural biodiversity. But was any tangible progress made? GRAIN looks back.

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THE DIRECTIVE RISES AGAIN

Steve Emmot | 20 March 1997 | Seedling - March 1997

Two years ago, the European Parliament rejected a law proposal to allow for the patenting of life forms. Today it is back again before the parliamentarians in slightly modified form. An update from Brussels.

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Monsanto's Roundup Readyâ Soybean is causing an uproar among agricultural, environmental and consumer organisations. As a stunning example of where biotech farming will take us. GRAIN provides a brief summary of the debate.

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RECIPE FOR DISASTER

Joel Bleifuss | 25 December 1996 | Seedling - December 1996

Agribusiness corporations are hoping to make genetically modified organisms a permanent feature of our daily diet. But to get to that point they have to overcome consumer, environmental and health organisation's opposition and get past Mother Nature's roadblocks.

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In this article we review the impact of the World Bank operations on biodiversity over the last 30 years. Its current initiatives in that arena are, at best, merely attempts to put temporary band aids on the mortal wounds the Bank has inflicted on the world.

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This story from Guinea-Bissau (West Africa) tells how an interethnic technology transfer improved food security and led to the use of better adapted seeds.

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