by | 30 Jul 2003 | Seedling - July 2003
by GRAIN | 28 Jul 2003 | Seedling - July 2003
Earlier this year, the scientific community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the structure and function of DNA by Watson and Crick. There was a host of parties, conferences and special issues. Fifty years ago when the ‘secret of life’ was unveiled, expectations were high that this milestone discovery had given us the key to understanding the laws of heredity …. and the power to change them. Fifty years later, many believe we have now reached that point. Scientists are now able to move genes – and the inherited traits they code for – with apparent ease between species, families and kingdoms.
by Barry Commoner | 26 Jul 2003 | Seedling - July 2003
There is a crucial problem in molecular genetics and in its applications to agriculture, medicine and the production of pharmaceutical drugs. This science is based on a 50-year old theory that says DNA alone governs inheritance. Molecular genetics is now confronted with a growing disjunction between this widely accepted premise and an array of discordant experimental results that contradict it. But this disparity remains largely unacknowledged and experiments with transgenic plants and animals (many of which are not even recognised to be experiments) continue on a massive scale.
by Abdul Qayam and Kiran Sakkhari | 24 Jul 2003 | Seedling - July 2003
Farmers in Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh were excited about planting Bt cotton, which they saw as a way out of the trap of pests, pesticides and debt they were stuck in. At the start of the season in 2002, many were optimistic and hopeful about the new crop, but as the season progressed their enthusiasm was transformed into disappointment and, for some, despair. Meanwhile, many women already disillusioned with Green Revolution agriculture, are rediscovering the virtues of biodiverse cropping systems and sharing their results with their neighbours.
by Aaron deGrassi and Peter Rosset | 22 Jul 2003 | Seedling - July 2003
Public research theoretically offers considerably more potential than the corporate, gene-focused approach to generate crops that meet the needs of farmers. But in practice, much public research, especially that undertaken by the world's international research centres, has also been blinded by the gene. Aaron deGrassi and Peter Rosset assert that farmers need to be returned to centre-stage to re-assume their central role as custodians of the worlds agricultural resources and the directors of research and innovation
by Michel Pimbert | 20 Jul 2003 | Seedling - July 2003
Technical advances in breeding however impressive are meaningless without farmers. The corporate research model seeks to turn farmers into serfs in a feudal agricultural system, a move which will be devastating to our future food supply. Michel Pimbert identifies some of the reforms needed to encourage democratic participation and more genuine local control in the management of agricultural biodiversity. Emphasis is placed on strengthening diversity, decentralisation and democracy through the regeneration of more localised food systems and economies.
by GRAIN | 18 Jul 2003 | Seedling - July 2003
Trained as an agronomist in the US, for many years Johnson Ekpere was Professor of Agriculture at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Now retired, he continues to act as a consultant on agricultural and rights-related issues in Africa.
by GRAIN | 16 Jul 2003 | Seedling - July 2003
Intellectual property rights (IPR) applied to seeds give breeders, or whoever claims to have discovered or developed a new plant variety, an exclusive monopoly right in relation to the seed. Under patent law, that monopoly right is very strong. It will generally prevent anyone from using, selling or producing the seed without the patent holder's permission.
by GRAIN | 14 Jul 2003 | Seedling - July 2003
by Mae-Wan Ho | 1 Jul 2003 | Seedling - July 2003
by M Susan Lindee | 1 Jul 2003 | Seedling - July 2003