Biotechnology, Bioinformatics and Food Security: Hype or hope?

June CAN 2009This month’s issue of Collective Action News, delve’s into Biosciences: the role technology plays in dynamic and complex agricultural systems, and the need for a realistic assessment of its promise and pitfalls. This is against the backdrop of investments taking place in biotechnology and bioinformatics in the region, specifically the state-of-the-art Biosciences east and central Africa laboratory, which is nearing completion in Nairobi, Kenya.

Also in this issue, we link you to the latest analysis of all agricultural products that CGIAR centres are working on, and data from online surveys of research projects.

‘It is high time that the heroic simplification of the ‘GM crops are good for the poor’ storyline is finally laid to rest’, contends Dominic Glover in a thoughtful new paper on BT Cotton (see link below). He goes on to conclude that ‘The extravagant hype of GM crop advocates (and not only the alarmism of anti-GM campaigners) has unfortunately suffocated debate about this important new technological field. It is a field which, in truth, does indeed hold the potential to help address some important developmental challenges of the twentyfirst century, whether through genomic techniques, marker-assisted selection or indeed some transgenic applications. But, to realize this potential, it is not enough to pay lip service to the idea that GM crops will not be a silver bullet against hunger and poverty, while simultaneously designing impact assessments around the implicit assumption that such a magical effect is indeed possible.’… Click on this link to download the full pdf

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