International Collaboration In Biotechnology Research

With the two indicators of agroecosystem quality determined, attention is now placed on examples of new technologies. Examples have been selected that take into account the emerging needs of developing countries regarding biotechnology and their ability to collaborate with international research programs. These examples are taken from information collected from IBS policy seminars and its Registry of Expertise. IBS began to collect, analyze, and discuss with client countries its information on international collaboration in biotechnology by organizing a meeting held at ISNAR in 1993 (Cohen and Komen, 1994).

Information was collected through survey forms from some 40 international biotechnology programs. Taken together, this material clearly demonstrated that international collaboration in agricultural biotechnology offers developing countries access to a range of specific technologies, and unique opportunities for developing improved crop plants, livestock, vaccines, and diagnostic probes. An aggregate analysis of this information was made, as described below, for which specific conclusions are most relevant for a discussion on new technologies and agroecosys-tem quality.

Findings

Among the international programs studied by IBS, most research is undertaken on essential commodities, or foods on which significant numbers of people depend, often with regional significance (Brenner and Komen, 1994; Cohen and Komen, 1994; IBS, 1994). Analysis of the 22 international crop biotechnology research programs indicates that they address five broad research objectives, containing 126 separate activities. These primary objectives, crops, and research activities are shown in Table 2. As such, they represent solutions to many technical situations facing farmers and growers in developing countries.

With regard to crop transformation, research supported by the international programs concentrates primarily on resistance to viruses and insects, and improving quality factors (IBS, 1994). In Table 3, general categories and specific examples of transformation are shown for agriculture in industrialized countries, using examples from Day (1993). The third column summarizes research being conducted specifically for developing country agriculture with illustrations of specific applications.

These data indicate a strong commitment to improving crop plants through biotechnology by addressing agricultural needs and objectives for developing countries. Approximately 50% of the expenditures in these international biotechnology programs are devoted to research needed to develop these modified crops (Cohen,

Table 2 Number of Research Activities Undertaken by International Biotechnology Projects as Shown for Five General Research Objectives and for Crops of Major Importance to Developing Countries

Objectives

Table 2 Number of Research Activities Undertaken by International Biotechnology Projects as Shown for Five General Research Objectives and for Crops of Major Importance to Developing Countries

Objectives

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