Biotechnology and GMOs in Africa: Unrealized Potential

mixedminerBiotechnology

Oct 22, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Biotechnology and
GMOs in Africa:
Unrealized Potential
Randy Ploetz
University of Florida, IFAS
Tropical Research & Education Center
Homestead
What is
biotechnology?
What is
biotechnology?
Broad view: Applied biology
What is
biotechnology?
Broad view: Applied biology
•Application of biological knowledge
and techniques to develop products
P. Namanya
National Banana
Research Programme
Uganda
What is
biotechnology?
Broad view: Applied biology
•Application of biological knowledge
and techniques to develop products
•Use of living organisms to make a
product or run a process
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Banana wine
Tanzania
What is
biotechnology?
Broad view: Applied biology
•Application of biological knowledge
and techniques to develop products
•Use of living organisms to make a
product or run a process
•Classical plant and animal breeding,
fermentation and enzyme purification
Pollination
to produce
new
banana
hybrids in
Uganda
What is
biotechnology?
Narrower view:
Some use term only to refer to
newer tools of genetic science
What is
biotechnology?
Narrower view:
Some use term only to refer to
newer tools of genetic science
Examples:
•Marker Assisted Selection (MAS)
What is
biotechnology?
Narrower view:
Some use term only to refer to
newer tools of genetic science
Examples:
•Marker Assisted Selection (MAS)
•Pathogen & pest detection and
identification
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In the narrow sense,
biotechnology can also
refer to recombinant
DNA technology
(genetic transformation)
In the narrow sense,
biotechnology can also
refer to recombinant
DNA technology
(genetic transformation)
i.e., transferring genes from
one organism to another to
produce a G
enetically
M
odified O
rganism (GMO)
Unfortunately, there has
been much hysterical
and misinformed
criticism of GMOs
Unfortunately, there has
been much hysterical
and misinformed
criticism of GMOs
With rare exceptions,
this criticism has been
unwarranted and
counterproductive
The main concerns
about GMOs are :
Food safety.
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The main concerns
about GMOs are :
Food safety.
No
food safety problems
have been identified in the
“big experiment” (USA ca.
300 million people over 10
years)
In fact,
food safety and
human health can be
improved
In fact,
food safety and
human health can be
improved
•Bt transformation reduces
mycotoxin development in
maize considerably
In fact,
food safety and
human health can be
improved
•Bt transformation reduces
mycotoxin development in
maize considerably
•In China, where GMOs are
used widely, there has been a
great reduction in pesticide
poisoning of farmers
The main concerns
about GMOs are :
Food safety.
Environment.
All farming impacts the
environment, regardless
of GMO usage
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All farming impacts the
environment, regardless
of GMO usage
Primary concern: Movement
of transgenes to wild species
(enhanced vigor of weeds
and reduced genetic
diversity in natural
ecosystems)
Transgenes do not
move more frequently
or readily than ordinary
genes

Genes are genes
Transgenes do not
move more frequently
or readily than ordinary
genes

Genes are genes

Transgene movement
occurs via natural
pollination, hybridization)
Transgenes do not
move more frequently
or readily than ordinary
genes
Non-GMO plants to
which transgenes move
must be closely related
to the GMO
Non-GMO plants to
which transgenes move
must be closely related
to the GMO
Only good example:
Round-up ready canola in
Canada
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Non-GMO plants to
which transgenes move
must be closely related
to the GMO
Only good example:
Round-up ready canola in
Canada
Round-up ready canola not
used where it is a concern
GMO usage is usually
environmentally neutral,
but in some cases
environment can be
improved
GMO usage is usually
environmentally neutral,
but in some cases
environment can be
improved
ex.: Use of herbicide-
resistant crops in reduced
tillage systems reduces
erosion, soil degradation
The main concerns
about GMOs are :
Food safety.
Environment.
Multinationals.
Multinationals do
hold sway in
industrialized
countries
Multinationals do
hold sway in
industrialized
countries
However, there is nothing
to stop GMO development
in developing countries
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Multinationals are not
interested in most
tropical crops (bananas,
cassava, yams and millet
are good, African
examples)
Multinationals are not
interested in most
tropical crops (bananas,
cassava, yams and millet
are good, African
examples)
For these crops, there is
great potential in
developing countries
The main concerns
about GMOs are :
Food safety.
Environment.
Multinationals.
Trade.
In Africa, major concern
is over trade with
Europe (e.g. GM-corn in
Zaire)
In Africa, major concern
is over trade with
Europe (e.g. GM-corn in
Zaire)
Two important points:
Europe is not the only
market. ex.: China and
India are potentially much
larger markets
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Trade should be of
secondary concern
where hungry
populations exist
The main concerns
about GMOs are :
Food safety.
Environment.
Multinationals.
Trade.
Ethical issues.
Complicated, often
personal issue
Complicated, often
personal issue
Relevant question:
“What is the risk if this
technology is not
accepted?”
Despite concerns,
biotechnological
research, including
the development of
GMOs, is
conducted in Africa
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IITA - International
Institute of Tropical
Agriculture
ILRI - International
Livestock Research
Institute
WARDA - West Africa Rice
Development
Association
World Agroforestry
Centre (ICRAF)
CGIAR centers in Africa
address problems in
international agriculture
Thanks
CGIAR
INIBAP
IPGRI
Roger Hull