Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Open Source Biotechnology alliance to map the patent maze and build new technologies for crop improvement.

08.12.2005


CAMBIA & IRRI (The International Rice Research Institute) today announced a major joint venture to advance the BiOS Initiative - a new strategy that will galvanize agricultural research focused on poverty alleviation and hunger reduction. The venture is catalyzed by a 2.55M USD grant to CAMBIA from The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.



The BiOS Initiative – Biological Innovation for Open Society – is often called Open Source Biotechnology. The BiOS model has resonance with the Open Source software movement, famous for such successful efforts as Linux. Open Source software has spurred faster innovation, greater community participation, and new robust business models that break monopolies and foster fair competition. BiOS targets parallel challenges that limit the effective use of modern life sciences in agriculture to only a few multinational corporations.

“New technologies are increasingly tangled in complex webs of patent and other legal rights, and are usually tailored for wealthy countries and well-heeled scientists,” said IRRI’s Director General, Robert Zeigler. “Half the world depends on rice as a staple food – but this also means half the world’s potential innovators could be brought to bear on the challenges of rice production, given the right toolkits – and the rights to use them”.


In the joint work, CAMBIA’s Patent Lens, already one of the most comprehensive costfree full-text patent databases in the world, will be extended to include patents in major rice-growing countries, including China, Korea, and India. These same countries are growing powerhouses of innovation, poised to play lead roles in the next generation of biological problem solving.

The Patent Lens will also develop analyses and foster the capacity in the developing world to create patent maps of the key emerging technologies that could be constrained by complex intellectual property rights worldwide, including the rice genome itself.

These patent ‘landscapes’ will be used to guide the development of improved technology toolkits in a new, inclusive manner. Says Richard Jefferson, CAMBIA’s CEO, “It’s not so much about getting access to old patented technology – it’s about forging collaborations to develop better, more powerful tools within a ‘protected commons’ to get different problem solvers to the table.” These could for example be tools for precise, natural genetic enhancements, using non-GM approaches (for example, homologous recombination), new plant breeding methods such as marker assisted selection, or even true breeding hybrids of crop species that would allow farmers in developing countries to use hybrid seed year after year.

Adds Jefferson, “Scientists and farmers need better options for problem solving, that meet their priorities, work within their constraints, build on their ingenuity, and maintain their independence; this is what BiOS is all about.”

IRRI, an autonomous international institute based in Los Banos, The Philippines, is one of the foundation institutions of the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research), and is dedicated to improving the lives and livelihoods of resource poor rice producers and consumers worldwide. IRRI has been at the forefront of rice research for almost thirty years, delivering new rice varieties and practices to rice farmers throughout Asia and the developing world. Now, rice has become the model system for grain crops worldwide, with its entire DNA sequence known; but the ‘mining’ – and patenting - of this genetic resource and the possibility that the tools to improve it could be restricted by broad patents has raised legitimate concerns that must be met head-on.

CAMBIA, based in Canberra Australia, is an independent non-profit institute that invents and shares enabling technologies and new practices for life sciences and intellectual property management to further social equity. CAMBIA is the founder of the BiOS Initiative (www.bios.net), the Patent Lens (www.patentlens.net) and the online collaboration platform BioForge(www.bioforge.net). CAMBIA published the first explicit ‘open source’ biotechnology toolkit in the Journal “Nature” in February 2005. Included in that publication was the technology ‘TransBacter’ in which the technique of plant gene transfer by Agrobacterium, covered by hundreds of patents, was bypassed using other symbiotic bacteria to add beneficial genes to rice and other plants. This and other technologies have been made freely available under BiOS licenses.

Work by IRRI, CAMBIA scientists, and others in an online collaboration community, will optimize this process and other open source enabling technologies, ensuring their availability to scientists throughout the developed and developing world.

Stephanie Goodrick | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bios.net
http://www.cambia.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
21.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>