Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Are genomic technologies the answer to world hunger?

Genomic technologies may have the potential to alleviate food insecurity and food shortages around the world. Researchers believe that biotechnology has the potential to improve the nutritional content of food crops and, crucially, resistance to insects and disease.

This could lead to improved yields of food crops for both human and animal consumption. Researchers are also working on ‘molecular farming’ – production of pharmaceutical products in plants, with the potential to revolutionise vaccination procedures. However, these technologies are only likely to impact on world hunger if there is effective and efficient exchange of knowledge and experience through partnerships.

A keynote speaker at the ESRC Innogen Centre’s Annual Conference to be held on 5th-6th September at Regent’s College, London warns of a caveat to this enthusiasm for the introduction of genomic technologies. Dr Simon Best, Chairman of the Board of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid tropics (ICRISAT) highlights the need for greater and more efficient collaboration between the public and private sectors involved in this research. The Director of Development Partnerships for the International Potato Centre (CIP), Dr. Roger Cortbaoui, echoes these arguments saying there is a need to construct, “useful partnerships and networks including with the private sector” in an industry where basic research is dominated by public funded research centres.

Others argue that even greater private-public interactions are not sufficient. Dr Andy Hall, from the Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Centre on Innovation and Technology, believes members of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) such as ICRISAT and CIP, are “struggling to deal with its limitations”. Dr Hall argues for a strengthening of interactions with communities and society in general. Prof. Paul Richards of Wageningen University, says that not enough attention is being placed on involving the poor in decisions and research on the role of genomic technologies in dealing with food insecurity. The importance of these voices is explained by other speakers at the conference who highlight the complex negotiation of priorities by the different groups involved in these research decisions that usually exclude the poor who ought to benefit most as end users of these products.

These issues and more will be discussed at the ESRC Innogen Centre’s annual conference entitled ‘Genomics for Development: The Life Sciences and Poverty Reduction’ to be held at Regent’s College, London on 5th-6th September 2006.

Annika Howard | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>