12 April 2004

An Electronic Newsletter of Applied Plant Breeding
Sponsored by FAO and Cornell University

Clair H. Hershey, Editor


1.01 Chemical and Genetic Traits of Seeds

2.01 Asian and African Rice Breeders, Yuan Longping and Monty Jones, Won the 2004 World Food Prize
2.02 Norman Borlaug Celebrates 90 Years
2.03 Challenge Program for Unlocking Genetic Diversity in Crops for the Resource-Poor
2.04 Papers Presented at the FAO Rice Conference in February 2004
2.05 GM Maize Could Produce Hepatitis B Vaccine
2.06 Shared Gene Switch for all Plants Found
2.07 Plant Sex Protein Identified at UC Riverside
2.08 Herbicide-Resistant Alfalfa Trials in California
2.09 Either/or Selection Markers for Plant Transformation
2.10 New Breed of Beet Geneticists Unraveling Sugar Beet Genome
2.11 Wild Potatoes May Hold Genetic Keys to a Defense against the Columbia Root-Knot Nematode
2.12 North Carolina State Researcher Identifies Pathogen Strain Responsible for Irish Potato Famine
2.13 U.S. National Corn GrowersAssociation Announces Initiative to Advance Sequencing of Maize Genome
2.14 Plant Detection of Landmines
2.15 Scientists Tap  "Lost Rice" to Improve Crops in India
2.16 Puzzle of Corn's Origins Coming Together
2.17  CLIMA Researchers are Tinkering with Lupins to Ensure They do not Appeal to Green Peach or Cowpea Aphids
2.18 CIMMYT Sows First Transgenic Wheat Field Trials in Mexico
2.19 Quality Protein Maize from Ghana
2.20 Bayer Decides Against GM Crop Cultivation in the UK
2.21 Global Seed Treaty Gets the Go-Ahead
2.22 BreederssRights Legislation Adopted in Turkey
2.23  To Reach the Poor: Results from the ISNAR-IFPRI Next Harvest Study on GM Crops, Public Research and Policy Implications
2.24 Angola Rejects GM Food Aid
2.25 Pioneer Hi-Bred International Gift Supports Iowa State University Projects on Issues Surrounding Research Discoveries
2.26 To Reach the Poor Results from the ISNAR-IFPRI Next Harvest Study on Genetically Modified Crops

3.01 Chenopodium E-Mail List Serve
3.02 CIMMYT International Wheat Improvement Network Data Summary Tables (1998-Present)
3.03 Update 4-2004 of FAO-BIOTECHNEWS.
3.04 Genome Information Resource (PGDIC)
3.05 E-Newsletter: Challenge Programme for Unlocking Genetic Diversity in Crops
3.06 New CREES Web Site

4.01 US Launches Grants for Developing-World Scientists
4.02 Research Coordination Networks in Biological Sciences

5.01 National Program Leader (Higher Education)



In this issue we are including text hyperlinks that will allow readers to jump directly to articles of interest, by clicking on the title in the Table of Contents. A link at the end of each article allows you to return to the Table of Contents.

In trial runs of this system, we have seen some computers and/or e-mail systems that may not be able to make use of the links. I am interested to know of your success or lack of success in using these text hyperlinks, as well as any other comments regarding their use in the newsletter. Send your comments to me at:

(See additional notes at end of newsletter)



A request for information from Pierre Charmetant of CIRAD:

My question is to know if anyone has clues about "quality" (chemical composition, taste) of any seed within a fruit (almond, or coffee beans for example) - heritability of chemical/taste characteristics? - maternal effect?

Thank you
Pierre Charmetant

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This year's  $250,000 World Food Prize was announced on March 29 during a U.S. State Department ceremony with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Jacques Diouf. The 2004 World Food Prize Laureates are: Professor Yuan Longping (Director-General of the China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Center in Changsha, Hunan, China) and Dr. Monty Jones (former senior rice breeder at the West Africa Rice Development Center, presently Executive Secretary, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, in Accra, Ghana) for their breakthrough scientific achievements which have significantly increased food security for millions of people from Asia to Africa.The Ambassador added that it was particularly fitting that these two pioneering rice breeders be honored during the United Nations International Year of Rice, the crop identified as the staple diet of more than three billion people around the world.

Professor Yuan has been selected a co-recipient of The World Food Prize for his breakthrough achievement in the early 1970s in developing the genetic tools necessary for hybrid rice breeding, known as a three-line system. His achievement led to the worlds first successful and widely grown high-yielding hybrid rice varieties with yields 20 percent above conventional varieties. His altering of the self-pollinating characteristic of rice made large-scale farming of hybrid rice possible. These achievements dramatically increased rice yields and grain output in
China, providing food to feed an additional 60 million people each year. His approach to rice breeding then spread internationally throughout Asia and to the Americas, providing food for tens of millions and leading to his becoming known as the Father of Hybrid Rice.This is the second international award to him in the year of 2004 after the Wolf Award.

Dr. Jones has been selected a co-recipient of The World Food Prize for developing in the 1990s the "New Rice for Africa"(NERICA), uniquely adapted to the growing conditions of West Africa, by successfully crossing the Asian O. sativa with the African O. glaberrima strains to produce drought and pest resistant, high yielding new rice varieties, a feat which had not been achieved before in the history of rice breeding. His accomplishment is already producing enhanced harvests for thousands and thousands of poor farmers, most of them women, with potential benefit for 20 million farmers in
West Africa alone.

The World Food Prize will be formally presented to Professor Yuan and Dr. Jones at a ceremony on
October 14, 2004 in the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines. The ceremony will be held as part of The World Food Prize International Symposium, From Asia to Africa: Rice, Biofortification and Enhanced Nutrition.

Adapted from the following World Food Prize official website: <> by:
Jiming Li
Department of
Plant Breeding
Cornell University

Ithaca, NY14850

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A rich collection of Borlaug-related quotes, articles,  interviews, speeches,  photos and web links are currently available at <>

Auburn, Alabama; March 24 -- Jimmy Carter, George McGovern and many scientists are joining the AgBioWorld Foundation in celebrating the 90th birthday of humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug tomorrow (March 25, 2004). "The passion that drives Dr. Borlaug's life is an inspiration for all of us to follow," said former
US president Jimmy Carter. "It has been an honor to collaborate with Dr. Borlaug. He is a true humanitarian and a dear friend."

In 1970, Borlaug's dedication to agricultural productivity won him the Nobel Peace Prize. During the 1940s, Dr. Borlaug bred new wheat varieties in
Mexico, which more than doubled the country's yields. Later, he worked in India, Pakistan, China, the Middle East, South America and Africa and had similar successes. The crop varieties and the improved farming practices he helped develop have sparked what is known today as the "Green Revolution." These improvements are often credited with saving more than one billion lives.

Source: AgBioView
24 March 2004

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Crop science and technologies are advancing at remarkable speeds, and vast amounts of resources are devoted to developing new crop varieties for consumers who can pay for the fruits of this research.

But what about the hundreds of millions of people across the planet who cannot afford to pay the premiums for cutting-edge technology? The purchasing power of most resource-poor people is so minimal that their needs are often not taken into consideration by multi-national seed companies and agribusinesses.

The Challenge Program for Unlocking Genetic Diversity in Crops for the Resource-Poor is an international, multi-institute, cross-disciplinary collaboration designed to ensure that the advances of crop science and technology are applied to the specific problems and needs of resource-poor people who rely on agriculture for subsistence and their livelihoods.

The Challenge Programme incorporates a technology transfer plan to ensure that the products of its research are made available to farmers and plant breeders. The management of technology transfer, and especially of intellectual property, will be consistent with existing CGIAR guidelines on Intellectual Property Rights Related to Genetic Resources and with international conventions and treaties on the subject. Throughout, the intention is to ensure that all products of the Challenge Programme are
public goods that are accessible to and used for the ultimate benefit of resource-poor farmers in developing countries.

The Challenge Programme brings together three sets of partners. The Future Harvest Centres of the CGIAR keep vast amounts of plant diversity in trust for humanity and have expertise in molecular research and global breeding programmes. The National Agricultural Research Systems of developing countries in addition bring expertise in the assessment and breeding of plants under specific conditions, with the participation of farmers. Advanced Research Institutes are developing novel techniques and strategies to decode genetic diversity. Together, these three strands can vastly improve the productivity of crucial crops in marginal environments.
(See also information on the programs e-newsletter in section ON THE WEB below)

Source: AgBioView
22 March 2004

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12-13 February 2004
Rome, Italy

As part of facilitating IYR implementation, FAO convened a two-day Rice Conference at its Headquarters in Rome, 12-13 February 2004. The FAO Conference brought together leading experts from around the world to present their perspectives on latest trends and industry developments. The aim of the Conference was to mobilize the international community to confront the most pressing issues confronting the global rice sector, from local farming practices to international trade.

DOCUMENTS (all links are to PDF files unless indicated otherwise)

The views expressed in these documents are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

1. Rice in global markets Long-term prospects for the global rice economy [PDF] - Mahabub Hossain, Lead Economist, Social Sciences, IRRI Rice market outlook [PowerPoint, zipped]- Concepcialpe, Senior Commodity Specialist, FAO Commodities and Trade Division The Doha Round agriculture negotiations [PDF] - Magdi Farahat, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, World Trade Organization Implications of the WTO Doha Round for the rice sector [PDF] - Eric J. Wailes, L.C. Carter Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Arkansas, USA Changing structure, conduct and performance of the world rice market [PDF] - David Dawe, Economist, IRRI Marketing of value-added rice products in Japan: Germinated brown rice and rice bread [PDF] - Ito Shoichi, Professor, International Food Economist, Tottori University, Japan Indonesia rice policy in view of trade liberalization [PDF] - Mulyo Sidik, BULOG, Indonesia The present and prospects for trade of Chinese rice [PDF] - Yu Xubo, Vice President of COFCO Rice: challenges in production and marketing in India [PDF] - Shailendra Nigam, Executive Director, Food Corporation of India Thai rice: Sustainable life for rice growers [PDF] - Pramote Vanichanont, Thai Rice Millers Association

2. Sustainable rice-based production systems: Challenges and opportunities Harnessing science and technology for sustainable rice-based production systems [PDF] - Gurdev Khush, Rice breeder, former Head of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biochemistry Department, IRRI Agricultural diversification: opportunities and constraints [PDF] - Prabhu Pingali, Director, FAO Agriculture and Economic Development Analysis Division Rice-based production systems and land and water conservation [PDF] - Daniel Renault, Senior Officer, FAO Water Resources, Development and Management Service Biotechnology and its implications for production and trade [PDF] - Ronnie Coffman, Professor and Chair, Department of Plant Breeding, and Director of International Programs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University New varieties and sustainable cropping systems to face food security [PDF] - Nour Ahmadi, Head of the Rice Working Group, CIRAD Traditional rice-based livelihood systems and global indigenous agricultural heritage [PDF] - Parviz Koohafkan, Chief, FAO Land and Plant Nutrition Management Service Hybrid rice for food security and nutrition [PDF] - Yuan Longping, Hybrid rice specialist, Director-General, China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Center, Hunan, China New challenges and technological opportunities for rice-based production systems for food security and poverty alleviation in Asia and the Pacific [PDF] - Ronald P. Cantrell and Gene P. Hettel, Director General and Head, Communication and Publications Services, IRRI Challenges and technical opportunities for rice-based production systems for food security and poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa [PDF] - Toon Defoer, Technology Transfer Agronomist, WARDA, et al. Challenges and technological solutions for rice-based systems in Latin America [PDF] - Luis R. Sanint, Executive Director, CIAT/FLAR Rice-based production systems for food security and poverty alleviation in the Near-East and North Africa: New challenges and technological opportunities [PDF] - Badawi A. Tantawi, Vice-President, Agricultural Research Center, Egypt Constraints and opportunities for the sustainable development of rice-based production systems in Europe [PDF] - A. Ferrero, Head of Department of Agronomy, Selviculture, and Terrain Management, University of Torino and N.V. Nguyen, Agricultural Officer, FAO Crop and Grassland Service

All enquiries concerning the Conference may be addressed to:
Ms Rita Ashton
Commodities and Trade Division
UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
Telephone: +39-06-57052057
Fax: +39-06-57054495

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Egyptian scientists have genetically engineered maize plants to produce a protein used to make the hepatitis B virus vaccine. They hope that their findings could eventually lead to the creation of an edible vaccine that could be locally produced and would dispense with the need for expensive vaccination programmes.

More than 2 billion people are infected with hepatitis B, and about 350 million of these are at high risk of serious illness and death from liver damage and liver cancer.

A vaccine against the disease is already available, but the Egyptian researchers say that edible vaccines produced by GM plants would be cheaper and would not need to be refrigerated.

A team of researchers led by Hania El-itriby, director of
Cairo's Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute, developed GM maize plants that produce the protein known as HbsAg, which elicits an immune response against the hepatitis B virus and could be used as a vaccine. The scientists are now attempting to increase the amount of the protein produced by the plants. They have not yet tested the effectiveness of the edible vaccine in animals and humans, but expect that tests will start early next year.

Reporting the results at an international conference on genetic engineering and biotechnology in
Cairo last month, El-itriby said that producing a cheap, effective vaccine against the disease is vital, as many people are excluded from immunisation programmes because of the expense of the vaccines.

She added that her team's research is a step towards a cheap, edible vaccine for developing countries that would not require refrigerators for storage, or skilled medical personnel and needles to deliver the vaccine.

Source: SciDev.Net
7 April 2004

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A gene-switching mechanism dating back 400 million years to the very first plants that made it onto land has been found by plant biologists at UC Davis. A family of genes required for stem and leaf development in flowering plants is controlled in the same way in everything from mosses to a Douglas fir, according to postdoctoral researcher Sandra Floyd and John Bowman, professor of plant biology at UC Davis.

The mechanism depends on microRNAs, short pieces of RNA that switch genes off by interfering with messenger RNAs that are produced when genes are read. Floyd and Bowman looked at a family of genes found in all major groups of land plants called class III HD-Zip genes. They found that these genes are controlled by microRNAs and that the microRNA binding region is almost identical in moss, liverworts, club moss, ferns, Douglas fir, Mexican yew and Arabidopsis, a flowering plant often used in laboratory research.

Not only are the amino acid sequences of the proteins highly conserved, but also the nucleotide sequence of the microRNA binding site in the mRNA has been conserved for 400 million years, Bowman said. This is the first demonstration of gene regulation by a microRNA in non-flowering plants such as mosses and ferns. A similarly ancient system of regulation by microRNAs has recently been found in animals, Floyd said.

The research is published in the April 1 issue of Nature.

31 March, 2004

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Discovery Shapes Understanding of how Seeds are Created
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have identified a protein that helps guide sperm to egg in flowering lily plants, a significant step forward in the field of plant reproduction.

Elizabeth Lord, professor of plant biology and a member of the Center for Plant Cell Biology at UC Riverside, authored the paper titled Chemocyanin, a Small, Basic Protein from the Lily Stigma Induces Pollen Tube Chemotropism. The paper appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Botanists have long known that, in flowering plants, the female organs play a role in guiding sperm-laden pollen tubes to the eggs found in ovules. But until now, they did not know exactly how. Lords team found that chemocyanin, a protein with a previously unknown function, effectively guided sperm-laden lily pollen tubes to the plants ovules, which hold the eggs from which come seeds in the lily. The protein works specifically in lilies. Tobacco pollen tubes were not similarly guided.

The paper also shows that chemocyanin was more effective when another protein found in the stigma of the lily, SCA, was present. Chemocyanin and other proteins such as SCA may unlock the network of signals involved in plant reproduction.

The importance of understanding how plants reproduce is enormous for the future manipulation of crop and nursery plants, said Lord. There is a huge flower industry in
California, and we know little about how seed set occurs in most flowering plants.

Lilies are good examples because they cannot produce seed with their own pollen so they must be cross-pollinated with another variety, according to Lord. And while the industry grows Easter lilies from bulbs not seed, whenever they want to produce new varieties for the flower market or for gardens they have to produce seed by crossing varieties.

This research has relevance for all flowering plants because we do not know yet how pollen tubes, which carry sperm cells, are guided to the egg cell in the ovary, said Lord. Our discovery of a protein from the pistil which acts to guide pollen tubes to the egg cell is a first for flowering plants.

The protein, chemocyanin, is concentrated on the flower stigma, where pollen grains land on the flower. The pollen grains germinate on the stigma to form pollen tubes, which carry sperm cells, then pass through the female tissues starting from the stigma, ending up in the ovary, which contain ovules that contain eggs.

You would be surprised to know that we don't even know the identity of the molecules that attract human sperm cells to the egg, Lord added.

Lords research team at UC Riverside included doctoral students Sunran Kim and Juan Dong; postgraduate researchers Jean-Claude Mollet and Sang-
Youl Park; and academic coordinator in the Department of Chemistry, Kangling Zhang.
(From Press Release of
9 December 2003)

Submitted by Kathy Barton
Director of Marketing and Research
UCR College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

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UC studies genetically engineered alfalfa to produce objective information about the new agricultural technology.

University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisors and researchers are growing genetically engineered alfalfa in small experimental plots to determine whether the technology will be beneficial to California farmers.

"We would like to be ready with research-based answers when this technology is introduced," said Steve Orloff, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in
Siskiyou County.  "It's somewhat controversial, but providing unbiased research results will enable growers to make intelligent decisions about it for themselves."

Although final results are not yet in, the UC scientists believe that the new varieties, which have been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), could be an important new tool for alfalfa growers.

According to Putnam, the major advantages of Roundup Ready technology in alfalfa appear to be simplicity, flexibility and broad-spectrum control of weeds.  There may be other advantages as well.

"Alfalfa growers are working closely with state agencies to prevent runoff of insecticides and herbicides into streams and rivers," Canevari said. "This new technology may reduce the amount of pesticides that are needed to grow the crop, and thereby reduces the risk of pesticide runoff with some of our winter-applied herbicides."

However, concerns remain.  Canevari has seen a "weed shift" in his experimental plots where Roundup Ready alfalfa has been grown for three years.

Another worry is the development of herbicide-resistant weeds.  Certain weeds, such as ryegrass, over the years have developed levels of resistance to glyphosate.
Contact: Jeannette Warnert, (559) 241-7514,

Source: AgBioView
6 April 2004

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Oskar Erikson, Magnus Hertzberg & Torgny Ným, Nature Biotechnology
22, 455 - 458 (2004)

Selectable markers enable transgenic plants or cells to be identified after transformation. They can be divided into positive and negative markers conferring a selective advantage or disadvantage, respectively. We present a marker gene, dao1, encoding D-amino acid oxidase (DAAO, EC that can be used for either positive or negative selection, depending on the substrate. DAAO catalyzes the oxidative deamination of a range of D-amino acids1. Selection is based on differences in the toxicity of different D-amino acids and their metabolites to plants. Thus, D-alanine and D-serine are toxic to plants, but are metabolized by DAAO into nontoxic products, whereas D-isoleucine and D-valine have low toxicity, but are metabolized by DAAO into the toxic keto acids 3-methyl-2-oxopentanoate and 3-methyl-2-oxobutanoate, respectively. Hence, both positive and negative selection is possible with the same marker gene. The marker has been successfully established in Arabidopsis thaliana, and proven to be versatile, rapidly yielding unambiguous results, and allowing selection immediately after germination.

7 April 2004

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A "new guard" of geneticists at the Agricultural Research Service is leading a genetic revolution in the sugar beet industry, with funding from the Beet Sugar Development Foundation (BSDF) of Denver, Colo. During the past decade, the ARS scientists have been changing their breeding strategy from trait-based to gene-based selection, and in the past five years have begun a project to map the sugar beet genome.

The ARS group is one of just a few in the world and the only one in the
United States working on the sugar beet genome. The group includes J. Mitchell McGrath, who heads a research team at the ARS Sugar Beet and Bean Research Unit at East Lansing, Mich.; plant pathologist John Weiland at ARS' Sugar Beet and Potato Research Unit at Fargo, N.D.; plant geneticist Leonard Panella of ARS' Sugar Beet Research Unit at Fort Collins, Colo.; and Robert Lewellen, plant geneticist at ARS' Crop Improvement and Protection Research Unit at Salinas, Calif.

Already, McGrath's group and two independent groups in
Germany have deposited more than 20,000 ESTs (expressed sequence tags) into the National Center for Biotechnology Information's GenBank site ( These tags identify probably one-third to one-half of the 30,000 genes thought to make up the functional part of the sugar beet genome.

McGrath worked with Weiland and a contract firm to package a BAC (bacterial artificial chromosomes) "library." This type of "library" uses safe strains of bacteria to store sugar beet DNA. These sequences are then either screened with genetic markers, or compared with sequences of known genes, to connect them to possible traits. Each clone in the library of 38,400 cloned bacteria stores a different DNA sequence from the sugar beet's genome. Panella and Lewellen also collaborated on the library.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the BSDF, ARS is charged with developing basic germplasm lines and releasing them to the foundation, for distribution to BSDF members.

Read more about the research in the April issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online at:

ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.

ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Don Comis, (301) 504-1625,

1 April 2004

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Wild potatoes growing high above the desert in southeastern Arizona may hold the genetic keys to a defense against the Columbia root-knot nematode, according to Agricultural Research Service scientists.

The tiny, wormlike pest is especially troublesome in
Washington, Oregon and Idaho, where more than half of the U.S. tuber crop is grown. Growers fumigate fields to keep the nematode from damaging the crop's roots. Annually, they'll spend $20 million on fumigants to prevent crop losses of $40 million.

Since resistance isn't found in
U.S. potatoes, ARS scientists Chuck Brown and John Bamberg sought to fortify the crop with useful new genes from its wild mountain relatives, including Solanum fendleri, a native of the U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico. Bamberg manages S. fendleri seedlots at the ARS U.S. Potato Genebank in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Early tests in Prosser, Wash., showed some specimens were nematode resistant.

The researchers decided to repeat the tests. But first, they wished to see for themselves where the seed they had used originally came from, collect new specimens and answer the question: "Why would a wild potato be resistant to an agricultural pest?" In September 2002, this interest took them to the Huachuca and Chiricahua mountains in
Arizona. There, they collected small tubers and seed from natural stands of S. fendleri at two sites at altitudes of 6,000-8,000 feet.

Upon returning, they grew new plants from the seed and tubers they had collected. Later, they assessed the nematode resistance or susceptibility, observing that some individuals from the collection were good hosts (susceptible), while others were not, meaning they resisted the pest.

Crossing the resistant S. fendleri plants with cultivated potatoes, however, is difficult to do because of chromosome number differences. Brown, at the ARS Vegetable and Forage Crops Research Unit in Prosser, tackled this hurdle using a breeding technique called "bridging crosses." The resulting plants are now growing in a greenhouse, and Brown plans to cross them with cultivated sources, setting the stage for breeders to develop new, nematode-resistant commercial varieties.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.

ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Jan Suszkiw, (301) 504-1630,

23 March 2004

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In June 2001, North Carolina State University plant pathologist Jean Beagle Ristaino shocked the scientific world when she published a paper in the journal Nature that called into question the then-prevailing theories about the strain of pathogen and its place of origin that caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840s.

Using DNA fingerprinting analysis of 150-year-old leaves evidence that had not previously been studied Ristaino ruled out the longtime prime suspect behind the famine: the Ib haplotype, or strain, of the late-blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans, which was presumed to have originated in

Now, in a new study, Ristaino and postdoctoral student Kim May point the finger at the Ia strain of P. infestans, and trace its probable roots to the
Andes Mountains in South America.

The study will be published in the April 2004 edition of Mycological Research.

The researchers used DNA sequences from mitochondrial DNA to examine 186 specimens from six different regions of the world dating from as early as 1845 to as late as 1982. The specimens included ones from late-blight epidemics in
Ireland, the United States and continental Europe, and came from collections housed in England, Ireland and the United States.

About 90 percent of the specimens were confirmed to be infected with P. infestans, the paper reports. About 86 percent of the specimens ,including those involved in major epidemics in
Ireland and other locations around the globe, were infected with the Ia haplotype of P. infestans. The Ib haplotype, the one previously presumed to be the culprit behind the Irish potato famine and other epidemics before Ristaino's groundbreaking 2001 study, was present only in more modern samples from Central and South America.

Moreover, the researchers found two strains Ia and IIb in potato specimens studied from 1950s
Nicaragua. This finding further debunks the single-strain theory that prevailed before Ristaino's 2001 Nature paper.

Ristaino's lab is currently investigating the center of origin of P. infestans. She hypothesizes that the pathogen originated in
South America and perhaps made its way to Europe and the United States via exports of potato seed on steamships. The data to support this hypothesis will be published by one of Ristaino's graduate students, Luis Gomez, in the next year.

There are four haplotypes of P. infestans Ia, Ib, IIa and IIb, which is a fungus-like pathogen that causes severe lesions on leaves of potato and tomato plants.

The late-blight pathogen led to the Irish potato famine, which killed or displaced millions of Irish people, and other epidemics across the world. Late blight continues to wreak havoc as a major potato and tomato killer, which makes Ristaino's research all the more important.

"If we can understand the strains of P. infestans that are out there now and see how the pathogen has evolved over time, including how it mutates in response to fungicides or host resistance we'll better be able to manage the disease,"Ristaino said.

The research is funded by the National Geographic Society, the USDA National Research Initiatives Cooperative Grants Program, the North Carolina State Agricultural Research Service and NC States International Programs Office.


Identity of the Mitochondrial DNA Haplotype(s) of Phytophthora infestans in Historical Specimens from the Irish Potato Famine
Authors: K.J. May and Jean Beagle Ristaino, North Carolina State University
Published: April 2004, in Mycological Research

The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes of the plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans present in dried potato and tomato leaves from herbarium specimens collected during the Irish potato famine and later in the 19th and early 20th century were identified. A 100bp fragment of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) specific for P. infestans was amplified from 90 percent of the specimens (n=186), confirming infection by P. infestans. Mitochondrial DNA primers were designed that distinguish the extant haplotypes. Eighty-six percent of the herbarium specimens from historic epidemics were infected with the Ia mtDNA haplotype. Two mid 20th century potato leaves from
Ecuador (1967) and Bolivia (1944) were infected with the Ib mtDNA haplotype of the pathogen. Both the Ia and IIb haplotypes were found in specimens collected in Nicaragua in the 1950s. The data suggest that the Ia haplotype of P. infestans was responsible for the historic epidemics during the 19th century in the UK, Europe, and the U.S. The Ib mtDNA haplotype of the pathogen was dispersed later in the early 20th century from Bolivia and Ecuador. Multiple haplotypes were present outside Mexico in the 1950s indicating that pathogen diversity was greater than previously believed.

Raleigh, North Carolina

17 March 2004

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Efforts to sequence the maize genome received a boost today with the announcement by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) that three industry leaders will share their corn genome sequence data. The valuable data provided by Ceres, Inc., Monsanto Company, and DuPont subsidiary, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., combined with corn sequence data already in the public domain, will significantly accelerate the identification of genes within the entire corn genome.

With the availability of sequencing data, the corn genome could be completely sequenced by 2007, potentially years ahead of when it would have been completed without this initiative.

"The sharing of these data will pave the way toward future improvements in corn that hold great promise for corn growers and consumers around the globe," said Gary Davis, chairman of NCGA's Research and Business Development Action Team. "We would like to build on this momentum to develop a broader coalition that supports this important effort."

NCGA believes completion of the maize genome sequence will increase breeding efficiency, streamline the delivery of new traits, allow the discovery and enhancement of properties such as drought tolerance and further the recognition and understanding of traits that will enhance corns position as the ideal crop for food, feed, fuel and industrial uses. Leaders from NCGA and the companies involved believe this sequencing information has the ability to benefit existing and future research for the
U.S. corn industry.

"As a grower, I'm interested in how we can modify the corn crop to find new traits that offer enhanced value and new uses,"
Davis said. "And as a consumer, the mapping of this genome is extremely important because it could lead to new products."

This project underscores NCGA's continued commitment to advancements through research. NCGA took a leading role in getting the Plant Genome Initiative signed into law in 1997 and continues to support this important effort. Today's announcement reinforces that commitment, according to NCGA Manager of Research and Business Development Nathan Danielson. "This was a situation where a lot of people realized it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it," he said.

The data will be available to research scientists through a searchable database on the Internet, and is intended to be hosted at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a not-for-profit research institute. To gain access to the data, scientists must complete a licensing agreement that will be downloadable on the NCGA Web site,

15 March 2004

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It is now possible to produce a plant, which, in the presence of specific compounds in the soil, can change color from green to red with three to five weeks of growth.  This bio-detection system has several potential applications like detecting explosives present in landmines and soil, as well as finding and removing heavy metals in polluted soil.  Aresa Biodetection, a biotechnology company in
Copenhagen, Denmark, said that this invention could significantly speed the removal of landmines in areas where agricultural cultivation is possible.  The technology is based on the genetic engineering of Arabidopsis thaliana.  "This is a pioneering example of how we will see GM plants applied for humanitarian and environmental purposes in the future," said John Mundy of the Department of Plant Physiology, University of Copenhagen.  More information can be found at or send an e-mail to info@aresa.

Contributed by Margaret Smith
Dept of Plant Breeding
Cornell University

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Scientists working with carefully conserved and protected rice varieties have discovered a wild cousin of today's cultivated rice that is no longer found in nature.

These rare and endangered seeds are crucial in the ongoing struggle to prevent rice viruses in South and
Southeast Asia from decimating crops.

Storage and maintenance of the varieties by the International Rice Research Institute has saved a treasure-trove of biodiversity from extinction.

The complete article is in PDF format at

15 March 2004

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The scientific puzzle pieces are fitting together to form a definitive picture of the origin of corn, says a Duke University plant geneticist who has proposed that the world's most important food crop originated in an ancient cross between two grasses. Mary Eubanks described the latest evidence that corn, or maize, originated as a cross between teosinte and gamagrass, or Tripsacum, in a talk
Friday, April 2, 2004, at a symposium on maize held at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology ( in Montreal. Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Eubanks, an adjunct professor of biology, has developed evidence that modern corn, scientific name Zea mays, did not evolve solely from a Central American grass known as teosinte -- traditionally the most widely held theory. Rather, her experiments clearly demonstrate that corn arose from a serendipitously viable cross between teosinte and gamagrass. Eubanks emphasized in an interview that her research has confirmed that teosinte was indeed one of corn's ancestors, and that gamagrass was a critical genetic contributor. She contrasts her evidence with the former, highly controversial theory of the late biologist Paul Mangelsdorf, who espoused that teosinte was an offshoot of a cross between corn and Tripsacum rather than an ancestor of corn. "My hypothesis confirms that teosinte is an ancestor of maize, and that key genes were also contributed by gamagrass," she said. In her talk, Eubanks displayed examples of her crosses between species of teosinte and gamagrass that exhibit the evolution from the tiny spikes of teosinte seeds to the early versions of corn ears.

New evidence from other researchers that maize evolved very rapidly, perhaps over only a century, supports such a theory, said Eubanks. Rather than the long, slow progressive evolution from teosinte into maize, a fertile cross between teosinte and gamagrass could have relatively quickly yielded early versions of maize. In her talk, Eubanks displayed archaeological specimens of corn alongside matching segregates from experimental crosses between teosinte and gamagrass.

Eubanks also discussed her comparative DNA fingerprinting studies of teosinte and Tripsacum taxa, along with primitive popcorns from
Mexico and South America. Those analyses of over a hundred genes in the taxa revealed that some 20 percent of the versions, called alleles, of specific genes found in maize are found only in Tripsacum. And, about 36 percent of the alleles in maize were shared uniquely with teosinte.

"These findings are by no means conclusive," said Eubanks. "We need to do a lot more sampling of the genetic diversity in different teosinte and Tripsacum species to further test this finding. But certainly, the preliminary evidence from this study supports the hypothesis that Tripsacum introgression could have been the energizing factor for the mutations that humans then selected to derive domesticated maize."  In such selections, theorized Eubanks, early humans would have selected -- from the wide range of plants that would result from such crosses -- those that had the most numerous and accessible seeds. Eventually, such selection would have resulted in the cob-like structure of today's corn, she said.

Understanding the genetic origins of corn -- now the world's single largest food crop-- is important both for production of new varieties and for preserving corn's genetic heritage, said Eubanks. "Because the crosses between teosinte and gamagrass bridge the sterility barrier between maize and Tripsacum, I'm now moving genes from gamagrass into corn," she said. "And we have developed drought-resistant and insect-resistant corn using conventional plant breeding methods."

For example, according to Eubanks, who is working with a commercial seed producer, test crops of some new hybrids have shown strong resistance to the billion-dollar bugs corn rootworm and European corn borer, along with corn earworm, another problematic corn pest. "Understanding the genetic origins of corn and how people historically used corn could offer valuable insights for application to sustainable agriculture today," she said. "And finally, the gene pool underlying corn is part of our heritage that must be preserved if we are to retain the ability to solve agricultural problems such as new pests or the need for new farming methods."

Also, she noted, the scientific emphasis on corn is particularly timely because of recent findings that genetically altered corn is contaminating the native land races of maize and its wild relative teosinte currently in
Mexico. This alteration of the natural gene pools of these genetic resources could have the effect of reducing the diversity of corn varieties, and compromise the ability to use those varieties as the basis for new crop strains.

According to Eubanks, the new drought and pest-resistant hybrids she and her colleagues have developed will undergo field tests this summer in the
Midwest, followed by yield trials in winter nurseries, more field tests in the Midwest in 2005, and marketing seed in 2006.

Contact: Dennis Meredith

2 April 2004

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Western Australia's most highly qualified chefs are tinkering with lupins to ensure they do not appeal to green peach or cowpea aphids, but remain palatable to farmed livestock.

Researchers collaborating through the University of Western Australia (WA) based Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA) have revealed the key ingredients which make some lupins toxic to aphids and therefore protected from damaging attacks.

Shao Fang Wang of the WA Chemistry Centre and James Ridsdill-Smith of CSIRO examined resistant and susceptible varieties of WA's popular narrow-leafed lupin and the potentially valuable yellow lupin to detect differences in chemical make-up.

"We found specific alkaloids were 10 to 30 times more prevalent in resistant varieties than in susceptible ones.

"In high concentrations those same alkaloids are toxic to animals, so breeders must strike a delicate balance to achieve aphid resistance, while maintaining palatability and safety for animals," Dr Wang said.

The high protein content and low cost of lupins have driven annual national stockfeed demand for the grain towards one million tonnes. WA is a key supplier to this market, with production recovering after recent droughts lowered its 1 mt/yr harvest average.

Having identified lupanine as the most active alkaloid contributing to the resistance of narrow-leafed lupin and gramine as the key to yellow lupin resistance, the CLIMA researchers fed low concentrations of those compounds to aphids. The resultant mortality and restricted growth of aphids confirmed the alkaloidseffect.

"Department of Agriculture trials concluded that lupins became susceptible to aphids when lupanine or gramine concentrations dipped. There were six times more aphids on susceptible yellow lupin and three times more on susceptible narrow-leafed lupins," Dr Wang said.

Aphid susceptibility has plagued yellow lupins, limiting cultivation of the species which, with its high sulphur and low phosphorus concentrations, could fetch premiums from animal feed markets, such as pigs and aquaculture.

While the experimental variety used in these Grains Research and Development Corporation and Grain Research Committee supported trials proved resistant, its gramine concentration was too high for stockfeed.

CLIMA researchers will investigate the manipulation of alkaloid occurrence to cause greater expression in the phloem eaten by aphids and less in the grain that is fed to animals.

"Getting the right mix of these alkaloids to deter aphids, while appealing to animals, will be a precise science," Dr Wang concluded.

"We hope to start advising on alkaloid benchmarks to the Department of Agriculture lupin breeding team by the end of the year."

March 17, 2004

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On 12 March 2004, CIMMYT took a modest but historic step in the development of drought tolerant wheat, when a small trial plot was sown to genetically modified (transgenic) wheat in a screenhouse at the Centers headquarters in Texcoco, Mexico. This is the first time that transgenic wheat has been planted under field-like conditions in
Mexico, and rigorous biosafety procedures are being followed.

Drought is arguably the worlds most important agricultural production problem. In developing countries, millions of hectares of wheat are grown in areas that often experience drought, and the problem is projected to worsen with climate change. A plants ability to withstand dry conditions at critical periods in its growth can make the difference between food and famine for poor households. Developing drought-tolerant wheat and maize varieties that perform well under diverse conditions is a top priority at CIMMYT, where innovative researchconventional as well as transgenicis pursued to meet this complex and difficult challenge.

CIMMYT researchers have well-founded hopes that the wheat they are testing will withstand serious droughts. This wheat carries the DREB1A gene from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The gene has been shown to confer tolerance to drought, low temperatures, and salinity in Arabidopsis, a plant species related to wild mustard (see Nature Biotechnology 17:287-291).

Previous experiments with DREB wheat grown in pots in CIMMYTs biosafety greenhouse provided very encouraging results. The new screenhouse trial will enable researchers to see whether the DREB wheat responds similarly under more naturalconditions.

This trial is the first time that a food crop carrying the DREB gene has advanced to this level of testing. If the results are positive, there are major implications for its use in other cereal crops, such as rice, maize, and barley. CIMMYT is considering testing the DREB gene in the drought-tolerant wheat it has developed through conventional breeding, to see if the resulting plants can use water even more efficiently.

For complete article see:

Contributed by Kelly Cassaday (CIMMYT)

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With assistance from the Atlanta-based Carter Center, a new type of corn seed has taken root in Ghana - an altered form of corn known as obatanpa, or "good nursing mother." Scientists, on the other hand, call it "quality protein maize." This corn yields more corn per acre and contains better protein.

Carter Center worked in partnership with the Sasakawa Africa Association, led by agronomist Norman Borlaug. Scientists began developing this quality protein maize from a strain of Andean corn in the 1960s to have higher-than-normal levels of lysine and tryptophan. But it was difficult to get a variety that tasted as good as normal corn, resisted disease as well, offered as high a yield, or had the same appealing color and consistency.
The project was then revived in the 1980s, particularly in
Ghana, where local experts developed a quality protein strain that matched traditional corn in taste, texture and color.
At present, corn seeds have been taken from
Ghana to be introduced in other countries in Africa.

Download the full story at

Contributed by Margaret Smith
Dept of Plant Breeding
Cornell University

(Return to Contents)



The German company Bayer CropScience has scrapped plans to cultivate its
genetically modified (GM) forage maize variety Chardon LL in the UK,
citing government constraints for making it 'economically non viable'.

The company was the only one authorised to grow GM maize in the UK, and
the government believes that Bayer's decision not to press ahead with
commercialisation means that it is unlikely that GM crops will be grown in
the UK for the 'foreseeable future'.

In a statement issued by Bayer CropScience on 31 March, the company
welcomes the
UK government's policy announcement on GM food and crops,
published at the beginning of March. The government announcement had
confirmed that Chardon LL was both safe and effective, argues Bayer, which
they regarded as a positive step towards the development of plant
biotechnologies in the

'The government has, however, placed a number of constraints on this
conditional approval before the commercial cultivation of GM forage maize
can proceed in the
UK,' the statement continues. 'The specific details of
these conditions are still not available and thus will result in yet
another open-ended period of delay. These uncertainties and undefined
timelines will make this five year old variety economically unviable.'

However, UK Environment Minister Elliot Morley reportedly defended the
government's approach to the commercialisation of GM maize. 'We do not
apologise for the fact that there is a tough EU-wide regulatory regime on
GMs. It applies to the whole of the EU, not just the
UK,' he said.

'We always said it would be for the market to decide the viability of
growing and selling GM once the government assessed safety and risk. [The
Prime Minister's] strategy unit report on the costs and benefits of GM
last year did say there would be limited short term commercial benefits in
the UK for growing GM,' Mr Morley concluded.

Source: AgBioView
31 March 2004

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An international seed treaty that gives legal force to the conservation of the world's major agricultural seeds is due to come in to force on 29 June. The 90-day countdown to the implementation of the treaty was triggered this week when 12 European countries and the European Community ratified the agreement. Known as the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the treaty is intended to ensure that plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, which are vital for human survival, are conserved and sustainably used, and that benefits from their use are equitably and fairly distributed.

"This is a legally binding treaty that will be crucial for the sustainability of agriculture," says director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf. Since the beginning of agriculture, around 10,000 species have been used to produce food and fodder. But today just 150 crops feed most humans and just 12 crops provide 80 per cent of food energy. Scientists are concerned that this lack of genetic variability makes the world's agriculture increasingly vulnerable to diseases, changes in climate and other factors.

The Intermediate Technology Development Group, a nongovernmental organisation that aims to advocate the sustainable use of technology to reduce poverty in developing nations, welcomed the treaty's legal recognition. But in a statement the organisation warns that the treaty "will be just a piece of paper if it is not backed by substantial funds from the rich world to support conservation of seeds not just in seed banks but in farmers' fields where they could be continuously developed". It also calls for patents on seeds to be banned, saying that "while it is the intention of the treaty to keep agricultural seeds in the public domain, the article that legislates for this is ambiguous".

Source: SciDev.Net
2 April 2004

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On the 8th of January 2004, the Turkish National Assembly has accepted the new legislation on Protection of the Breeders'Rights of New Plant Varieties.  So
Turkey is underway to accede to the UPOV convention. The purpose of the UPOV Convention is to encourage the development of new varieties of plants by granting breeders an intellectual property right on the basis of a set of defined principles. To be eligible for protection, varieties need to satisfy certain conditions, such as being distinct from existing, commonly known varieties and sufficiently uniform and stable.

With this law, a new variety wont be used without permission of the variety owners. Thereafter international seed companies wont hesitate to bring their high yielding varieties to
Turkey. Protection of Plant BreedersRights will also encourage the plant breeders in public or private sector, because they will be eligible to get benefit of their improved varieties.

On the other hand, the acceptance of this law has not been welcomed by farmers associations, because the small farmersexception were thought to be more than 92 tons.

It is necessary to prepare further detailed regulations on this law to come into force. This attempt is one of the important steps for
Turkey on the way to adapt its agriculture to the European Union.

Submitted by Prof. Dr. Nazimi Acikgoz
E. U. Seed Technology Center
Bornova, TURKEY

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Local farming communities throughout the world face productivity constraints, environmental concerns, and diverse nutritional needs. Developing countries address these challenges in a number of ways. One way is public research that produces genetically modified (GM) crops and recognize biotechnology as a part of the solution. To reach these communities, GM crops, after receiving biosafety agreement, must be approved for evaluation under local conditions.

However, gaps between approvals in the developed and developing world grow larger, as the process of advancing GM crops in developing countries becomes increasingly difficult. In several countries, only insect resistant cotton has successfully moved from small, confined experimental trials to larger, open trials and to farms. By far, most GM crop approvals have been for commercial products that perform well under tropical conditions.

However, complete information on public GM crop research in developing countries has not been assessed. Will policies and research institutions in the developing world stimulate the safe use of publicly funded GM food crops? The relatively few GM crops approved from public research, coupled with growing regulatory, biosafety capacity, trade, and political concerns, argue to the contrary.

To tackle this issue, we identified and analyzed public research pipelines for GM crops among 16 developing countries and transition economies. Respondents reported 209 genetic transformation events1 for 46 different crops at the time when the survey was conducted. The pipelines demonstrate scientific progress among publicly funded crop research institutes in participating countries. Information and findings are presented for GM crops nearing final stages of selection. Additional details are provided for the types of genes and traits used, the breadth of genetic resources documented, implications for regulation, and the type of research partnerships

Regulations, GM crop approvals, choice of transgene, and policy implications are discussed as they affect this research. Based on these findings, recommendations are presented that would help sustain and increase efficiency of publicly supported research while meeting biosafety requirements. To do so, the study examines results concerning investments and choices made in research, capacity, and policy development for biotechnology. These indicate the risk and potential for GM technologies in developing countries. Policy makers, those funding biotechnology, and other stakeholders can use this information to prioritize investments, consider
product advancement, and assess relative magnitude of potential risks, and benefits.

The full report is in PDF format at

2 April 2004

(Return to Contents)



The Angolan government has rejected food shipments of maize, most of which originates in the United States, arguing that the shipments may contain genetically modified (GM) material. In doing so, the country has aligned itself with four southern African nations Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe which have controversially banned imports of GM food (see Famine-stricken countries reject GM maize).

Angola's minister of agriculture and rural development, Gilberto Buta Lutucuta, told the Angolan Press Agency that the food was rejected "because so far we don't know for sure what impact these products might have on either human or animal health." According to Elizabeth Matos, chairperson of the National Plant Genetic Resources centre in Luanda, the ban has also been implemented to protect Angola's great diversity of plant life.  "We are holding in our gene bank almost 800 different types of maize and local ecotypes that we have picked up from all over the country and we don't want this material crossed with GM," she says.

Angola has a complete lack of GM regulatory systems there is no national biosafety framework and no legislation concerning GM products. According to Mike Sackett, southern Africa director for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), however, the decision will "quite dramatically" affect efforts to fight hunger in Angola.

"Even before the question of the new legislation came out, there were serious constraints on our food pipeline such that we were going to cut rations for April and May for 1.9 million people by 30 per cent," he says. "The result of this cancellation is that we will have to make a 50 per cent cut starting 1 April."

Sackett doubts whether anyone in
Angola will starve as a result of the ban. But he adds that "it makes the process of resettling slower and tougher, and that much more risky". The ban is expected to cause a delay of two to three months before another food shipment can be received. There is some confusion, however, over the government's position. No date has been given for implementation of the new ban, which was announced on 17 March. In addition, the Angolan Press Agency has reported that the proposed legislation is only the draft of a law intended to regulate the import of seeds and grains. Nevertheless the WFP is unwilling to risk the possibility of food rotting in the harbour while the issue is settled. As a result, the shipment of 19,000 tons of cereal rejected by Angola will be rerouted to "other hungry people", Sackett says.

Milling the grain on arrival which would mean that any GM maize could not be planted as seed is not possible, as the WFP does not have the funds to pay the few Angolan millers operating in the three ports selected for food deliveries. And if the grain is commercially milled in the
United States, less food is received, costs rise significantly and the lag time between order and delivery is extended.

The WFP has already resumed shipments to the other four countries in southern
Africa that rejected GM food donations last year. The countries now receive either non-GM maize from South Africa, or processed GM products, such as a corn-soya blend, a fortified cereal protein available in both South Africa and the United States. Authorities in the United States, which supplies more than three-quarters of the UN food aid to Angola, are currently discussing what processed food to offer next. A US embassy spokesperson in Pretoria said the United States is unable to offer non-GM seed or flour because it is impossible in practice to keep either separate from GM strains on their way from the field to the table.

Source: SciDev.Net
2 April 2004

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A gift of $135,000 from Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. will benefit Iowa State University's Office of Biotechnology by helping future plant breeders and researchers understand the ethical, economic and legal dimensions of protecting scientific discoveries.

A portion of Pioneer's gift resulted from recent court cases in which Pioneer successfully enforced its intellectual property rights relating to its unique seed products.

"Protecting scientific discoveries is a complex and global issue. Future researchers need to have a foundation for understanding the various dimensions of the value of their proprietary discoveries in agriculture," said Bill Niebur, Pioneer vice president, Research, Discovery.

"The ability for researchers to protect their discoveries is essential to promote product development that will improve agriculture. Through its support of
Iowa State University, Pioneer is demonstrating the value it places on researchers' rights and ethical business practices," Niebur said.

The gift will be used to fund the following four projects.

Interdisciplinary, Web-based educational activities for college students.
Kristen Hessler, bioethics outreach coordinator, and Allen Knapp, agronomy associate professor, will develop a series of interactive activities on the Web to introduce students to fields outside of their own, including life sciences, philosophy, economics, law and international trade. The lessons will help students understand the ethical ramifications of intellectual property protection. The two-year project will begin this summer.

Economics of Innovation and Science Policy lectures.
Pioneer's gift will support a five-year series of lectures by leading national and international experts. They will discuss issues related to the economic incentives for scientific research and development activities for both the public and private sectors, and the contribution of science and technology to economic development and growth. The on-campus lectures will be free and open to the public. GianCarlo Moschini, Pioneer Chair of Science and Technology Policy and professor of economics, will coordinate the series, which will begin next fall.

Intellectual Property Protection for Germplasm and Plant Varieties: PVP Certificates or Patents?
In the
United States, two methods of discovery protection available to plant breeders are the protection certificates envisioned by the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act, and the utility patents obtained through the Patent and Trademark Office. But in many other countries, only PVP-type protection is possible. The type of protection that these alternatives offer differs greatly. Moschini will study the different innovation incentives provided by PVP and patents, and analyze the implications for agricultural innovations. He also will look at the international implications for agricultural innovations. Study results should be useful in devising optimal protection policies for agriculture, especially for modern biotechnology innovations. The project will begin this spring and conclude in 2005.

Impact of Intellectual Property Rights Protection on Producers and Consumers in Developing Countries.
Property rights in the seed industry encourage private sector research that can be profitably sold in the country
where the right is protected. Developed countries have strong property rights and developing countries tend to have weaker protections. Beginning this spring, three
Iowa State professors will conduct research that examines economic and jurisprudential justifications for enforcement, and the likely welfare effect of strong rights protection. Their goal is to look at the economic implications of IP rights in a broader political jurisprudential context. The faculty members conducting the two-year research project are Dermot Hayes, Pioneer Chair in Agribusiness and professor of economics; Sergio Lence, professor of economics; and Clark Wolf, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies and director of the ISU Bioethics Program.

"We're grateful for Pioneer's continuing support of the biotechnology program at
Iowa State. This gift enables us to advance our knowledge of the impacts of researchers' rights, keep the campus community up-to-date on timely, evolving topics, and enhance students' understanding of an issue they will face in their careers," said Walter Fehr, C.F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture, and director of the Office of Biotechnology.

Pioneer's gift was made through the ISU Foundation -- a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to securing and stewarding gifts and grants that benefit
Iowa State University.

23 March 2004

(Return to Contents)



Local farming communities throughout the world face productivity constraints, environmental concerns, and diverse nutritional needs. Developing countries address these challenges in a number of ways. One way is public research that produces genetically modified (GM) crops and recognize biotechnology as a part of the solution. To reach these communities, GM crops, after receiving biosafety agreement, must be approved for evaluation under local conditions.

However, gaps between approvals in the developed and developing world grow larger, as the process of advancing GM crops in developing countries becomes increasingly difficult. In several countries, only insect resistant cotton has successfully moved from small, confined experimental trials to larger, open trials and to farms. By far, most GM crop approvals have been for commercial products that perform well under tropical

However, complete information on public GM crop research in developing countries has not been assessed. Will policies and research institutions in the developing world stimulate the safe use of publicly funded GM food crops? The relatively few GM crops approved from public research, coupled with growing regulatory, biosafety capacity, trade, and political concerns, argue to the contrary.

To tackle this issue, we identified and analyzed public research pipelines for GM crops among 16 developing countries and transition economies. Respondents reported 209 genetic transformation events1 for 46 different crops at the time when the survey was conducted. The pipelines demonstrate scientific progress among publicly funded crop research institutes in participating countries. Information and findings are presented for GM crops nearing final stages of selection. Additional details are provided for the types of genes and traits used, the breadth of genetic resources documented, implications for regulation, and the type of research partnerships employed.

Regulations, GM crop approvals, choice of transgene, and policy implications are discussed as they affect this research. Based on these findings, recommendations are presented that would help sustain and increase efficiency of publicly supported research while meeting biosafety requirements. To do so, the study examines results concerning investments and choices made in research, capacity, and policy development for
biotechnology. These indicate the risk and potential for GM technologies in developing countries. Policy makers, those funding biotechnology, and other stakeholders can use this information to prioritize investments, consider product advancement, and assess relative magnitude of potential risks, and benefits.

Full document (PDF) at

Source: AgBioView
2 April 2004

(Return to Contents)




We have started a new email list for Chenopodium.  You are welcome to join, and encourage anyone else to join.  See below for details.

The Chenopodium list is to improve communication among Chenopodium research and development people world-wide.  Emails on taxonomy, agriculture, genetics, germplasm, and product development, for quinoa and other Chenopodium species are welcome.

Information on meetings, publications, funding, plans, and reference questions is of interest.

Emails can be in English, Spanish, and other languages.

Postings are not moderated, but can be made only by list members, since all postings must originate from the members' email addresses.

The list is owned (but not moderated) by David M. Brenner, The US National Plant Germplasm System Curator of Chenopodium germplasm.

The list is housed on the
Iowa State University computer network in Ames, Iowa, USA.


1. To become a member of the list:
Address an email to <>
Enter subscribe Chenopodium and nothing else, in the body of the email.  The
computer will not read the subject part of the email.

2. To be removed from the list:
Address an email to <>
Enter unsubscribe Chenopodium and nothing else, in the body of the email.
The computer will not read the subject part of the email.

3. To post items to the list:

4. To get basic instructions
Address an email to
Enter info Chenopodium and nothing else, in the body of the email.  The
computer will not read the subject part of the email.

5.  To send a message to the owner of the list (but not the entire list
membership), address your message to <> I can
fix problems with list memberships.

Contributed by David Brenner
Plant Introduction Station             phone 515-294-6786
Iowa State University                   fax     515-294-4880
Ames, IA 50011-1170

(Return to Contents)



The International Wheat Information System (IWIS(tm)), curated by CIMMYT, contains data gathered from 1976 to the present, from multiple providers situated in countries throughout the world. International Wheat Improvement Network cooperators and partners have provided the genotypic and phenotypic data contained in IWIS.

IWIS is currently a stand-alone, main-frame database. Plans are underway to upgrade IWIS to enabled remote, web access. The IWIS compact disk (Fox et al., 1996), now available in a 4th edition (Payne et al., 2002), duplicated data querying capabilities and some of the genealogical diagnostics of the mainframe version.

Access to all phenotypic trait data summary tables, collected on germplasm contained in nurseries distributed by IWIN from 1998 - present, is available below. Access to data on other nurseries is available upon request. As new data is received and entered into IWIS, these phenotypic data summary tables will be updated on an approximately bi-month basis until "live" web-accessibility is available.

Contributed by Thomas Payne (CIMMYT)

(Return to Contents)


(Selected items)

We welcome your feedback and encourage you to tell your colleagues or contacts about this e-mail newsletter. Instructions for subscribing (and unsubscribing) are given at the end of the Update. In addition, instructions for subscribing to FAO-BiotechNews-Fr and FAO-BiotechNews-Esp, the French and Spanish versions of FAO-BiotechNews respectively, are also given at the end.


The Coordinator of FAO-BiotechNews, 2-4-2004
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
E-mail address:
FAO website
FAO Biotechnology website (in Arabic,
Chinese, English, French and Spanish)

*** NEWS *** (

1) Developing Country Biotechnology Profiles

On 2 April 2004, FAO launched "Developing Country Biotechnology Profiles", a
searchable database which aims to provide easy access to key, updated
sources of information regarding biotechnology-related policies, regulations
and activities of individual developing countries. It is a new feature in
FAO-BioDeC and is accessed by clicking the "Country Profiles" button on the
left hand menu of the FAO-BioDeC webpage
( The purpose of
the database is to compile, organise and render easily accessible
information that is currently distributed in a number of places and that may
be difficult to find. Information for each country may be provided on the
following 11 subjects: biotechnology research policy; research capacity (key
institutions; summary of major research programmes); biotechnology
regulatory framework (biosafety; food safety; patents; plant variety
protection; plant genetic resources; animal genetic resources);
biotechnology applications and, finally, publications and links. Entries are
in English and users can search on any combination of subject, developing
country or region as well as carry out a free text search. Contact to provide comments (always welcome!) or to request more

3) Plant genetic resources treaty to become law

The FAO Conference, at its 31st session in November 2001, approved the
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
Its objectives are the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic
resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of
benefits derived from their use. The Treaty enters into force on the 90th
day after the deposit of the 40th instrument of ratification, acceptance,
approval or accession. On
31 March 2004, an additional 13 instruments were
deposited with the Director-General of FAO. Having reached the required
number of instruments (40) for the Treaty to enter into force, the date of
entry into force is now set for
29 June 2004. See the FAO news release at (in Arabic,
English, French and Spanish) or contact for more information.

8) Plant tissue culture - Spanish book

The Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), one of the 15
research centres supported by the CGIAR, has made the book "Cultivo de
tejidos en la agricultura: Fundamentos y aplicaciones", edited by W.M. Roca
and L.A. Mroginski, available on the web. It contains 38 chapters and a
series of appendices. The first part (16 chapters) deals with the basis
concepts, methodologies and techniques of plant tissue culture; the second
part (16 chapters) covers the application of tissue culture to numerous
agriculturally important species while the third part (6 chapters) includes
applications of biochemical and molecular techniques to tissue culture. The
1993 edition of the book is sold out. See or
contact for more information.

9) IFPRI - GM crops discussion paper

A discussion paper entitled "To reach the poor - Results from the
ISNAR-IFPRI Next Harvest study on genetically modified crops, public
research, and policy implications" by A. Atanassov and co-authors has just
been published by the International Food Policy Research Institute, one of
the 15 research centres supported by the CGIAR. The paper summarises
information on GM crop research (209 transformation events) conducted by 76
public research institutes in 16 developing countries and transition
economies. This is number 116 of the EPTD (Environment and Production
Technology Division) Discussion Papers, which contain preliminary material
and research results, and are circulated prior to a full peer review in
order to stimulate discussion and critical comment. It is expected that most
Discussion Papers will eventually be published in some other form, and that
their content may also be revised. See or contact for more information.


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subscribe FAO-BiotechNews-Fr-L

The Welcome Text that subscribers receive on joining the e-mail list,
describing its aims and scope and how it works, is available at (in French)

4. To join FAO-BiotechNews-Esp (the Spanish language version of
FAO-BiotechNews), do the same as for FAO-BiotechNews-Fr except the message
should read:
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The Welcome Text is available at
(in Spanish)

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Welcome to the Plant Genome Information Resource (PGDIC) WWW site, from the National Agricultural Library of the US Department of Agriculture - ARS.

Access is provided to a variety of information services and publications covering many aspects of plant genome mapping.

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The Challenge Programme for Unlocking Genetic Diversity in Crops for the Resource-Poor is an international, multi-institute, cross-disciplinary collaboration designed to ensure that the advances of crop science and technology are applied to the specific problems and needs of resource-poor people who rely on agriculture for subsistence and their livelihoods.

The Challenge Programme for Unlocking Genetic Diversity in Crops for the Resource-Poor is one of three pilot Challenge Programmes of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

The Challenge Programmes e-newsletter can be accessed at:

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A new edition of the CSREES web site is scheduled to appear on April 15.  You will find a page on Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics. After the launch, the content of the different sections can be changed, updated, improved, etc. Consequently, your comments and suggestions for changes or additional material will be welcome and used.

If you have a good impact example, let me knowdont hesitate to advertise your own work for the good of the entire discipline.   (Note:  we cannot use articles copyrighted by others on our web site; we can, however, link to articles on the publishers site).

Subject area pages are grouped under national emphasis areas.   Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics is under Plants and plant products and Biotechnology and genomics. It concentrates on plant breeding because USDA leadership accepts genomics as essential for ag security; plant breeding was the one that needed highlighting.

Contributed by Ann Marie Thro
National Program Leader, Plant Breeding and Genomics
CSREES, USDA Plant and Animal Systems
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The US Department of Agriculture has announced a new grants programme to support agricultural researchers in developing countries. About 100 scientists will be offered short-term scientific training in the
United States under the programme, which will also support the exchange of policymakers and university faculty members.

The programme is named after the agricultural scientist Norman Borlaug, the Nobel Prize winner who is often hailed as the father of the 'Green Revolution' that saw high-yielding crops introduced into
South Asia in the 1970s. In a speech to an agricultural conference last year in Sacramento, United States, Borlaug challenged government leaders to accelerate the transfer of agricultural and food technologies to the developing world.

By launching the programme, the Department of Agriculture is responding to Borlaug's challenge and demonstrating that it shares his commitment, according to US Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman. "This programme will honour Dr Borlaug by promoting the transfer and adoption of new technologies to improve global food availability," she said in announcing the new fellowships in
Washington DC this week. "Science and technology can help raise agricultural productivity, improve food processing and marketing and address global hunger and poverty."

 The programme will be open to participants worldwide, but will focus on
Africa, South America and Asia. Link to more information on the Norman E. Borlaug International Science and Technology Fellows Programme

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The goal of this program is to encourage and foster interactions among scientists to create new research directions or advance a field. Innovative ideas for implementing novel networking strategies are especially encouraged. Groups of investigators will be supported to communicate and coordinate their research, training and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, institutional, and geographical boundaries. The proposed networking activities should have a theme as a focus of its collaboration. The focus could be on a broad research question, a specific group of organisms, or particular technologies or approaches. Deadline: June 25.

Contributed by Ann Marie Thro
National Program Leader, Plant Breeding and Genomics
CSREES, USDA Plant and Animal Systems

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There is a vacancy in the CSREES Higher Education program, the program that administers the National Needs Fellowships and a few others.  It is posted at  Do you know anyone who would be qualified and interested?  In the long run it would be positive to have Higher Ed NPLs who know plant breeding.

Position Title: National Program Leader (Higher Education)
Series/Grade: GS-1701-13;   Promotion Potential: GS-14
Location of Position: Washington, D.C.
Announcement Number: CSREES-S4M-0028
Closing Date: May 14, 2004; This is a competitive vacancy, open to all United States citizens

Excerpts  (not a substitute for the full announcement):   ... one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-12 or GS-13 grade level, related to the work of this position, which has equipped the candidate with the ability to lead the development of national policies and programs impacting higher education&;  1. Knowledge of recent developments and research techniques used in agriculture-related topics or disciplines (e.g., food and agricultural sciences etc).  2. Skill in interpersonal and organizational characteristics sufficient to organize and coordinate professional efforts that involve multi disciplinary approaches. 3.Knowledge of the administration of research funding (e.g., Federal Grants process).  4. Ability to communicate to various groups representing government, the academic community and private industry, and to prepare oral presentations, written reports, statistical analysis, and correspondence.  5. Ability to generate, apply, and evaluate new hypotheses and concepts for solving difficult and complex systemic educational problems in agricultural sciences education programs. Provide impact information.

Contributed by Ann Marie Thro
National Program Leader, Plant Breeding and Genomics
CSREES, USDA Plant and Animal Systems

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* 19-23 April 2004: Introduction to Biosafety and Risk Assessment for the Environmental Release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Theoretical Approach and Scientific Background, Workshop
Trieste, Italy. Contact: Programme and Training Unit, ICGEB, Padriciano 99, I-34012. Trieste, Italy; Tel: +39 (040) 3757 333; Fax: +39 (040) 226 555; Email: <>;

* 26 April -
7 May 2004. Management of Diversity On-Farm and in Genebank Collections, Training Course. Wageningen, Netherlands. Contact: International Agricultural Centre (IAC), PO Box 88, 6700 AB. Wageningen, The Netherlands; Tel: + 31 (317) 495 495; Fax: + 31 (317) 495395; Email: <Training.iac@wur.NL>; URL:

 * (NEW)
29 April 2004.  Intellectual Property Rights for the Public Good:
Obligations of
U.S. Universities to Developing Countries. University of Minnesota. For more information:

* (NEW) 10-14 May 2004. Plant Genetic Resources Policies, Training Course.
Wageningen, Netherlands Contact: International Agricultural Centre (IAC), PO Box 88, 6700 AB Wageningen, The Netherlands; Tel: + 31 (317) 495 495; Fax: + 31 (317) 495 395; Email: <Training.iac@wur.NL>; URL:

* 17-19 May 2004: 12th Meeting on Genetics and Breeding of Capsicum and Eggplant.  Noordwijkerhout, The
Netherlands. Contact: Roeland Voorrips, Plant Research International, P.O. Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands; Tel: +31 (317) 477289; Fax: +31 (317) 418094; Email: <; URL>:

* 17-28 May 2004. International Course:  Applications of Molecular Tools in Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, CATIE Central Headquarters, Turrialba, Costa Rica (See complete course description in January 2004 newsletter)

* 2225 May 2004. International Triticeae Mapping Initiative Summer Workshop,
Minneapolis, USA. Contact: ITMI Management Office, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, Scotland, UK; Tel: +44 (1)382 568 512; Fax: +44 (1)382 568 590; URL:

* 24-25 May 2004: Workshop on Molecular Aspects of Germination and
Dormancy. Wageningen, The
Netherlands. Contact: J Derek Bewley,  Email:
<>; URL:

* 24 May
4 June 2004. Molecular Markers in Plant Breeding, Training Course
Wageningen, Netherlands. Contact: International Agricultural Centre (IAC), PO Box 88, 6700 AB. Wageningen, The Netherlands; Tel: + 31 (317) 495 495; Fax: + 31 (317) 495
395; Email: <Training.iac@wur.NL; URL:

* 7-11 June 2004, Dijon France : Fifth European Conference on Grain Legumes and Second International Conference on Legume Genomics and Genetics , "Legumes for the benefit of agriculture, nutrition and the environment: their genomics, their products, and their improvement".

* 14-16 June 2004.
Yields of Farmed Species: Constraints and Opportunities in the 21st Century. Sutton Bonington,
UK. Contact: Prof Roger Sylvester-Bradley, ADAS Boxworth, Boxworth, Cambridge, CB3 8NN, UK; Tel: +44 (0)1954 268 253; Fax: +44 (0)1954 267 659; Email: <>;

* 20-26 June 2004: The 9th International Barley Genetics Symposium.
Czech Republic
. Contact: Lenka Nedomova, Agricultural Research Institute
Kromeriz Ltd., Havlickova 2787, CZ - 767 01 Kromeriz, Czech Republic; Tel:
+420 (5) 7331 7166; Fax: +420 (5) 7333 9725;
Email: <>; URL:

* 5-8 July, 2004: Campinas-SP (Brazil): III International Symposium on
Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Breeding Research and II Latin American
Symposium on the Production of Medicinal, Aromatic and Condiments Plants.
Info: Prof. Dr. Lin Chau Ming, Dept. Plant Production, Sector
Horticulture, Agronomical Sciences College, SP State University,
Botucatu-SP 18.603-970, Brazil. email: <>

* 12-17 July 2004:  Cucurbitaceae 2004, 8th Meeting on Cucurbit Genetics
and Breeding.
Olomouc, Czech Republic. Contact: A. Lebeda, Palacky
University, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Botany, Slechtitelu 11,
CZ-783 71 Olomouc-Holice, Czech Republic; Tel: +420 (5) 8563 4800; Fax:
+420 (5) 8524 1027; Email: <>; URL:

* 18-22 July 2004: 7th International Oat Conference .
Helsinki, Finland.
Contact: Mrs. Pirjo Peltonen-Sainio, MTT, Agrifood Research Finland, Plant
Production Research, FIN-31600 Jokioinen, Finland; Tel: +358 (3) 4188
2451; Fax: +358 (3) 4188 2437;
Email: <>; URL:

* 18-23 July 2004: Plant Molecular Biology.
Plymouth NH, USA .Contact:
Gordon Research Conferences, 3071 Route 138,
Kingston, RI 02881, USA; Tel:
+1 (401) 783 4011; Fax: +1 (401) 783 7644; Email: <>;

* (NEW) 20-24 August 2004. XVIIIth International Congress on Sexual Plant Reproduction.
Beijing, China. Contact: Dr Shu-Nong Bai, College of Life Sciences, Peking University, 5 Yiheyuan Road, Beijing, 100871, P.R. China; Tel: +86 (10) 6276 1444; Fax: +86 (10) 6275 1526;;

* 6-9 September 2004): VIII International Symposium on Plum and Prune
Genetics, Breeding and Technology.
Lofthus, Norway.  Info: Dr. Lars Sekse,
Plante Forsk - Norwegian Crops Research Institute, Ullensvang Research
Centre, 5781 Lofthus, Norway. Phone: (47)53671200, Fax: (47)53671201,
email: <> web:

* 8-11 September  2004. Eucarpia XVII General Triennial Congress,
. Contact: P. Ruckenbauer, IFA Tulln, Dept. Biotechnology in Plant
Production, Konrad-Lorenz Str. 20, A-3430 Tulln, Austria; Tel: +43 (2272)
66280 201; Fax: +43 (2272) 66280 203;
Email: <>; URL:

* 12-17 September 2004: V International Symposium on In Vitro Culture and
Horticultural Breeding. Debrecen (Hungary): Info: Dr. Mikl, Szent -
Gyorgyi A u. 4, PO Box 411, 2101 Godollo, Hungary. Phone: (36)28330600,
Fax: (36)28330482, email: <> or <>,

* 19-23 September 2004: 16th Annual Meeting of the Association
for the Advancement of Industrial Crops (AAIC) and New Uses Council,
Minneapolis, MN, USA. Theme 'Industrial Crops and Uses To Diversify
Agriculture'. For more information visit meetings section of the AAIC web
site at or contact Dr. Russ Gesch Tel: 320-589-3411 ext. 132
or E-mail:"
Submitted by Dr. Terry A. Coffelt, Research Geneticist, USDA-ARS-USWCL

* 27 September -
1 October 2004: 4th International Crop Science Congress.
Brisbane, Australia. Contact: PO Box 1280, Milton, QLD 4064, Australia;
Tel: +61 (7) 3858 5554; Fax: +61 (7) 3858 5583; Email: <>;

* 24-28 October, 2004: IV ISHS Symposium on Brassica and XIV Crucifer
Genetics Workshop. Daejon (Korea) Info: Prof. Dr. Yong Pyo Lim, Dept. of
Horticulture, Chungnam National University, Kung-Dong 220, Yusong-Gu,
Taejon 305-764, South Korea.  Phone: (82)428215739, Fax: (82)428231382,
email: <>

* 26-30 September 2004. 8th International Symposium on the Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms.
Montpellier, France. Contact: Sophie Masliah, Lab. of Plant Cell and Molecular Biology, INRA. Versailles, 78026 Versailles Cedex, France; Tel: +33 (1) 3083 3730; Fax: +33 (1) 3087 3728; Email: <>;

* 31 October 4 November 2004: Annual Meetings, American Society of
Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of
America, Seattle, WA, USA. Contact: ASA-CSSA-SSSA,
677 S. Segoe Rd.,
Madison WI 53711,
USA; Tel: +1 (608) 273 8080; Fax: +1 (608) 273 2021;

* 7-10 November 2004: International Conference: Post Harvest Fruit:
The Path to Success, Campus Lircay, Universidad de Talca,
Talca, Chile. (See complete
conference description in January 2004 newsletter)

* 8-10 December 2004. ASTA's 34th Soybean Seed and 59th Corn & Sorghum Seed Conferences.
Chicago, IL, USA Contact: 225, Reinekers Lane, Suite 650, Alexandria, VA, USA; Tel: +1 (703) 837 8140; Fax: +1 (703) 837 9365;

* 4 - 9 May 2005. 11th International Lupin Conference,
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. 1st Circular is available at: Contact:
Submitted by George D. Hill, Secretary/Treasurer International Lupin Association ( At our meetings we have usually had a substantial number of submissions from Plant Breeders.  I would expect that it will be the same at this meeting.

13-17 June 2005,
Murcia (Spain): XIII International Symposium on Apricot Breeding and Culture. Info: Dr. Felix Romojaro and Dr. Federico Dicenta, CEBAS-CSIC, PO Box 164, 30100 Espinardo (Murcia), Spain. Phone: (34)968396328 or (34)968396309, Fax: (34)968396213, email: Symposium Secretariat: Viajes CajaMurcia, Gran Via Escultor Salzillo 5. Entlo. Dcha., 30004 Murcia, Spain. Phone: (34)968225476, Fax: (34)968223101, email:

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Plant Breeding News is an electronic forum for the exchange of information
and ideas about applied plant breeding and related fields. It is published
every four to six weeks throughout the year.

The newsletter is managed by the editor and an advisory group consisting
of Elcio Guimaraes (<>), Margaret Smith
(<>), and Anne Marie Thro (<>). The editor
will advise subscribers one to two weeks ahead of each edition, in order
to set deadlines for contributions.

REVIEW PAST NEWSLETTERS ON THE WEB: Past issues of the Plant Breeding
Newsletter are now available on the web. The address is:
 We will continue to improve the organization of archival issues of the
newsletter. Readers who have suggestions about features they wish to see
should contact the editor at

Subscribers are encouraged to take an active part in making the newsletter
a useful communications tool. Contributions may be in such areas as:
technical communications on key plant breeding issues; announcements of
meetings, courses and electronic conferences; book announcements and
reviews; web sites of special relevance to plant breeding; announcements
of funding opportunities; requests to other readers for information and
collaboration; and feature articles or discussion issues brought by
subscribers. Suggestions on format and content are always welcome by the
editor, at We would especially like to see a broad
participation from developing country programs and from those working on
species outside the major food crops.

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