The News items relate to applications of biotechnologies in food and agriculture in developing countries and their major focus is on the activities of FAO, other UN agencies/bodies and the 15 CGIAR research centres. The News items cover all food and agricultural sectors (crops, forestry, fisheries/aquaculture, livestock, agro-industry) and a wide range of biotechnologies (e.g. use of molecular markers, artificial insemination, triploidisation, biofertilisers, micropropagation, genomics, genetic modification etc.). New documents are included as News if they are freely available on the web and, for people who can't download them or who wish further information, an e-mail contact is also provided. The News service was launched in January 2002 and all News items posted since then (there were 800 in the first 9 years) are available here. The news and event items on this website are also disseminated through an e-mail newsletter called FAO-BiotechNews that is published in six different versions, one per language i.e. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. To subscribe, send a message to FAO-Biotech-News@fao.org indicating which e-mail addresses are to be subscribed and in which language they wish to receive the newsletter.
The FAO Biotechnology Glossary is now available in Chinese and Polish. In addition to translations of the terms and definitions contained in the original English glossary, the 337-page Chinese translation includes an English-Chinese vocabulary of biotechnology-related terms. The initial draft was prepared by FAO translators and reviewed by J. Zhao and X. Ma (both from the East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai). The Polish translation was carried out by I. Bartkowiak-Broda (Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute, Poznan), Z. Broda (Poznan University of Life Sciences), D. Grzebelus (University of Agriculture in Krakow), A. Korwin-Kossakowska (Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Jastrzebiec), K. Niemirowicz-Szczytt (Warsaw Agricultural University) and E. Zimnoch-Guzowska (Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute, Mlochow). The 358-page Polish book concludes with an index of English terms. The original English version was prepared by A. Zaid, H. Hughes, E. Porceddu and F. Nicholas and provides consolidated, comprehensive and accessible definitions of over 3,000 terms and acronyms that are used regularly in biotechnology, including genetic engineering, and closely allied fields. It has previously been translated into Arabic, French, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Vietnamese and all the language versions are freely available from http://www.fao.org/biotech/biotech-glossary/en/. To receive a copy of the Chinese glossary, contact firstname.lastname@example.org providing your full postal address. Contact email@example.com for any further information.
The FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia website has recently been re-vamped and it now includes, among others, webpages dedicated to FAO activities in the region in a number of specific activity areas, including agricultural research, extension and biotechnologies. Links are provided to resources from technical projects in the region as well as from recent meetings, such as the regional training course on GMO risk communication, public awareness and public participation that took place in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 1-4 February 2011 as part of a regional technical cooperation project on "Capacity building in agricultural biotechnologies and biosafety" for Armenia, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. See http://www.fao.org/europe/activities/biotech/en/
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The report is now available of the 6th Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITWG-AnGR), which took place on 24-26 November 2010 in Rome. Item 4 on the agenda was dedicated to "Biotechnologies and the conservation and utilization of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture" and is covered in paragraphs 22-24 of the report. See the report (in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) together with the other Session documents, at the ITWG-AnGR website
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for more information. The ITWG-AnGR is one of three intergovernmental technical working groups (the others are dedicated to plant genetic resources and to forest genetic resources) established by the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture to deal with specific matters in their areas of expertise.
FAO has recently published Plant breeding and farmer participation, prepared in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). Edited by S. Ceccarelli, E.P. Guimaraes and E. Weltizien, the 671-page book is organized in 25 chapters, written by three groups of scientists: internationally recognized experts in genetics related to plant breeding and in the various aspects of plant breeding; professional breeders who have actually practised participatory plant breeding (PPB) with a number of different crops and in a number of socially and climatically different areas, using the range of methods presented by the first group; and scientists with specific expertise in areas not usually covered in classical plant breeding books, such as variety release mechanisms, seed diffusion, institutional issues associated with PPB, and intellectual property rights. See http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i1070e/i1070e00.htm
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The 39th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling takes place on 9-13 May 2011 in Quebec City, Canada. Item 6 on the provisional agenda is Labelling of foods and food ingredients obtained through certain techniques of genetic modification/genetic engineering. See the meeting agenda, with links to the meeting documents, at http://www.codexalimentarius.net/web/current.jsp
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for further information.
The newly published book on Biodiversidad, biotecnologías y derecho: un crisol para la sustentabilidad (Biodiversity, biotechnologies and regulation: a crucible for sustainability), edited by V. Ivone, contains a chapter on Biodiversidad y biotecnologías: el eslabón estratégico (Biodiversity and biotechnologies: the strategic link) by A. Sonnino, Chief of the FAO Research and Extension Branch. See http://www.fao.org/docrep/article/am323s.pdf
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The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) recently published the Rural poverty report 2011 which provides a coherent and comprehensive look at rural poverty, its global consequences and the prospects for eradicating it. Its last rural poverty report was published in 2001. One of the seven chapters is dedicated to sustainable agricultural intensification, where the role of agricultural technology, including biotechnology, is one of the issues considered. See a press release (in Arabic, English, French, Italian and Spanish), with links to the report (in the same languages), at http://www.ifad.org/rpr2011/index.htm
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for more information. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency whose mission is to enable poor rural people to overcome poverty.
On 7 March 2011, the Nagoya Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was opened for signature at UN Headquarters in New York. Adopted by the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on 15 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan, its objective is to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health, by providing international rules and procedures in the field of liability and redress relating to living modified organisms. It will enter into force 90 days after the deposit of the 40th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. See http://bch.cbd.int/protocol/news/
to access an introductory note providing some basic information to facilitate signature, ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to the Supplementary Protocol; a new video on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Supplementary Protocol; and a new 10-page publication on the Supplementary Protocol. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
for any further information.
Issue number 21 (January 2011) of the OECD Biotechnology Update is now available. Presented by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Internal Co-ordination Group for Biotechnology, the 34-page newsletter provides updated information on OECD activities related to biotechnology. See http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/37/15/47030723.pdf
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The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the Agricultural Research Centre (ARC) Libya have recently published "Phenotypic and molecular characterization of small ruminant breeds in Libya - Field guide". With text in Arabic and English, the guide is intended to support animal scientists and technicians in collecting accurate data and applying appropriate procedures in field surveys. See http://www.icarda.org/docrep/brochures/phenotypic.pdf
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On 26 October 2010, the FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf gave a press conference in Rome to mark the launch of the second report on The state of the worlds plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. The new report describes the current status of the conservation and use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) throughout the world, based on country reports, information gathering processes, regional syntheses, thematic background studies and published scientific literature. It describes the most significant changes that have taken place since the first report was published in 1998 as well as the major continuing gaps and needs. The role of biotechnologies in the conservation, characterization and utilization of PGRFA is also covered in different parts of the report, particularly in Appendix 3. See the press release at http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/46803/icode/
(in Arabic, English, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish), providing links to the report and related press materials, or contact email@example.com
for more information.
On 1-5 November 2010, the VII Latin American and Caribbean Meeting on Agricultural Biotechnology (REDBIO 2010) took place in Guadalajara, Mexico. The keynote address on 1 November was given by A. Sonnino, Chief of the FAO Research and Extension Branch, on Global food security and the possible contribution of agricultural biotechnologies. See the address at http://www.fao.org/biotech/docs/redbio2010e.pdf
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The summary document of the FAO e-mail conference entitled "Learning from the past: Successes and failures with agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries over the last 20 years" has now been published. It provides a summary of the main issues discussed during a moderated e-mail conference, hosted by the FAO Biotechnology Forum from 8 June to 8 July 2009, based on the messages posted by the participants, 74% of which came from people in developing countries. Participants in the e-mail conference shared a wealth of experiences regarding the use of agricultural biotechnologies across the different food and agricultural sectors in developing countries. They provided concrete examples where agricultural biotechnologies were benefiting smallholders in developing countries. They also discussed several cases where specific applications of agricultural biotechnologies had not succeeded in developing countries and they offered suggestions to increase their success in the future. See http://www.fao.org/biotech/logs/C16/summary.htm
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During the 33rd Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, that took place in Geneva, Switzerland on 5-9 July 2010, the Commission, inter alia, adopted 25 new or revised Codex standards or related texts or amendments to these texts, including Guidelines on performance criteria and validation of methods for detection, identification and quantification of specific DNA sequences and specific proteins in foods. The scope of these new guidelines is to provide information on criteria for the validation of food analysis methods involving the detection, identification and quantification of specific DNA sequences and specific proteins of interest that may be present in foods, including those foods containing materials derived from modern biotechnology. These molecular and immunological methods are applicable to a wide range of uses such as tests for biomarkers in foods, including those derived from modern biotechnology and food authentication, and may be used by laboratories responsible for food analysis. See the Commission report (document ALINORM 10/33/REP, in English and Spanish, with Arabic, Chinese and French to come) and the guidelines adopted (Appendix III in document ALINORM 10/33/23, in English, French and Spanish) at http://www.codexalimentarius.net/web/archives.jsp?year=10
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The 6th Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITWG-AnGR) takes place on 24-26 November 2010 at FAO Headquarters, Rome. Item 4 on the provisional agenda is dedicated to Biotechnologies and the conservation and utilization of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture, for which FAO has prepared a working document entitled Status and trends of biotechnologies applied to the conservation and utilization of genetic resources for food and agriculture and matters relevant for their future development. See document CGRFA/WG-AnGR-6/10/5
(in Chinese, English, Russian and Spanish, with Arabic and French to come) or contact email@example.com
to request a copy. The ITWG-AnGR is one of three intergovernmental technical working groups (the other two are dedicated to plant genetic resources and forest genetic resources) established by the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture to deal with specific matters in their areas of expertise.
Item 3.2 on the provisional agenda of the 6th Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, that takes place on 24-26 November 2010 at FAO Headquarters in Rome, is dedicated to Draft technical guidelines for the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources. For this item, FAO has prepared a set of five draft technical guidelines, including one on molecular genetic characterization and one on cryoconservation. For the former, the 66-page information document CGRFA/WG-AnGR-6/10/Inf.7, entitled Draft guidelines on molecular genetic characterization provides countries with advice on how to plan molecular characterization studies; collect and evaluate DNA; organize and analyze molecular characterization data; interpret the results; and collaborate internationally to obtain the maximum utility of the information. For the latter, the 146-page information document CGRFA/WG-AnGR-6/10/Inf.8, entitled Draft guidelines for the cryoconservation of animal genetic resources, is designed to provide the necessary technical background for countries wanting to set up, implement and monitor animal gene banks. See the documents
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