Agricultural Biotechnologies
Agricultural Biotechnologies in crops, forestry, livestock, fisheries and agro-industry  Biotech-banner
 

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.

News

25/06/2011

The 13th Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) takes place on 18-22 July 2011 in Rome, Italy. Under Cross-sectorial matters, one of the three agenda items to be considered at the meeting is Ways and means of considering the application and integration of biotechnologies in the conservation and utilization of genetic resources for food and agriculture. For this agenda item, FAO has prepared a Working Document (number CGRFA-13/11/3, in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) 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. More detailed information is also provided in the 149-page Background Study Paper by P. Lidder and A. Sonnino, entitled Biotechnologies for the management of genetic resources for food and agriculture. The report of the FAO international technical conference on Agricultural Biotechnologies in Developing Countries (ABDC-10) has also been provided as an Information Document (number CGRFA-13/11/Inf.8, in Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish), while the ABDC-10 proceedings, entitled Biotechnologies for Agricultural Development are provided under Other Documents. See http://www.fao.org/nr/cgrfa/cgrfa-meetings/cgrfa-comm/thirteenth-reg/en or contact biotech-admin@fao.org for more information. The CGRFA is an intergovernmental body established by the FAO Conference in 1983, whose Members include 173 countries and the European Union. It provides the only permanent forum for governments to specifically discuss and negotiate matters relevant to biological diversity for food and agriculture, including all plant, animal, forest, aquatic, micro-organism and invertebrate genetic resources for food and agriculture.

24/06/2011

The report of the 39th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling, that took place on 9-13 May 2011 in Quebec City, Canada, is now available. Agenda item 6 was dedicated to "Labelling of foods and food ingredients obtained through certain techniques of genetic modification/genetic engineering" and is covered in paragraphs 120-158 of the report. The Committee agreed to advance the text contained in Appendix III of the report (title Proposed draft compilation of Codex texts relevant to labelling of foods derived from modern biotechnology) to the 34th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (4-9 July 2011, Geneva, Switzerland) for adoption at step 5/8 as a stand-alone document. See the report (ALINORM REP11/FL), together with the agenda providing links to the meeting`s documents, at http://www.codexalimentarius.net/web/archives.jsp or contact codex@fao.org for further information.

23/06/2011

On 8-11 June 2009, the international symposium on Sustainable improvement of animal production and health took place in Vienna, Austria, organised by FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Proceedings of the symposium are now available on the web, edited by N.E. Odongo, M. Garcia and G.J. Viljoen. They contain the contributions to the plenary session and to five sessions that dealt respectively with: interactions among nutrition, reproduction and genotype; effects of nutrition, reproduction, genetics and environmental factors on animal productivity; transboundary, emerging and zoonotic diseases; one health; and achieving food safety and security in the 21st century. Several of the papers dealt directly or indirectly with the use of specific biotechnologies in livestock. See http://www-naweb.iaea.org/nafa/aph/public/aph-sustainable-improvement.html or contact E.Odongo@iaea.org for more information.

22/06/2011

The proceedings of the 2nd World Seed Conference, held on 8-10 September 2009 at FAO Headquarters, Rome, are now available, entitled Responding to the challenges of a changing world: The role of new plant varieties and high quality seed in agriculture. They contain the presentations, discussions and conclusions from the one-day Policy Forum and the five sessions of the two-day Expert Forum, dedicated respectively to the role of plant breeding in meeting the multiple challenges of a fast-changing world; importance of plant genetic resources for plant breeding - access and benefit sharing; plant variety protection; importance of quality seed in agriculture; and facilitation of trade and market development. The conference was organised by FAO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), International Seed Federation (ISF) and International Seed Testing Association (ISTA). See http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/am490e/am490e00.htm or contact thomas.osborn@fao.org for more information.

21/06/2011

The FAO Glossary of biotechnology for food and agriculture" was published in 2001, prepared by A. Zaid, H.G. Hughes, E. Porceddu and F. Nicholas, providing consolidated, comprehensive and accessible definitions of over 3,000 terms and acronyms that are used regularly regarding agricultural biotechnologies. It has proven to be a very popular reference source and has been translated into the five other official UN languages (i.e. Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish) as well as Polish, Serbian and Vietnamese, while the terms have also been translated into Kazakh. All language versions are freely available from http://www.fao.org/biotech/index_glossary.asp. The glossary is currently being revised and updated in all six UN languages. As with the previous edition of the glossary, a participatory approach is being used in the review process. We would therefore very much appreciate any inputs and suggestions regarding a) addition of new terms/acronyms relevant to biotechnologies in food and agriculture; b) definitions for any new proposed terms; c) deletion of irrelevant/obsolete terms in the current glossary; d) improvement of existing definitions and correction of editorial mistakes in the current glossary; and e) correction of errors in translating from English to Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish. Please provide suggestions and comments to Preetmoninder.Lidder@fao.org by 31 July 2011.

20/06/2011

The FAO Biotechnology Glossary was published in 2001 and contains over 3,000 terms and acronyms used regularly regarding agricultural biotechnologies. Through an arrangement with FAO, the Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology (IPBB) in Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan, has just published a tri-lingual dictionary containing the original English terms plus their Russian and Kazakh translations. See http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/y2775kk/y2775kk00.pdf (2.6 MB) or contact gen_dana@mail.ru for more details.

19/06/2011

The January 2011 newsletter from the Plant Breeding and Genetics Section of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is now available. This 43-page newsletter, issued twice a year, gives an overview of their past and upcoming events (meetings, training courses etc.), ongoing projects and publications. See http://www-naweb.iaea.org/nafa/pbg/public/pbg-nl-26.pdf (1.5 MB) or contact k.allaf@iaea.org to request a copy.

18/06/2011

The January 2011 newsletter from the Animal Production and Health Section of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is now available. The 39-page newsletter, issued twice a year, gives an overview of past and upcoming projects, publications and events. The editorial highlights the Joint Divisions contribution to the global eradication of rinderpest, including developing a network of laboratories to diagnose the disease, organizing training workshops, supplying diagnostic kits and manuals, provision of technical backstopping, producing international guidelines and developing regional technical cooperation projects in Africa and Asia. See http://www-naweb.iaea.org/nafa/aph/public/aph-nl-53.pdf (1 MB) or contact S.Piedra-Cordero@iaea.org to subscribe to the newsletter.

17/06/2011

On 8-9 October 2010, a joint Aarhus Convention/Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety workshop on public awareness, access to information and public participation regarding living modified organisms/genetically modified organisms was held in Nagoya, Japan. Its main objective was to enable participants to share experiences and lessons learned in promoting public awareness, access to information and participation in decision-making concerning LMOs/GMOs. An advanced edited version of the workshop report is now available, prepared by the secretariats of the Aarhus Convention (i.e. the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters) and of the Convention on Biological Diversity. See the report, workshop documents and presentations at http://www.unece.org/env/pp/gmo.htm or contact fiona.marshall@unece.org or ulrika.nilsson@cbd.int for more information.

10/04/2011

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 charlotte.lietaer@fao.org providing your full postal address. Contact biotech-website@fao.org for any further information.

09/04/2011
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/ or contact nevena.alexandrova@fao.org for more information.
08/04/2011
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 or contact cgrfa@fao.org 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.
07/04/2011
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 or contact alessia.laurenza@fao.org to request a copy, providing your full postal address.
06/04/2011
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 (in English, French and Spanish) or contact codex@fao.org for further information.
05/04/2011
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 or contact andrea.sonnino@fao.org to request a copy of the chapter.
04/04/2011
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 or contact ifad@ifad.org 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.

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Agricultural Biotechnologies in Developing Countries (ABDC-10) Conference