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

25/10/2011

The Conference of the Parties, serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, requested the Executive Secretary to convene, prior to the sixth meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, a regionally-balanced workshop on capacity-building for research and information exchange on socio-economic impacts of living modified organisms (LMOs). This workshop takes place on 14-16 November 2011 in New Delhi, India. See the meeting documents at http://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=BSWS-SEC-01 or contact bch@cbd.int for more information.

24/10/2011

Issue number 22 (July 2011) of the Biotechnology Update, prepared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Internal Co-ordination Group for Biotechnology (ICGB), is now available. The 33-page newsletter provides updated information on OECD activities related to biotechnology. See http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/21/12/48464394.pdf (525 KB) or contact icgb@oecd.org for more information.

23/10/2011

As part of its IFPRI Discussion Papers series, the International Food Policy Research Institute recently published "Women cotton farmers: Their perceptions and experiences with transgenic varieties. A case study for Colombia" by P. Zambrano and co-authors. The paper explores the differences in perceptions and experiences of men and women in the main cotton regions of Colombia regarding genetically modified cotton. See http://www.ifpri.org/publication/women-cotton-farmers-their-perceptions-and-experiences-transgenic-varieties or contact P.Zambrano@cgiar.org for more information.

22/10/2011

As part of its ILRI Research Report series, the International Livestock Research Institute recently published "Characterization and conservation of indigenous sheep genetic resources: A practical framework for developing countries" by S. Gizaw and co-authors. The 37-page report highlights current approaches and tools for characterization and conservation of sheep resources and presents a model approach synthesising results of a study on characterization and conservation of sheep resources of Ethiopia. See http://cgspace.cgiar.org/handle/10568/5371 or contact ILRI-Kenya@cgiar.org for more information.

27/06/2011

FAO has just published the proceedings of the FAO international technical conference on Agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries: Options and opportunities in crops, forestry, livestock, fisheries and agro-industry to face the challenges of food insecurity and climate change (ABDC-10), that took place in Guadalajara, Mexico on 1-4 March 2010. Entitled Biotechnologies for Agricultural Development, the 592-page proceedings are organized in two main sections. The first contains ten chapters with an extensive series of FAO background documents prepared before ABDC-10 took place. They focus on the current status and options for biotechnologies in developing countries in crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries/aquaculture and food processing/safety, as well as on related policy issues and options, in particular about targeting agricultural biotechnologies to the poor; enabling research and development (R&D) for agricultural biotechnologies; and ensuring access to the benefits of R&D. The second section contains five chapters dedicated to the outcomes of ABDC-10, namely the reports from 27 parallel sessions of sectoral, cross-sectoral and regional interest, most of which were organized by different intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and regional fora; keynote presentations; and the conference report adopted by delegates in Guadalajara on the final day of ABDC-10. See http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/i2300e/i2300e00.htm or contact sandra.tardioli@fao.org to receive a copy, providing your full postal address.

26/06/2011

FAO has just published the "Biosafety Resource Book", based on materials from the training courses organized by FAO from 2002 to 2010 in the framework of its biosafety capacity development projects. The training courses were tailored to meet the needs of biosafety regulators, policy-makers and members of national biosafety committees. The courses aimed to offer them background knowledge critical in the process of reviewing biosafety dossiers and biosafety-related decision-making and to acquaint them with concepts and methodologies relevant to risk analysis of GMO release and biosafety management. The book consists of five modules and special attention has been paid to avoid technical jargon and to keep the modules scientifically accurate as well as accessible to non-specialists. Module A, by O. Brandenberg, Z. Dhlamini, A. Sensi, K. Ghosh and A. Sonnino, is an introduction to molecular biology and genetic engineering. It reviews the basic scientific concepts and principles used in producing GMOs, and provides a brief description of current and emerging uses of biotechnology in crops, livestock and fisheries. Module B, by E. Hodson de Jaramillo, A. Sensi, O. Brandenberg, K. Ghosh and A. Sonnino, is dedicated to ecological aspects. It provides the necessary background information on ecology and evolution needed to analyse and understand the consequences of introducing GMOs into the environment. Module C, by A. Sensi, O. Brandenberg, K. Ghosh and A. Sonnino, is on risk analysis. It provides basic information on biological risks, concepts, principles and methodologies of risk assessment, management and communication, focusing on crop biotechnology and environmental risk assessment of GM crops. Module D, by O. Brandenberg, A. Sensi, K. Ghosh and A. Sonnino, is entitled Test and post-release monitoring of GMOs. It addresses the use and monitoring of GMOs under containment, confinement and limited field trials, as well as the monitoring of commercially released GMOs. Module E, by A.M. Zivian, A. Sensi and C. Bullón Caro, is about legal aspects. It provides an overview of the existing legal tools and frameworks on biotechnology and biosafety, and offers a thorough description of the international instruments that regulate biosafety and their interactions. See http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/i1905e/i1905e00.htm or contact sandra.tardioli@fao.org to receive a copy, providing your full postal address.

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.

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Agricultural Biotechnologies in Developing Countries (ABDC-10) Conference