In the Background Document to this conference, which was entitled "the appropriateness, significance and application of biotechnology options in the animal agriculture of developing countries", the biotechnology options were classified into two main groups: reproductive and DNA-based. Application of biotechnologies in three different animal sectors was also considered:
A total of 42 messages were posted during the conference, of which more than half were from developing countries. In contrast to the crop, forestry or fish sector conferences of the Forum, where a single biotechnology (genetic modification) dominated discussions, participants in this conference dealt with a wide range of biotechnologies, and transgenic animals were not a major topic of discussion. Regarding the different animal sectors, all three were covered at different stages throughout the conference although there was greatest discussion concerning the use of biotechnologies for the third sector, genetics and breeding, and least on the second sector, nutrition and growth.
The majority of messages came from participants with extensive experience of development projects and animal agriculture in developing countries. A large number of different topics were covered, ranging from those that were biotechnology-specific, such as participants' experiences or comments regarding individual biotechnologies in their country, to those that dealt with broader issues, such as the impacts of biotechnology on livestock biodiversity in developing countries. In summarising the discussions, participants' comments are grouped into a number of main topics within two sections. The first section attempts to summarise what participants said about the appropriateness, significance and application of specific biotechnologies. The second section is not biotechnology-specific and deals with their comments on a range of broader issues.
Sections 1 and 2 of this document thus attempt to summarise the main elements of the discussions. Specific references to messages posted, giving the participant's surname and the date posted (day/month), are included. Section 3 provides some information about participation in the conference and Section 4 gives the name and country of the people that sent referenced messages. Section 5 provides an explanation of abbreviations used.
A) Artificial insemination (AI)
The Background Document indicated that AI has already had a major impact on genetic improvement programmes in developed countries and questioned why it had not been more widely adopted in developing countries. Most comments received dealt with the factors explaining the relatively moderate uptake and whether natural service is preferable to AI, and came mainly from participants in developing countries.
Steane (20/6) argued that low conception rates and dependence on donor funding, which eventually is exhausted (a point also highlighted by Tibary (4/7)), were two major factors behind its low use in developing countries. Steane, in a later message (30/6), elaborated on the first factor, suggesting that low conception rates were due to a) poor heat (oestrus) detection b) poor communication and infrastructure and c) the fact that inseminators do not carry out sufficient numbers of inseminations to achieve high success rates. Chandrasiri (24/7), on this subject, stressed the need for farmer education and suggested that significant improvement could be achieved if farmers were educated on proper heat detection and timing of AI.
Traoré (6/7) concluded that, for developing countries, "at the present
status, it is out of the question to consider AI as an alternative
reproductive method to natural service (as is often the case in developed
countries today)". He maintained that there were still many problems with
AI, due to
a) relatively high costs, where components such as liquid nitrogen continued to increase in price,
b) poor heat detection, often making heat synchronisation necessary, and
c) its use when unlinked to good health care and animal husbandry. This last point was also emphasised by Ramsey (17/8).
Na-Chiangmai (4/8) supported the conclusion of Traoré (6/7), saying that AI at the small farmer level is not practical, especially for swamp buffalo, and that natural mating probably gives better results under village conditions. He noted that correct timing of AI can be difficult for small farmers when the buffaloes are kept far from the village, due to problems with heat detection and the short ovulation period. Chandrasiri (24/7) said that although AI could be considered as an alternative to natural service, it was not popular among small-scale dairy farmers in Sri Lanka, a country where 85% of cows are naturally bred. Wiwie (11/7) maintained however, that in her country, Indonesia, AI was indeed an alternative to natural service for cattle because heat detection was easy, as farmers had only few cattle and these were kept in pens, and because bulls were both expensive to maintain and to transport within the country, which consists of many islands. Tibary (7/8) argued that although natural service gave good fertility results, the cost and the accident/health risks involved in keeping live males meant that AI should be recommended. He maintained that efficient programmes involving ovulation synchronisation and AI, without requiring heat detection, could be developed.
B) Embryo transfer (ET)
ET is a more advanced reproductive biotechnology and is less widely used than AI in both developed and developing countries. Its potential impact and current status in developing countries were considered in the conference.
The potential merits of ET for dissemination of crossbred genetic material, for conservation of endangered local breeds and for genetic improvement in developing countries were mentioned by Traoré (6/7). He also, however, argued that the technology had, since the beginning, been too focused on dissemination of purebred genetic material for commercial production. Steane (20/6) felt that its use in the developing world would be more effective for dissemination of appropriate genetic material (such as crossbred dairy females) than for genetic improvement. However, he highlighted (30/6) that the current conception rates were low, for the same reasons as he gave earlier for AI, and that they would need to be improved. Tibary (7/8) suggested that if the parties involved are convinced that technologies such as ET and AI are useful, then technical problems can be solved if there is adequate funding of local research. As an example, he cited the large progress made in ET and AI in camels in the Middle East. Ramsey (17/8) emphasised that both ET and AI can be very useful, provided that other basic inputs (good husbandry, nutrition, and management) are in place.
Wiwie (5/7) reported her experiences with a dairy cattle ET project in Indonesia and suggested that such projects could be successful if begun slowly with local pilot projects and then expanded on a step-by-step basis. Chandrasiri (24/7) reported that in Sri Lanka, ET was still only at the experimental stage and that it would take a few more years for it to be established commercially.
C) In vitro maturation and fertilisation (IVM/IVF) and sexing
There was little discussion about these techniques. Chandrasiri (24/7) however, raised the issue of using IVM/IVF in countries like Sri Lanka, where slaughter of female cattle and buffaloes is prohibited, and slaughter house ovaries are thus unavailable. He suggested that collaborations with countries allowing their slaughter would solve the problem. Steane (20/6) and Chandrasiri (24/7) both mentioned that in some circumstances it would be advantageous to have sexed genetic material available for dissemination purposes.
Blair (29/6 and 30/6) suggested that adult cloning could be beneficial in centralised breeding schemes for efficiently disseminating the genetic gains achieved to other levels of the animal population. Cronjé (29/6) proposed that the government could stimulate farmer support (including financial) for centralised breeding schemes by offering free cloning of genetically superior animals and sale of clones back to the farmers at subsidised rates. Gibson (21/7), on the other hand, recommended that one should stick closely to foreseeable realities. He said there was no evidence that the use of cloning for livestock dissemination can be economically viable in developed countries and that "we should exercise extreme caution in predicting future applications of cloning technologies".
E) Genetic modification
Compared to other conferences of the Forum, discussion of this biotechnology was less emotive and extensive. Muir (10/7) felt that transgenic technology offered tremendous potential for developed and developing countries and said that he strongly supported it. He emphasised, however, that potential negative impacts, as well as the true costs of the technology, should be evaluated. Steane (20/6) was concerned that, due to financial restraints, all the tests required to evaluate the potential adverse effects of genetically modified (GM) animals might not be carried out. Martens (3/7) argued that before introducing GM animals, their performance should be tested under local feeding and management conditions. Gibson (21/7) said that it was appropriate that there should be a debate on testing GM livestock but that, in his opinion, "appropriate testing is not a substantive issue or limitation". He suggested that genetic modification had as much potential for animals as for crops and that production of GM livestock was already economically feasible (although not cheap) due to advances in transgenic technologies. He was, however, concerned that resources would not be directed towards producing GM animals of benefit to developing countries, such as those with improved disease or parasite resistance.
F) Use of molecular markers for marker-assisted selection (MAS)
There were some differences of opinion concerning the potential benefits of MAS for developing countries. Steane (20/6) pointed out that some research results suggest that MAS could reduce the overall total genetic progress. Muir (10/7) also urged caution and referred to some of his computer modelling results, which showed that, in certain conditions, MAS had very little positive impact on genetic improvement. He thus questioned whether it would be appropriate for developing countries to use the large financial resources that MAS requires for this purpose. Jeggo (20/7), on the other hand, was more optimistic, arguing that the use of microsatellite marker information to analyse production traits may offer ways to maximise use of the favourable genetic characters of indigenous livestock and to accelerate their genetic improvement. He suggested that support should be given so that developing countries could be provided with this technology.
G) Comparisons of different biotechnologies
In addition to discussions on individual biotechnologies, some participants also tried to compare and contrast them. Gibson (21/7), in the context of their application to livestock agriculture in the developing world, tried to place them in four classes according to the levels of infrastructure they require. In order of increasing complexity, there were
Some participants compared the two principal reproductive biotechnologies - AI and ET. Steane (20/6 and 30/6) maintained that timing practicalities favoured the use of ET over AI at the local level, as the latter requires efficient heat detection followed by quick insemination of the female, whereas with ET there is less urgency. The ET technology is nevertheless more specialised and Wiwie (11/7) noted that, unlike AI, ET was only carried out by a few experts in her country, Indonesia. Traoré (6/7) maintained that, except in some high producing zones, AI was more competitive than ET, as farmers were then dealing with crossbred genetic material that was more adapted than the purebred genetic material that tended to be transferred by ET. He thus concluded that "contrary to AI, ET will still belong for a long time to the field of research".
A) Biotechnology and the dynamics of livestock production in developing countries
Wiwie (28/6) and Ali (29/6) provided a reminder of the current situation for many farmers in developing countries. In Indonesia, farmers usually have 1-3 cattle and a few head of sheep and goats, and the animals are kept as financial security for the future (Wiwie, 28/6). Ali (29/6) noted that due to poverty, "consumption of livestock products is viewed as more of a luxury than a necessity" for many people in developing countries. The people's lack of purchasing power means then that farmers keep livestock as a social insurance rather than for profit (Ali, 29/6). Woodford (4/7) argued that "it is inevitable that agriculture in the less developed countries will undergo enormous change in relation to socio-economics and farming systems", where biotechnology was likely to play an important role, and that the same transition from rural-based to urban-based societies, that happened gradually over the last 400 years in developed countries, was occurring now in developing countries, but at a much faster rate.
Ali (29/6) noted that in many countries, "good prices are only available in urban areas where economic growth in other sectors provides a spill over effect to the livestock sector" and that only progressive farmers close to urban areas, where the products can be sold at reasonable prices, may use biotechnologies. Traoré (6/7) supported this by saying that AI could be justified in some breeding systems with crossbreeding of local with exotic breeds, where there was a socio-economic environment to justify the crossbreeding operation, such as in peri-urban milk production systems. He said that this had been the experience in Mali. Regarding industrialisation of animal production in peri-urban areas, Steane (20/6) urged that more attention should be paid to its impact on the environment and suggested that biotechnology might be used to address this problem.
B) Why biotechnology is used relatively little in developing countries
Several messages addressed this important question. Many explanations were provided and the factors were often related.
i) Lack of infrastructure
Sedrati (14/8) recognised the large potential that new biotechnologies in animal agriculture have for breeders and consumers, but maintained that "these technologies need an environment that we don't have in developing countries", in terms of educational and basic infrastructural (water, roads, sanitation etc.) standards. His conclusion was that the role of developed countries should be to raise the levels of social development in developing countries so that it would then be possible for them to develop and use biotechnologies. Gibson (21/7), in a similar vein, wrote that the main difficulty in applying new technologies in developing compared to developed countries was that "the vast majority of new technologies build upon and depend upon a highly developed physical, social and educational infrastructure, which makes transplantation to other settings very difficult". To integrate the need for large infrastructural requirements with the wishes of developing countries for locally-based solutions, he argued that there was an even greater need now for large international centres to carry out biotechnology research and development. Hanotte (11/8) supported this and referred to the successful example of the collaboration shown between individual African countries in a project to genetically characterise indigenous cattle, where the molecular data from each country was analysed in a single international research centre. The importance of co-operation between research centres in both developing and developed countries was also emphasised by Traoré (16/8).
ii) Low levels of information/knowledge about science and agricultural biotechnology
The challenges in this area are considerable since, as pointed out by Sedrati (14/8), the levels of illiteracy can be quite high in rural areas of developing countries while only few farmers have a technical training. Worku (29/6) nevertheless emphasised the importance of reducing the information and knowledge gap that exists between developing and developed countries regarding agricultural biotechnology (he called this the "biotech divide"). He proposed that several approaches need to taken to bridging the divide, including enhancement of science education (and integrating applications/principles of biotechnology into the curriculum) at the school and college level, while also targeting extension workers, opinion leaders, small farmers and consumers.
iii) Low capacity of developing countries to use biotechnology
Jeggo (20/7) pointed out that there is an increasing gap between the ability of developing and developed countries to utilise biotechnology and that it was critical to bridge this north-south technology gap. Sedrati (14/8) pointed out that the level of investment in scientific and technical research in developing countries was very low and that, even when people in developing countries are trained in high-level technologies, they tend to take jobs in developed countries because of the higher salaries and better working conditions.
Regarding capacity-building in developing countries, Traoré (6/7) was convinced that researchers in developing countries had a lot to gain from co-operating with research institutes in developed countries to get access to useful biotechnologies and adapt them to the needs of developing countries. Jeggo (20/7) suggested that some technologies offered significant advantages to developing countries that did not hold for developed countries, but that they would not be realised unless support for the introduction and use of these technologies was provided.
iv) Insufficient economic incentives for farmers to use biotechnology
As pointed out by Worku (29/6), poor profit margins in farming is one of the factors contributing to low rates of adoption of biotechnologies in developing countries. As the general population is poor and cannot typically afford to buy meat, milk or eggs, farmers do not tend to keep livestock for profit and so have no incentive to use biotechnologies (Ali, 29/6). The exception is when farmers produce close to urban areas, where they can expect good prices and their investments in the use of biotechnologies may be rewarded (Ali, 29/6).
v) Reliance on external funding for biotechnology projects
The dependence of many biotechnology projects on external funding was also considered to be a factor behind the low uptake of biotechnologies as often the projects collapsed once the funding finished. In discussing AI and ET, Tibary (4/7) pointed out that in his experience, "the use of these technologies is usually erratic and depends on funds provided by "development projects" and as soon as these funds are gone the activity ceases". This was also the reaction of Steane (20/6) regarding AI, saying that it was often free and poorly structured with the result that when donor funding ended there were insufficient financial resources to continue.
Wiwie (5/7) agreed that this was a problem, but suggested that if the projects were carried out slowly on a step-by-step basis rather than as one-off, big projects they might be successful. By beginning with a small pilot project, as she had done in Indonesia with ET, there was firstly, a good probability of getting successful results and, secondly, seeing these good results, farmers were then more likely to support (and pay for) expansion of the project. Steane (30/6) emphasised that proper study and planning of the use of biotechnologies was first needed and that, unless planning was done and the extension services properly informed, no sustainable projects would be achieved. Gibson (21/7) expressed similar sentiments, writing that "through experience we have learned that development that is based locally and driven locally will have the greatest chance of being sustainable".
C) Relationship between biotechnology and other components of animal agriculture
Several participants emphasised the fact that biotechnology, and genetic improvement in particular, cannot be considered in isolation from the other components of animal agriculture. Tibary (4/7) bemoaned the fact that in many cases "the use of biotechnology has been looked at as a magic solution to the growing demand on animal product". He argued that, since genetic improvement can only be expressed if other aspects of livestock management are improved, any implementation of reproductive biotechnology (his major area of interest) should be part of a larger programme to improve health and forage production. Donkin (21/8) echoed these sentiments, saying that although the temptation is to view new technologies as being able to provide a "quick-fix" solution, this was seldom true as the problems were usually more complex than they initially appear. He also argued that "no genetic improvement should be introduced without making provision for other improvements in aspects such as nutrition, disease control, or simply in the organization and control of breeding".
Ramsey (17/8) expressed similar views, emphasising that biotechnology needs to be used responsibly and that important issues, such as general animal husbandry, should not be overlooked. Referring specifically to AI, he noted that very often "the fact that stressed and underfed animals do not respond well to synchronisation and AI is simply overlooked". Traoré (6/7) was of the same opinion, saying "the application of AI as a lucrative activity remains questionable if it is not linked to some other activities, such as health care and advice on animal husbandry practice".
Given that new biotechnologies are often very expensive and require sophisticated back-up services, facilities and technical staff, Donkin (21/8) suggested it was appropriate to ask whether the resources could be used more effectively for developing countries. Muir (10/7) made a similar point, writing that "high tech does not necessarily equate with good tech. Good tech is that which is cost effective and appropriate for the situation". Referring specifically to MAS, he argued that the economic resources might be better utilised in raising the management skills of farmers or in improving the extension services.
D) Biotechnology and vaccine development or disease diagnosis
According to Steane (30/6) the potential of biotechnology is probably greater than in most other areas of animal production when directed towards new vaccines or the use of disease resistance genes. Halos (13/7) noted that one of the major problems facing the livestock production services was availability of effective vaccines far from major urban areas. As those currently available need refrigeration, she argued that DNA vaccines may help to solve this problem. Jeggo (20/7) was slightly more cautious, saying that although biotechnology offered solutions for animal vaccines, "there is a long way to go". He argued that DNA vaccines, recombinant vaccines and genetically modified marker vaccines are obvious paths to follow, but that there were problems due to a) the intense debate on genetically modified organisms currently taking place in Europe and b) the limited research funds available for work on developing country diseases. Regarding diagnosis of animal diseases, Jeggo (20/7) argued that diagnostic systems based on the polymerase chain reaction had an advantage due to their specificity and sensitivity and that technical developments were making them more attractive. He noted, however, that their use in developing countries was still limited due to problems of assay control and contamination.
E) Biotechnology and nutrition
Cronjé (5/7) suggested that blood metabolite concentrations could be useful measures of nutrient status for free-ranging animals in developing areas. Makkar (17/7) provided some detailed comments on the potential role of biotechnology in animal nutrition. He argued that "the manipulation of plants is likely to improve the utilisation of feed resources by livestock with lesser investment of efforts and money compared to the manipulation of rumen microbes". To illustrate how genetic manipulation of plants might improve feed quality, he gave seven examples where it held great promise such as increasing sulphur amino acids in leguminous forage or increasing the digestibility of existing nutrients, especially fibre, for tropical forage. He questioned, however, whether reduction or elimination of plant secondary metabolites (antinutritional factors) by plant breeding and molecular technologies might be advisable in developing countries as the plants are faced with various environmental challenges and the metabolites have a protective role - a viewpoint that was supported by Dundon (18/7). Makkar (17/7) suggested that problems caused by the metabolites could be mitigated in some cases by transferring rumen micro-organisms from resistant to susceptible animals.
F) Traits for genetic improvement in developing countries
A range of biotechnologies can be used to genetically improve livestock in developing countries. There was some discussion in the conference about which traits should be targeted for genetic improvement. Steane (20/6) questioned whether it was sensible in dairy cattle breeding to follow the developed world and to increase body size and maintenance requirements and to reduce fertility as had happened with the Holstein-Friesian population. Cronjé (20/6) maintained that selection for single traits, as practised in developed countries, increased the animals' adaptation to higher levels of nutrition and that it was important to genetically select the animals so that they could reproduce and carry out other essential functions when nutrient supply was low. The importance and potential of using biotechnology to genetically improve disease resistance was emphasised by Steane (30/6), Worku (1/7) and by Gibson (21/7), who said, regarding genetic modifications of livestock of potential benefit to the developing world, that he would focus on efforts to modify resistance to disease and parasites.
G) Genotype by environment (G x E) interactions
The topic of G x E interactions, where the genetic superiority/ranking of
animals is dependent on the environment they are in, was discussed in two
i) the import of genetic material selected in developed countries to developing countries
ii) genetic improvement programmes in developing countries
i) Import of exotic breeds
Both Woodford (4/7) and Ramsey (17/8) noted that experts from developed countries often advocated use of foreign breeds for developing countries, a strategy that was often unsuccessful as the animals were not genetically adapted to the new environment. Cronjé (20/6) emphasised the animal nutrition aspect to this problem, arguing that caution should be expressed about using genetic material in developing countries that has been selected under high nutritional levels in developed countries. Cronjé (5/7) however, also insisted that, given the increasing demand for food for the expanding human population, the existence of G x E interactions should not be used to delay the application of biotechnology until all genotypes had been tested in all environments.
ii) Genetic improvement programmes in developing countries
To overcome the difficulties associated with on-farm recording and testing in developing countries, Blair (29/6) suggested that genetic improvement programmes should be based in centralised breeding stations, from which the superior genetic material could be then disseminated. Cronjé (29/6) however, argued that this approach was associated with problems because in such stations i) the management/nutrition levels were typically far superior than in normal farm conditions and ii) genetic selection was usually based on a single trait recorded in the station environment. Because of G x E interactions, he concluded that this could result in animals being selected that were genetically superior in the station but inferior in the farmers' environment. He suggested a compromise, where farmers would co-operate in a group breeding scheme, each contributing their own animals to be recorded under normal nutritional/management conditions in a centralised farm or grazing area. The concept was supported by Muir (1/7) who insisted that when G x E interactions are strong then the way to deal with the problem is to select the animals in the normal environment of production. Blair (3/7) suggested that the solution was to change the ranking process in the centralised station, which would require either assessing new traits on the station animals, recording their relatives under commercial conditions outside the station or modifying the station environment to reflect commercial conditions (as suggested by Muir (1/7)).
H) Impacts of biotechnology on livestock biodiversity in developing countries
There was much discussion throughout the conference about the potential impacts (negative and positive) that biotechnology has (or may have) on animal genetic resources in developing countries. The theme is important as much of the potentially important livestock biodiversity is found in developing rather than developed countries (Steane, 20/6; Hanotte, 11/8) and it was argued that it could be a potential goldmine for developing countries if properly studied and evaluated (Hanotte, 11/8).
i) Negative impacts of biotechnology on livestock biodiversity
Discussions about the negative impacts were, to a large degree, a consequence of the many experiences that developing countries have already had of the use of reproductive biotechnologies (especially AI) to introduce foreign or exotic genetic material from developed countries, either for crossing with the local breeds or as purebreds. The primary negative impacts mentioned were that "the existing adapted genetic material might be diluted or lost" (Donkin, 21/8), seen for example in the Philippines (Halos, 13/7), and that the imported genetic material might not be adapted to the new environment and would require improvements in nutrition/housing etc. since "if we change the genetics then the chances are that we must also change the environment" (Woodford, 4/7). Ramsey (17/8) expressed similar sentiments, saying that using AI, "adapted indigenous animals have been crossed with breeds that are often totally unsuited to the environments in question - and we are left with a legacy of animals that require additional inputs to perform - and an eroded indigenous gene pool". Cronjé (20/6) also emphasised that once genes are introduced into an indigenous gene pool, it is hard to remove them if they are later discovered to be inappropriate. Traoré (16/8) suggested that a problem for breed conservation is that foreign breeds often have a strong appeal to farmers because they, and their crosses, are believed to be of high performance.
Note that crossbreeding, per se, using AI, was not seen as being a negative factor. Steane (20/6) lamented the fact that very few developing countries offered AI of local breeds to allow their sires to be used in crossbreeding systems, but said that this was changing slowly. Ramsey (17/8) argued that in certain conditions (where there was a need for a specific product, such as milk, and where the management inputs were sufficiently high), there was a niche for the development of a composite breed using local adapted animals as the dam line. The sire line could be non-local but should be chosen carefully, keeping the developing country environment in mind. He provided two examples of the development of composite breeds in South Africa.
ii) Positive impacts of biotechnology on livestock biodiversity
Ramsey (17/8) maintained that the preservation of endangered breeds was a vitally important niche for biotechnology. Here, he argued that reproductive biotechnologies, such as AI and ET (also promoted in this context by Traoré (6/7)), and DNA technologies, to verify parentage and breed purity, could be very useful.
The importance of using molecular markers for studying livestock biodiversity was underlined by Hanotte (11/8). He noted that they allow us to identify the ancestral origins and to investigate the history of domestication of modern livestock species. Muir (21/8) argued that, having identified the ancestral wild populations from which the modern breeds evolved, biotechnology could play an important role in identifying alleles of production traits present in ancestral populations but absent in modern breeds.
Hanotte (11/8) stressed the importance of international co-operation when using molecular markers to genetically characterise local breeds, and gave an example of a successful collaboration involving an African cattle project. This point was strongly supported by Tiesnamurti (16/8) and Li (17/8), who, together with Steane (25/8), gave some advice on how such international projects could be successfully operated. Li (17/8) also argued that, apart from molecular markers, basic data on production characters, population size and breed histories were also important for genetic characterisation. Traoré (16/8) maintained that although characterisation was an important step, it was not enough to ensure conservation of the local genetic resources, as this depended on a true appreciation of their characteristics. Ramsey (17/8) suggested that, wherever possible, conservation should start with on-farm initiatives.
I) The role of animal scientists in the biotechnology debate
Harper (18/7) urged scientists to be more active in public discussions about biotechnology and in providing information to groups looking to learn about biotechnology. He predicted that this information-provider role would grow for scientists in the coming decades. He also observed that it was important for scientists to communicate the role that the different biotechnologies are already playing in the production system, although without over-emphasising the importance of transgenic solutions, as this may lead to loss of public support. Donkin (21/8) noted that scientists tend to be enthusiastic about technological advances and keen to find ways to apply them. He cautioned, however, that this enthusiasm needs to be directed appropriately and that, in development projects, the people to be helped should also be involved. These elements of caution were also expressed by Steane (25/8) who suggested that many scientists in developing countries seemed to emphasise obtaining the technology rather than looking at the possible adaptations, which could be infrastructural, needed to make them serve local needs. For him, this emphasised the need for increased dialogue "between the various interested parties - planners, scientists, extensionists and, above all, farmers".
The conference took place from 12 June to 25 August 2000. A total of 235 Forum members registered and 42 messages were posted. The 42 messages were submitted by 26 different individuals (11 % of all registered) living in 14 different countries. From the addresses provided by the 26 participants, it could be seen that 9 worked in universities, 5 in research centres, 3 in government positions, 2 each were from the International Livestock Research Institute and the joint FAO/IAEA division, 2 seemed to be from the general public while there was one each from a non-governmental organisation, private company and a research administration body. The countries from which the greatest number of messages were posted were the United States (11 messages), South Africa (5), Indonesia (4) and Thailand (4). Looking at the wider geographical picture, the greatest number of messages came from Asia (29%), North America (26%) and Africa (24%), with the remaining 22% coming roughly equally from Europe and Oceania. Fifty-two % of messages were posted by participants living in developing countries.
Ali, Kassim Omar. Norway
Blair, Hugh. New Zealand
Chandrasiri, A.D.N. Sri Lanka.
Cronjé, Pierre. South Africa
Donkin, Ned. South Africa
Dundon, Stanislaus. United States
Gibson, John. Kenya
Halos, Saturnina. The Philippines
Hanotte, Olivier. Kenya
Harper, Gregory. Australia
Jeggo, Martyn. Austria
Li, Kui. China
Makkar, Harinder. Austria
Martens, Mary-Howell. United States
Muir, Bill. United States
Na-Chiangmai, Ancharlie. Thailand
Ramsey, Keith. South Africa
Sedrati, M'Hammed. Morocco
Steane, David. Thailand
Tibary, Ahmed. United States
Tiesnamurti, Bess. Indonesia
Traoré, Adama. Mali
Wiwie, Caroline. Indonesia
Woodford, Keith. Australia
Worku, Mulumebet. United States
AI = Artificial insemination; ET = Embryo transfer; G x E = Genotype by environment; GM = Genetically modified; IAEA = International Atomic Energy Agency; IVM/IVF = In vitro maturation and fertilisation; MAS = Marker-assisted selection