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Sent: 07 December 2008 17:51
Subject: 63: Re: IPRs in biotechnologies for bioenergy production
This is from S.K.T. Nasar, Honorary Vice-President of a NGO called the Maromi Human Resource Development Society (MHRDS) in India. We are a group drawn from academia, farmers' organizations, social activists, government functionaries, political persons involved with policy issues, women's self-help groups etc. MHRDS works in rural areas of West Bengal for livelihood security and women's empowerment through participatory introduction and/or expansion of innovative technologies specially designed for farming/rural families. I am also former Director of Research at Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya (agricultural university) in Kalyani, West Bengal and former Chairman (Genetics) of the Rajendra Agricultural University, Pusa (Samastipur), Bihar.
I am coming in late to add to comments by Julie Newman in Message 59 about intellectual property rights (IPR).
IPR is losing sheen in the midst of the current global economic meltdown. A new and more equitable IPR regime will most likely emerge over time with increasing emphasis on national laws relating to biodiversity enacted under the International Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
Biodiversity laws include life-systems, from the level of 'genes' to that of higher organisms. Developing countries are largely biodiversity-rich and should, thereby, take advantage in terms of biotechnologies applied to biodiversity relating to biofuels. Biotechnologically reconstructed genes/genomes need living systems/cells to produce biofuels despite the fact that 'artificial life' has now been invented. Such a 'synthetic genome' requires a suitable living host among available biodiversity. It is here that developing countries have an advantage. Such life-hosts also require 'food' to sustain own growth and produce biofuels. The input-output economics - biological, mass-culture and monetary economics - need to match with the desired biofuel economics.
Developing countries should protect and utilize all forms of biodiversity, guard against IPR invasion, consider economics and produce biofuels by non-rDNA and rDNA (recombinant DNA) biotechnologies to its global advantage.
Prof. S. K.T. Nasar,
Maromi Human Resource Development Society (NGO), Kolkata, and
Former Director of Research,
Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya,
e-mail: sktnasar (at) hotmail.com