Research & Extension


The FAO e-mail conference on the "Impacts of genomics and other 'omics' for the crop, forestry, livestock, fishery and agro-industry sectors in developing countries" took place from 4 to 24 March 2013. Advances in genomics, the study of all the genetic material (i.e. the genome) of an organism, have been remarkable in recent years. Publication of the first draft of the human genome in 2001 was a milestone, quickly followed by that of the first crop (rice) in 2002 and the first farm animal (chicken) in 2004. Huge technological advancements have meant that sequencing has become dramatically quicker and cheaper over time, so the genomes of many of the important crops, livestock, forest trees, aquatic animals and agricultural pests are now already sequenced or soon will be.

This moderated e-mail conference looked at the impacts that genomics, and the other related 'omics', have had so far on food and agriculture in developing countries as well as their potential impacts in the near future. A total of 522 people subscribed to the conference, of whom 44 (i.e. 8%) submitted at least one message. Of the 61 messages that were posted, 36% came from people living in Asia; 28% from Europe; 13% from Latin America and the Caribbean; 10% from Africa; 8% from North America: and 5% from Oceania. The messages came from people living in 22 different countries, the greatest number coming from India, followed by the United Kingdom, United States, Finland and Nigeria. A total of 35 messages (i.e. 57%) were posted by people living in developing countries. Just over half of the messages came from people working in universities; a quarter came from people working in research centres, including CGIAR centres; while the remaining quarter came from people working in the private sector, for the Government or working as independent consultants.

See the 10-pages Background Document (90 KB) to the conference or read all the 61 messages (460 KB) posted during the 3-week long conference.