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TRANSGENIC PLANTS AND WORLD AGRICULTURE
crossbred seeds. Furthermore, this technology could potentially eliminate the problems of “volunteer” plants that appear from seed left in the field after harvest. Volunteer plants must be eliminated before the next crop is planted because they are hosts for pests and pathogens and can nullify the benefits of crop rotation. As with any growth regulator applied to crops, there are possible environmental or human health issues associated with the use of chemical activators (i.e., tetracycline, copper, steroids) and these would need to be addressed. Other concerns regarding the use of GURT are economic, related to the intellectual property rights and the monopoly of production of transgenic plants by particular companies.
It is critical that the potential benefits of GM technology becomeavailable to developing countries. To this end, we recommend that:(i) where appropriate, farmers must be allowed to save seed for futureuse (re-use seed) if they wish to do so; publicly funded researchshould investigate the value and limitations of re-using seed andthe results of this research should be made freely available to interestedparties; (ii) broad intellectual property claims, or claims on DNAsequenees without a true invention being made, should not be grantedbecause they stifle research and development; (iii) possible inconsistenciesamong international conventions, such as those that pertain to patentrights and the Convention on Biological Diversity, should be identifiedand clarified; (iv) research institutions should establish partnershipsamong industrialized and developing countries so that the benefitsof GM research, applications and licensing will become much morewidely available; and (v) an international advisory committee shouldbe created to assess the interests of private companies and developingcountries in the generation and use of transgenic plants to benefitthe poor—not only to help resolve the intellectual property issuesinvolved, but also to identify areas of common interest and opportunitybetween private sector and public sector institutions.