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able results (Smale, 1997). Although more genetically uni­form than their early relatives, landraces are characterized by a high degree of genetic diversity within a particular field. Modern varieties, on the other hand, tend to exhibit little diversity within a particular field, but each plant contains genetic material from a wide variety of progenitors and is adapted to perform well across a wide range of agroclimatic conditions. A simple count of the varieties in a particular area or measures of genetic distance among varieties thus may not tell us much about the resilience of crop ecosys­tems or the availability of crop genetic resources for breed­ing programs (Raney and Pingali, 2005).

     Transgenic techniques can directly affect agricultural genetic diversity. Transgenesis permits the introduction of ge­netic materials from sexually incompatible organisms, greatly expanding the range of genetic variation that can be used in breeding programs. Transgenesis allows the targeted trans­fer of the genes responsible for a particular trait, without otherwise changing the genetic makeup of the host plant. This means that a single transgenic event can be incorpo­rated into many varieties of a crop, including perhaps even landraces. Compared with conventional breeding in which an innovation comes bundled within a new variety that typically displaces older varieties, transgenesis could allow an innovation to be disseminated through many varieties, preserving desirable qualities from existing varieties and maintaining or potentially increasing crop genetic diversity (Raney and Pingali, 2005).

     On the other hand, the widespread incorporation of a single innovation, such as the Bt genes, into many crops may constitute a kind of genetic narrowing for that particular trait. Furthermore, transgenic crops that confer a distinct advantage over landraces may accelerate the pace at which these traditional crops are abandoned or augmented with the transgenic trait (Raney and Pingali, 2005). Regulatory regimes are concerned with the potentially harmful con­sequences of gene flow from transgenic crops to conven­tional varieties or landraces. In this context, it is important to recognize that gene flow from conventional varieties to landraces frequently occurs (especially for open-pollinated crops such as maize) and is often consciously exploited by farmers. It is likely that, in the same way, farmers would consciously select for transgenic traits that confer an advan­tage (de Groote et al., 2005).

     Regulatory decisions influence the implications of trans­genic approaches for biodiversity, often in unexpected ways. For example, when biosafety procedures require the sepa­rate approval of each plant variety containing a transgenic event, it slows the development of new varieties and narrows the range of genetic diversity available to farmers. Similarly, when new transgenic approaches to address a given produc­tion constraint (such as herbicide tolerance) are delayed, the approved technology may be overused with negative conse­quences for biodiversity and other environmental indicators.

     Finally, genetic engineering allows scientists to take advantage of biodiversity. Increased documentation of ge­nomes and understanding of functional genomics provides information that is needed to develop new traits and new varieties that are of high value. Thus, the availability of tools for biotechnology and their development enhance the value of biodiversity, and to some extent, biotechnology


and biodiversity are complementary. Furthermore, biotech­nology provides tools to restore local varieties after slight modification allowing them to withstand disease or other pressures. The development of precision farming technolo­gies that allow for the modification of application of inputs, including seeds, in response to changes in ecological condi­tions will provide impetus to increase crop diversity to take advantage of these new possibilities.

5.6 Implications of Policy Simulations and Emerging Policy Issues: Synergies and Tradeoffs

5.6.1 Poverty and equity

Chapter 5 examined projected changes in agriculture and AKST out to 2050 based on existing assessments and meth­odologies. At this point there are no established methodolo­gies to adequately describe changes in poverty and equity out to 2050. This can only be inferred based on the state of literature and the analyses presented here. Increased agricul­tural productivity has been a key driver for economic and income growth in most countries at some stage of economic development and will continue to be key to growth in many agriculture-dependent developing countries out to 2050. However, although agricultural and economic growth are critical drivers for poverty reduction and explain a signifi­cant share of the historical decline in poverty in most re­gions of the world, policies and investments in the fields of education, health, and infrastructure are also essential for sustained poverty reduction. Lipton and Sinha (1998) argue that, while globalization is changing the outlook for the ru­ral poor by raising average incomes, it also tends to increase income variability both across regions (leaving some regions and countries behind) and across time, thus increasing the vulnerability of those who can least afford it. Moreover, while changes in macroeconomic and trade policy tend to produce large gains for both rural and urban areas, poor farmers and (landless) agricultural laborers, who often lack the skills, health, information, or assets needed to seize new opportunities (Sinha and Adam, 2006, 2007), tend to be left out of the general economic growth process, as they may be concentrated in remote rural areas or geographic regions ill-equipped to gain from globalization/liberalization.

     To redress potentially adverse impacts on equity, invest­ments in human capital are crucial for the poor. Moreover, given emerging health and food safety issues, investments in health and nutrition are similarly important. Even with rapid economic growth and active investment in social ser­vices, some of the poor will be reached slowly if at all. And even among those who do benefit to some extent, many will remain vulnerable to adverse events. These groups will need to be reached through income transfers, or through safety nets that help them through short-term stresses or disasters.

5.6.2 Hunger, health and food security

The reference run has shown that a substantial increase in food prices will cause relatively slow growth in calorie con­sumption, with both direct price impacts and reductions in real incomes for poor consumers who spend a large share of their income on food. This in turn contributes to slow im-