Themes: Biotechnology | 45

the type of IPR instrument used to protect GM but not con­ventional and plants in some jurisdictions. The former are subject to IP protection that follows the gene rather than the trait, and is exempt from farmer's privilege provisions in some plant variety protection conventions [Global Chapter 6].

GMOs and chemical use
There is an active dispute over the evidence of adverse ef­fects of GM crops on the environment [Global Chapter 3 vs. NAE Chapter 3]. That general dispute aside, as GM plants have been adopted mainly in high chemical input farming systems thus far [Global Chapter 3], the debate has focused on whether the concomitant changes in the amounts or types of some pesticides [Global Chapter 2; NAE Chapter 3] that were used in these systems prior to the development of commercial GM plants creates a net environmental ben­efit [Global Chapter 3]. Regardless of how this debate re­solves, the benefits of current GM plants may not translate into all agroecosystems. For example, the benefits of reduc­tions in use of other insecticides through the introduction of insecticide-producing (Bt) plants [NAE Chapter 3] seems to be primarily in chemically intensive agroecosystems such as North and South America and China [Global Chapter 3].

Livestock and aquaculture to increase food production and improve nutrition
Livestock, poultry and fish breeding have made substantial historical and current contributions to productivity [Global Chapters 3, 6, 7]. The key limitation to productivity in­creases in developing countries appears to be in adapting modern breeds to the local environment [CWANA Chapter 5; Global Chapter 3]. The same range of genomics and en­gineering options available to plants, theoretically, apply to livestock and fish [Global Chapters 3, 6; NAE Chapter 6]. In addition, livestock biotechnologies include artificial in­semination, sire-testing, synchronization of estrus, embryo transfer and gamete and embryo cryopreservation, and new cloning techniques [see CWANA Chapter 5; Global Chapter 6; NAE Chapter 6 for a range of topics].
     Biotechnology can contribute to livestock and aquacul­ture through the development of diagnostics and vaccines for infectious diseases [Global Chapter 6; NAE Chapter 6], transgenes for disease resistance [Global Chapter 3] and de­velopment of feeds that reduce nitrogen and phosphorous loads in waste [Global Chapter 3]. Breeding with enhanced growth characteristics or disease resistance is also made pos­sible with MAS [Global Chapter 3; NAE Chapter 6]. As with plants, the difficulty with breeding animals is in bring­ing the different genes necessary for some traits together all at once in the offspring. Animals with desired traits might be more efficiently selected by using genomic maps to identify quantitative traits and gene x environment interactions.
     There are currently no transgenic livestock animals in commercial production and none likely in the short term [Global Chapter 6]. Gene flow from GM fish also may be of significant concern and so GM fish would need to be closely monitored [CWANA Chapter 5; Global Chapter 3]. Assess­ing environmental impacts of GM fish is even more difficult than for GM plants, as even less is known about marine ecosystem than about terrestrial agroecosystems.


Ways Forward
Biotechnology must be considered in a holistic sense to cap­ture its true contribution to AKST and achieving develop­ment and sustainability goals. On the one hand, this may be resisted because some biotechnologies, e.g., genetic engineer­ing, are very controversial and the particular controversy can cause many to prematurely dismiss the value of all bio­technology in general. On the other hand, those who favor technologies that are most amenable to prevailing IP protec­tions may resist broad definitions of biotechnology, because past contributions made by many individuals, institutions and societies might undermine the exclusivity of claims.
     A problem-oriented approach to biotechnology R&D would focus investment on local priorities identified through participatory and transparent processes, and favor multi­functional solutions to local problems [Global Chapter 2]. This emphasis replaces a view where commercial drivers de­termine supply. The nature of the commercial organization is to secure the IP for products and methods development. IP law is designed to prevent the unauthorized use of IP rather than as an empowering right to develop products based on IP. Instead, there needs to be a renewed emphasis on public sec­tor engagement in biotechnology. It is clearly realized that the private sector will not replace the public sector for producing biotechnologies that are used on smaller scales, maintaining broadly applicable research and development capacities, or achieving some goals for which there is no market [CWANA Chapter 5; Global Chapters 5, 8]. In saying this, an IP-mo­tivated public engagement alone would miss the point, and the public sector must also have adequate resources and ex­pertise to produce locally understood and relevant biotech­nologies and products [CWANA Chapter 1].
     A systematic redirection of AKST will include a rig­orous rethinking of biotechnology, and especially modern biotechnology, in the decades to come. Effective long-term environmental and health monitoring and surveillance pro­grams, and training and education of farmers are essential to identify emerging and comparative impacts on the en­vironment and human health, and to take timely counter measures. No regional long-term environmental and health monitoring programs exist to date in the countries with the most concentrated GM crop production [Global Chapter 3]. Hence, long-term data on environmental implications of GM crop production are at best deductive or simply missing and speculative.
     While climate change and population growth could col­lude to overwhelm the Earth's latent potential to grow food and bio-materials that sustain human life and well being, both forces might be offset by smarter agriculture. Present cultivation methods are energy intensive and environmen­tally taxing, characteristics that in time both exacerbate demand for limited resources and damage long term pro­ductivity. Agroecosystems that both improve productivity and replenish ecosystem services behind the supply chain are desperately needed. No particular actor has all the answers or all the possible tools to achieve a global solution. Geneti­cally modified plants and GM fish may have a sustainable contribution to make in some environments just as ecologi­cal agriculture might be a superior approach to achieving a higher sustainable level of agricultural productivity.