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[GreenYes] 13 Firms Own 80% of GM Crop Patents The Times of India 14jan02
I am presenting this article in reference to the of farming plant-based
plastics.

Paul
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13 Firms Own 80% of GM Crop Patents The Times of India 14jan02
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Solution:
a democratic control of science and technology
through public involvement in setting science agenda
and establishing ethical boundaries.
------------------------------------
BANGALORE -- Nearly 80 per cent of genetic modification of crops worldwide
is undertaken by four companies. And there is an increase in control over
genetically modified products through patents - 13 companies own 80 per cent
of the patents in GM crops. Such statistics raise questions of security of a
very small group in the world, holding technology and power born of it in
their hands. But Prof Sue Mayer, Director of Greenwatch UK, offered possible
solutions: a democratic control of science and technology through public
involvement in setting science agenda and establishing ethical boundaries.
Prof Mayer is with a public interest science policy research group looking
at implications of new genetic technologies. She spoke on Social and ethical
issues in biotechnology research,' here on Sunday as part of the on-going
Indo-UK Science Festival.

Crops:
The biggest problems these days in the field of biotechnology in UK was the
question whether the two systems of organic farming and GM Food farming can
co-exist. The other worry was the flow of foreign genes into the wild gene
of related species; the damage that could be caused to the non-target
species. For example, a dramatic decline in farmlife like birds was seen in
GM fields where there were no weeds and pests. Then there is the question of
how long will it take for pests to develop resistance to such GM crops like
they have developed resistance to many pesticides? The future and third
generation of GM crops would see industrial uses -- making oils and biofuels
for industry from GM crops and drug production.

Health:
On the health front, the worry was of new toxins, new allergens, and
antibiotic resistance genes that could increase problems with more drug-
resistant diseases was greatest.

Animals:
The biggest area of benefit for GM animals was in the field of medicine. But
there are always plant alternatives for drug production. Xenotransplantation
where GM animal organs are transplanted into humans have an alternative in
stem cell production.

International tensions:
Patenting life is creating international tensions because the developed
world was pressing for globally homogenous Intellectual Property Laws, and
developing countries were worried, among others, about royalty demands. The
ethical issue is that a technical risk assessment conceals judgments
informed by science but not science alone. Science is necessary but not
sufficient explanation alone,'' said Mayer.

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