Over the past 10 years, in addition supporting ecological approaches, the Rockefeller Foundation has funded the training of some 400 developing-country scientists in the techniques of biotechnology. Most of the new crop varieties are the result of tissue culture and marker-aided selection. The Foundation also supports the production of genetically engineered rices, including a new rice engineered for beta carotene (the precursor of Vitamin A) in the grain.
Some specific steps can be taken by Monsanto that would improve acceptance of plant biotechnology in both the developing and the industrialized worlds: label; disavow gene protection (terminator) systems; phase out the use of antibiotic resistance markers; agree (with big seed companies) to use the plant variety protection system, rather than patents, in developing countries; establish an independently administered fellowship program to train developing-country scientists in crop biotechnology, biosafety, and intellectual property; donate useful technologies to developing countries; agree to share financial rewards from intellectual property rights on varieties such as basmati or jasmine rice with the countries of origin; and finally, develop a global public dialogue that treats developing-country participants as equal partners.
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