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Status of research and application of crop biotechnologies in developing countries: Preliminary assessment

This document provides a concise overview of the data collected during the first phase of development of the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) database on Biotechnology in Developing Countries (BioDeC http://www.fao.org/biotech/inventory_admin/dep/default.asp).  The report summarises the range of different techniques and technologies, documented in the database, that are currently being researched, developed or applied in the developing world.

The report is organised into two main sections, covering non-GM and GM biotechnologies respectively.  The non-GM technologies discussed include microbial products such as biopesticides and biofertilisers, applied cell biology techniques such as micropropagation and the use of molecular markers to support breeding programmes.  GM technologies noted in the report include transgenic crops designed to resist viral, bacterial and fungal diseases, plants with enhanced resistance to pests, herbicides or abiotic stresses such as drought, and varieties with altered quality characteristics.

The authors emphasise that their findings are only preliminary, because the biotechnology-related activities under way around the world may have been under-reported.  They point out that the BioDeC database is still being expanded after the first phase of its development.  Nevertheless, this is the only reasonably comprehensive report of its kind, which provides the best glimpse of the range of activities under way around the world at present.

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