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Posted Mon Nov 1 2010: from ScienceDaily:
Scientists Prepare for Confined Field Trials of Life-Saving Drought-Tolerant Transgenic Maize
Crop specialists in Kenya and Uganda have laid the groundwork for confined field trials to commence later this year for new varieties of maize genetically modified to survive recurrent droughts that threaten over 300 million Africans for whom maize is life, according to a speech given Oct. 14 by the head of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) at the World Food Prize Symposium, being held in Des Moines, Iowa.... Scientists working with AATF believe it's important to explore the potential of biotechnology to maintain and increase food production in Africa, given the large number of families dependent on maize, and warnings that maize yields could drop dramatically as climate change increases drought frequency and severity across the continent. There is preliminary evidence that the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) varieties, which were developed through a public-private partnership, could provide yields 24-35 percent higher than what farmers are now growing.... The push to develop drought-tolerant varieties has been given added urgency by threats likely to come from climate change.... If the transgenic corn is found to be safe and successful, the new varieties will be made available to smallholder farmers royalty-free. Under its agreement with its partners, any approved varieties would be licensed to AATF, which would then distribute to farmers through local seed supplies at a price competitive with other types of maize seed. The project partners expect that pricing will not be influenced by the requirement to pay royalties, as none of the partners will receive any royalty payment from seed companies for the drought tolerant lines/transgenic trait incorporating their intellectual property protected technology.
[Read more stories about: GMOs, food crisis, drought]
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'Doc Michael says:
Transgenics developed without a profit motive? Monsanto must be pissed.
Actually, the real question is whether farmers are allowed to save seed and re-plant it. If they can -- and if it's safe, a big if -- then many of our objections to GM decay.

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