Barriers and paths to market for genetically engineered crops
News Apr 19, 2010
Each year, billions of dollars are invested in efforts to improve crops through genetic engineering (GE). These activities have resulted in a surge of publications and patents on technologies and genes: a momentum in basic research that, unfortunately, is not sustained throughout the subsequent phases of product development. After more than two decades of intensive research, the market for transgenic crops is still dominated by applications of just a handful of methods and genes. This discrepancy between research and development reflects difficulties in understanding and overcoming seven main barriers-to-entry: (1) trait efficacy in the field, (2) critical product concepts, (3) freedom-to-operate, (4) industry support, (5) identity preservation and stewardship, (6) regulatory approval and (7) retail and consumer acceptance. In this review, I describe the various roadblocks to market for transgenic crops and also discuss methods and approaches on how to overcome these, especially in the United States.
Scientists at McGill have found the answer to a question that perplexed Charles Darwin; if natural selection works at the level of the individual, fighting for survival and reproduction, how can a single colony produce worker ants that are so dramatically different in size – from “minor” workers to large-headed soldiers with huge mandibles – especially if they are sterile?