Quick Reads

HyPEing the Human Genome

The Dissent Disease

A new report by ETC Group argues that the pharmaceutical industry's major interest in "The Book of Life" and parallel advances in neurosciences lies in the development of new drugs and therapies that target "well people" rather than the ill. The study also shows that company strategies focusing on parents could eliminate the "different" in the human species in favour of a monocultural "norm." In addition, industry and government are exploring the potential to use the new genomics to monitor and control dissent.

RAFI becomes ETC Group

International Advocacy Group Changes Name, President, and Widens Agenda

ETC Group (pronounced etcetera) is the new name for the former Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI). The full legal name will be Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration . The official name change took place September 1st as the organization began its 16th year of activity.

Etcetera: We had hundreds of name suggestions, Pat Mooney, Executive Director reports, referring to the name contest launched on the RAFI website earlier this year. A surprisingly large percentage of the suggestions were actually complimentary, Hope Shand, Research Director, recalls. The most common suggestion was not to change our name at all. (The change was advised in order to secure the advocacy group s non-profit status in the United States. The ETC Group is incorporated both in Europe and in Canada, with headquarters in Winnipeg.

RAFI se transforma en ETC

Cambio de nombre y nuevas actividades

"ETC Group" (con la intención de que se pronuncie “Etcétera”) es el nuevo nombre de la Fundación Internacional para el Progreso Rural (RAFI por sus siglas en inglés). El nombre completo es “Grupo de acción sobre Erosión, Tecnología y Concentración”. El cambio ocurrió oficialmente el 1º de septiembre, al comenzar el 16avo año de actividades de RAFI.

Terminator Takeover?

Will financial troubles put Delta & Pine Land on the auction block?

Delta & Pine Land, the maverick seed company that vows to commercialize the notorious Terminator technology, is in trouble. Delta & Pine Land announced (2001) that its president is quitting, the company will eliminate 7 percent of its work force and they are shutting down a facility in Arizona.

La venganza de Terminator

¿Delta & Pine Land al borde de la quiebra?

Delta & Pine Land (D&PL), la compañía de semillas “rebelde” que insiste en sus intenciones de comercializar la maligna tecnología Terminator, está en problemas. Delta & Pine Land anunció (2001) que su presidente renuncia y que la compañía eliminará 7 por ciento de su fuerza de trabajo y cerrará una de sus instalaciones en Arizona.

USDA Says Yes to Terminator

It's official. The US Department of Agriculture announced this week that it has concluded negotiations to license the notorious Terminator technology to its seed industry partner, Delta & Pine Land (D&PL). As a result of joint research, the USDA and D&PL are co-owners of three patents on the controversial technology that genetically modifies plants to produce sterile seeds, preventing farmers from re-using harvested seed. A licensing agreement establishes the terms and conditions under which a party can use a patented technology. Although many of the Gene Giants hold patents on Terminator technology, D&PL is the only company that has publicly declared its intention to commercialize Terminator seeds.

Rolling the Die in 'Sin City'

Self-proclaimed 'heroes' in Monte Carlo, the world's seed companies have bowed to U.S. pressure in Sun City, South Africa.

The world's leading seed trade association, ASSINSEL (International Association of Plant Breeders for the Protection of Plant Varieties, Nyon, Switzerland) may have succumbed to political pressure from the USA and four other OECD governments. The trade group has reversed its position in support of a new global treaty to safeguard the exchange of research seed for food security. The policy turnabout apparently came during the trade group's annual meeting in Sun City (popularly known as 'Sin City' because of its casinos). ASSINSEL is expected to tell governments at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome next Monday (June 25th) that it, '...does not support the current IU [International Undertaking, the treaty] text...'. The statement will come as a shock to European governments and to diplomats from Africa, Asia, and Latin America attending the Undertaking's final negotiating round June 25-30.

'Can Donorsaurs Mollify Treasury-Rexs?'

Nice try but no Cigar

The last-ever Mid-term Meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) has shuffled into extinction in Durban, South Africa. The fate of the outmoded Green Revolution centers - the South's most important scientific research system, remains in limbo. The 'donorsaurs' (as its 58 funding governments and foundations have been dubbed) are faced with a number of unresolved challenges.

Seeds Saved in Spoleto

Nobody's going to become a millionaire...

A rare tiff with the seed and biotech industries over intellectual property will leave the USA and Australia outside looking in on a new agricultural genetic resources treaty. Next steps: the FAO Commission in June and the World Food Summit in November?