martes, abril 27, 2010

UN launches GM network for developing countries

1.UN launches biotech network for developing countries
2.The biotech cradle is ready to rock

NOTE FROM GM WATCH: The first article reports on how the United Nations has lauched a new network - the International Industrial Biotechnology Network (IIBN) - to target "developing countries wanting to make more of their biotechnology resources". We're told that among other things, IIBN "plans to target Africa for collaborations later this year." (item 1)

The IIBN network we are told "will be co-ordinated by the Institute of Plant Biotechnology for Developing Countries [IPBO], Belgium." According to its website, "[IPBO] is an initiative of Ghent University". IPBO is situated "near the Ghent Biotech Valley, Europe's largest plant biotech cluster, IPBO is a central node of an international network for R&D in plant biotechnology." It "was founded by Prof. Em. Dr. Marc Van Montagu on June 13, 2000."

Marc Van Montagu is a GM pioneer - the first scientist to co-develop a GM plant (1983). He is also a keen lobbyist for GM crop acceptance with strong industry links. He is President of the European Federation of Biotechnolgy (EFB), which has an extensive corporate membership of around 100 public and private companies, including Monsanto Europe. EFB also has a number of national bio-industry associations as members, including the US's major trade body for biotech - BIO, and the association of German biotech companies (VBU), of which Bayer is a member.

Van Montagu was also the cofounder of Plant Genetic Systems. PGS Inc. was regarded as one of Europe's most successful biotech companies and went on to be bought by AgrEvo/Hoechst which was later incorporated into Aventis which, in turn, was taken over by Bayer. Van Montagu was also involved in founding the biotech firm CropDesign, of which he was a Board member from 1998 until 2004. CropDesign was later acquired by BASF Plant Science.

Van Montagu is also a member of the industry linked pro-GM lobby group, the Public Research Regulation Initiative (PRRI).

Interestingly, Van Montagu also has close links to Suzy Renckens, the former leading European Food Safety Authority bureaucrat at the centre of a major scandal after she moved directly from overseeing GM regulatory affairs at EFSA to working for Syngenta, where she's Head of Biotech Regulatory Affairs for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Nearly all Renckens scientific publications were co-authored with Marc Van Montagu.

EXTRACT: Ghent is moving ahead with an initiative similar to the University of Guelph Research Park, except all about biotechnology. It's driven by startup companies that have been squirreled away, working diligently on advances in the likes of functional foods and nutraceuticals, waiting for their own market to open up. (item 2)

1.UN launches biotech network for developing countries
Carol Campbell, 22 April 2010

2.The biotech cradle is ready to rock
Owen Roberts
Guelph Mercury [Canada], April 26 2010

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