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Agricultural biotechnology : transgenics in agriculture and their implications for developing countries (Английский)

This background paper explains that the use of biotechnology in agriculture is enmeshed in controversy, particularly with regard to the development and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), also known as transgenics. A number of reports on the subject are agenda-driven in that they present selected aspects of the data both for and against transgenics, precluding a fuller discussion of the issues. This paper aims to address the deficiencies in quality and balance, especially with respect to the use of transgenics in developing country agriculture. Rather than reviewing the literature across the board, the paper synthesizes peer-reviewed research results published within the past three years and a few earlier, ground-breaking papers that are central to economic debates on the subject. The synthesis covers (in this order): ex post and ex ante assessments of the impact of transgenics at the farm level, as well as production costs and factors influencing adoption; assessments of documented environmental and health impacts to date; the level of public sector research in biotechnology in general and transgenics in particular; the regulatory frameworks emerging for the new technologies; and the political economy governing the adoption and development of transgenics. The paper concludes by discussing the implications for public sector support of the development and use of transgenics in agriculture in developing countries.

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