Seed industry to address university researchers’ concerns
Aug. 17, 2009 -Although biotechnology has brought innovation to the agri-food sector, public sector researchers are concerned their efforts to support studies on biotech advancements are not clearly defined by set procedures and accountability.
August 17, 2009
Significant progress and alignment was achieved by the 27 representatives from the research community and the seed industry who met on June 30, 2009, in Ames, Iowa, to discuss research on commercial, patent-protected seed products and opportunities to improve the process overall.
Agricultural biotechnology has brought tremendous innovation to the seed industry. A system of regulatory oversight and mechanisms to protect intellectual property has evolved along with the development and commercialization of patent-protected seed products. For this reason, commercial purchases of biotech seed, such as by farmers, requires an accompanying agreement to meet environmental stewardship needs and regulations.
Agronomic studies by public sector scientists on commercially available seed have been and are routinely being conducted, and biotechnology companies provide researchers with access to this seed. Although companies support hundreds of research studies annually, procedures to enable this work have not always been as clear or straightforward as possible and can vary from company to company. Further, these processes are not always transparent within the university systems themselves, often creating an additional layer of challenges for the scientists in meeting their research goals.
As a result, earlier this year, some public sector researchers voiced the challenges they face in conducting research on commercially available seed with patent-protected traits. When these concerns were brought to the attention of two trade associations representing the seed industry and the agricultural biotechnology industry, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), a meeting was proposed with the research community to better understand, discuss and address the points raised by the researchers.
Working together on a harmonized system