Seed exchange

Regulating technologies in diverse development contexts – looking back to look forward

by Adrian Ely, Vanesa Lowenstein and Yuhan Bao As part of the STEPS Centre’s final event on 8 December, we’ll be reflecting on the changes since the Centre’s project ‘Rethinking Regulation’  which took place between 2006 and 2011. The Rethinking Regulation project compared the regulation of two biotechnologies – transgenic seeds and antibiotics – with…

Ubuntu plant

Ubuntu, collective seed: Bioleft project on the press

Two articles about Bioleft project and the first Bioleft seed, Ubuntu, were published last month on specialized n
n the press Bioleft project and

T-Lab in Buenos Aires: Bioleft, open source seeds

T-Lab in Buenos Aires: Bioleft, co-designing open source seeds

The Latin America Hub of Pathways to Sustainabilty project is working on a system to protect biological information and ensure its circulation for research and development.

Mustard field

GM mustard in India: are important questions not being asked?

The Indian researcher Poonam Pandey has written an opinion piece for the Hindustan Times about the latest controversy over GM mustard in India. DMH 11 (Dhara Mustard Hybrid) was recently approved by the country’s biotechnology regulator for commercial release. But the article lists some potential concerns with this development, including the accuracy of claims about…

Video: Dominic Glover on agricultural biotech and smallholder farmers

STEPS member Dominic Glover spoke yesterday at the FAO’s International Symposium on “The Role of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition”. Dominic’s presentation focused on the need to ensure that agricultural biotechnology policies benefit smallholders. You can watch his presentation on the FAO website (skip to 2 hours and 7 minutes in).

GM report: Some nice recommendations, shame about the spin

The UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology has today released its long-awaited report on ‘Advanced genetic techniques for crop improvement: regulation, risk and precaution’. The ESRC STEPS Centre welcomes the moves made by the Committee – as reflected in the report title – to somewhat broaden out the original narrow terms of the…

Innovation choices in the face of uncertainty

Professor Andy Stirling writes chapter accompanying the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser’s inaugural report Sir Mark Walport recently launched his first ever annual report as UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Innovation: Managing risk not avoiding it. The accompanying evidence and case studies includes a chapter written by Professor Andy Stirling, Co-Director of the ESRC-funded STEPS Centre,…

Genetically modified rice plants

GM Food and the precautionary principle

“Precaution does not necessarily mean a ban. It simply urges that time and space be found to get things right.” Professor Andy Stirling, writing in the Guardian Overview The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee is carrying out an inquiry into genetically modified (GM) foods and the way in which these are regulated in Europe…

GM Crops: Continuing controversy

By Ian Scoones, STEPS Centre Director In 2002, the international press was full of headlines such as ‘Starving Zimbabwe Shuns GM Maize’. This was repeated again in 2010. The context was the refusal to import whole-grain GM maize from South Africa, as regulatory approval had not been granted, and there were fears that the food…

Good & evil: two articles on closing down the debate on GM crops

Is it right to call opponents of GM crops ‘wicked’? In a recent interview, Owen Paterson denounced in starkly moralistic language people whom he sees as holding up progress on Golden Rice and other genetically modified foods. In a piece for the Guardian’s Political Science blog, Andy Stirling argues in defence of scepticism and democracy…