Europe £IT) Region
Figure 13-4. Regional status of GM crops in developing countries Source: FAO-BioDec (2003).
Near East high in Latin America, its magnitude is lower in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Not surprisingly, insect pest and pathogen resistance is high on Asia and Latin America's research agendas as well as product quality traits, with Asia leading in numbers. Asia is also leading in the amount of GM crop research for abiotic stresses. In Eastern European countries in transition, research on product quality is highest; whereas tolerance to abiotic stress and herbicide research is comparatively lower (Fig. 13-5).
Cohen et al. (2003) reported that the genes used are mainly "off the shelf," i.e., genes or genetic elements that are already available in commercial products, or that are the property of public research institutes and universities. These are not locally isolated genes, some already being developed by developing countries public sector institutes. Surprisingly, the number of successful projects involving public and private sectors is very low. National work includes many exciting developments, e.g., Chinese public sector researchers isolated 20 new Bt genes, Malaysian researchers isolated a tissue-specific promoter for rubber, Egypgian researchers at the Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute (AGERI) collaborated with Pioneer Hybrid to isolate four corn promoters, and the Egyptian researchers also developed new transformation protocols and regeneration systems for wheat (Cohen et al., 2003). Except for China, no public sector product is close to commercialization. Closest is Egypt with squash and potato, whereas South Africa's GM sugarcane and potato are three to four years away (Cohen et al., 2003).
Insect Pest Resistance
Tolerance to Abiotic Stresses v Traits Multiple Traits
Figure 13-5. Regional distribution of trait groups being researched for GM crops in the pipeline
Source: FAO-BioDec (2003).
As described above, a diverse range of traits and crops are being studied in developing countries. These include staple food such as rice, banana and plantain, fruit crops such as mango and papaya, and tropical industrial crops such as palm oil and coconut. The traits engineered are abiotic stress tolerance such as for drought, salinity, freezing, and aluminum toxicity, important for marginal and small holder farmers (Table 13-2).
Table 13-2. Some examples of GM crops in the pipeline with traits important for developing country/resource-poor farmers
China, India, Philippines Egypt
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam
Malaysia and Indonesia
South Africa Zimbabwe
Squash and melon
Mustard Ground nut Papaya
Rice Palm oil Corn
Bananas and plantains
Baking quality (high molecular weight gluten)
Golden mosaic virus resistance
Resistance to bacterial blight Drought tolerance Salinity tolerance
Zucchini yellow mosaic virus resistance
Insect resistance (black diamond moth)
High protein with gene Amal from
High vitamin A
Papaya ringspot virus resistance
Tungro virus resistance Modified oil composition Aluminum tolerance
Virus resistance (banana bunchy top virus, banana bract mosaic virus) Improved fatty acid content Delay ripening
Resistance to papaya ringspot virus Drought tolerance Salinity tolerance Drought and heat tolerance Cowpea mosaic virus Insect resistance
Sources: FAO-BioDeC (2003) and Next Harvest© databases.
Black Spruce, tamarack, white
Disease tolerance, insect
Was this article helpful?