Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Somehow I missed the September Nature Biotechnology until now. First of all, Jefferey L. Fox, Resistance to Bt toxin surprisingly absent from pests:
Defying the expectations of scientists monitoring transgenic crops such as corn and cotton that produce insecticidal proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), target insect pests have developed little or no resistance to Bt crops thus far, according to US Department of Agriculture-funded scientists. These findings suggest that transgenic Bt crops could enjoy more extended, more profitable commercial life cycles and that the measures established to mitigate resistance before the crops were introduced are paying off.
And the EPA reassesses Bt -- it's still safe.

Barnyard biotech´┐Żlame duck or golden goose? by Kendall Powell discusses the state of drug production in "transgenic animal systems";

David McElroy tries to drum up VC funding for agbiotech (he suggests "altering tax structures" i.e., giving your tax money to venture capitalists).

Graff et al. survey the public/private structure of agbiotech IP:

Internationally, the public sector has generated 24% of the IP in agricultural biotechnology (ranging from 14% among Japanese patents to 33% among PCT filings). The largest public-sector patent holders are the University of California system and the USDA, with 1.7% and 1.2%, respectively. The private sector accounts for 74% of the IP in this sector, much of it aggregated into a few very large IP portfolios at major corporations, the top five of which control 41% in the United States. This percentage is likely to be an underestimate, as a portion of the public-sector portfolio has also been licensed to companies in the private sector. The rest of the private sector, including independent biotechnology startups, holds 33% of agricultural biotechnology IP.

update: funny, the October issue, devoted to nanobiotech, came out today. Vicki L. Colvin surveys "The potential environmental impact of engineered nanomaterials."

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