Seeds for economically important crops are big business indeed. As large seed companies continue to improve their product in various ways, they make use of the original gene pools of these plants, often located in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. With increasing recognition that plant germplasm is an important raw material, highly charged international disputes have developed over the exchange and use of this material, adding another point of contention between poor nations and the manufacturing wealthier ones.
Twenty experts from several nations, representing both the natural and social sciences, consider the historical background, the issue of patent rights as applied to plant germplasm, the nature of global genetic interdependence, the internationalization of the seed industry, the implications of biotechnology on genetic resources, the Third World attitude toward the debate, and the viewpoints of the International Agricultural Research Centers.
Abbreviations viii Preface: Plant Genetic Resources: The Common Bowl / Jack R. Kloppenburg Jr. and Daniel Lee Kleinman 1 I. Introduction 1. Genetic Resources: Evolutionary and Social Responsibilities / Otto H. Frankel 19 II. Historical Perspectives and the Contemporary Context 2. Plant Science and Colonial Expansion: The Botanical Chess Game / Lucile H. Brockway 49 3. Plant Genetic Resources Over Ten Thousand Years: From a Handful of Seed to the Crop-Specific Mega-Genebanks / H. Garrison Wilkes 67 4. Draining the Gene Pool: The Causes, Course, and Consequences of Genetic Erosion / Norman Myers 90 5. The Contribution of Exotic Germplasm to American Agriculture / Thomas S. Cox, J. Paul Murphy, and Major M. Goodman 114 6. New Technologies and the Enhancement of Plant Germplasm Diversity / Thomas J. Orton 145 III. Germplasm and Geopolitics 7. Seeds of Controversy: National Property versus Common Heritage / Jack R. Kloppenburg Jr. and Daniel Lee Kleinman 173 8. Institutional Responsibility of the National Plant Germplasm System / Charles F. Murphy 204 9. Plant Genetic Resources: A View from the Seed Industry / William L. Brown 218 10. Seeds and Property Rights: A View from the CGIAR System / M. S. Swaminathan 231 11. Equalizing the Flow: Institutional Restructuring of Germplasm Exchange / Robert Grossman 255 12. Crop Germplasm: Common Heritage or Farmers' Heritage? / David Wood 274 IV. Restructuring the Germplasm System 13. Property Rights and the Protection of Plant Genetic Resources / Roger A. Sedjo 293 14. Molecular Biology and the Protection of Germplasm: A Matter of National Security / Daniel J. Goldstein 315 15. Diversity Compensation Systems: Ways to Compensate Developing Nations for Providing Genetic Materials / John H. Barton and Eric Christensen 338 16. Seeds and Sovereignty: An Epilogue / Jack R. Harlan 356 Index 363