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Modern biotechnology is a new aspect of biological and agricultural science which provides new tools and strategies in the struggle against the world ' s food production problems. The techniques for improving agricultural output range from novel approaches to cell and tissue culture to the genetic manipulation of biological material. With strong support from the private sector, industrial countries have already invested heavily in testing these techniques and expect economically useful results by the turn of the century. In contrast, biotechnological research has barely begun in the developing countries. In the next ten years, many countries will have to prepare for, and accept, technological change if they are to apply some of the new techniques for crop, forest, and livestock production already adopted in other countries. The steps being taken have been outlined in a 1988-89 study, the findings and recommendations of which are the subject of this report. Preliminary findings are organized around the following topics : 1) the likely socioeconomic impact of biotechnology on world trade and economic development; 2) opportunities for the application of biotechnology in crops, forestry, and livestock production; 3) issues connected with managing intellectual property; 4) the need for risk assessment prior to release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment; and 5) opportunities for private/public sector cooperation.

Publisher: World Bank

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