In this article we will discuss about the use of plant genetic resources.
Biotechnology can make major contributions, not only to crop improvement, but also to the conservation and use of plant genetic resources.
The emphasis at sessions of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources has been on the potential of biotechnology to contribute to increasing food production, to promote sustainable agriculture, to promote the conservation of plant genetic resources and biodiversity, and to effect free exchange of scientific information and plant genetic resources.
Consequently, the Commission agreed to the need for a Code of Conduct to address:
(i) The promotion of sustainable use of biotechnology in the conservation and use of plant genetic resources;
(ii) The promotion of access to plant genetic resources;
(iii) The promotion of biosafety to minimise environmental risks throughout the world; and
(iv) The equitable sharing of the benefits of biotechnology between the owners of the technology and the donors of the germplasm.
A draft international code of conduct for plant biotechnology was submitted to the fifth session of the Commission in April 1993. This session also recommended actions to maximise positive effects and minimise possible negative effects of biotechnology, including action by governments to establish national research programs in appropriate biotechnologies.
Appropriate technologies were defined as being ‘technically feasible, bringing tangible benefits to the users’ while being ‘environmentally safe, socio-economically and culturally acceptable’.
The impact of biotechnology on crop improvement has been extensive, and its potential influence on the process of conservation of plant genetic resources and biodiversity is profound. The relationship between plant biotechnology and the conservation of genetic resources is a reciprocal one.
Biotechnology offers many novel techniques that will help maximise efforts to conserve genetic resources, while the conservation of genetic resources is vital for future research and development of biotechnologies. The world’s genetic resources are the raw materials, not only for plant breeders, but also for developing biotechnology industries.