IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this book chapter

Plant Biotechnology for Developing Countries


  • Herdt, Robert
  • Toenniessen, Gary
  • O'Toole, John


This paper reviews the tools applied in plant biotechnology and explores the prospects for biotechnology to generate benefits for developing countries. Possible near-term applications are identified. Needed capability in biological research, intellectual property management and biosafety are outlined. The experience of the Rockefeller Foundation in helping to build capacity to use the tools in developing countries is described. Plant biotechnology includes four primary sets of techniques that enhance the capacity of scientists to modify the genetic composition of plants - plant tissue culture, marker assisted breeding, genomics and genetic engineering. These complement other techniques that have long been used by plant breeders and before them farmers to develop crop varieties. Genetic engineering has attracted critical attention because it enables the transfer and functioning of DNA from one species to another, even from bacteria or animals to plants; and although most biological scientists hold there is no significance to the origin of DNA, this possibility has embroiled biotechnology in controversy. The concentration of variety development, seed production and seed sales in less than half a dozen multinational companies, another development that critics find troubling, is an important consequence of extending patenting to plants.

Suggested Citation

  • Herdt, Robert & Toenniessen, Gary & O'Toole, John, 2007. "Plant Biotechnology for Developing Countries," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Elsevier.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hagchp:5-50

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Farmers; Farm Production and Farm Markets;

    JEL classification:

    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:hagchp:5-50. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.