Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development
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Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle

This book is a compendium of knowledge, experience and insight on agriculture, biotechnology and development. Beginning with an account of GM crop adoptions and attitudes towards them, the book assesses numerous crucial processes, concluding with detailed insights into GM products. Drawing on expert perspectives of leading authors from 57 different institutions in 16 countries, it provides a unique, global overview of agbiotech following 20 years of adoption. Many consider GM crops the most rapid agricultural innovation adopted in the history of agriculture. This book provides insights as to why the adoption has occurred globally at such a rapid rate.
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Chapter 8: China

Valerie J. Karplus


Over the past three decades, China has emerged as a leader in crop biotechnology innovation. China's strong, public-led research enterprise is by many measures the largest outside North America (Chen, 2006; Karplus and Deng, 2008). Guided by central government emphasis on balanced economic development, state-sponsored research is in large part focused on challenges of national food security and improving the livelihoods of the country's smallholder farmers. Outlays of resources and support for education and training in crop biotechnology have increased in lock-step with public funding since the early years of China's reform and opening in the late 1970s. The result has been the successful generation of thousands of transgenic varieties spanning crops as diverse as rice, maize, potato, cotton, sweet potato and eggplant. While the number of transgenic varieties under development in laboratories and field trials has grown over the past two decades, biosafety approvals and commercial planting have proceeded more slowly. Advances in the laboratory and field trial stages have in many cases not yet achieved success on a commercial scale. In the wake of global anti-transgenic sentiments in the early 2000s, regulatory approvals in China slowed to a standstill, before resuming again in late 2009. Several major crops have received approval since then, including varieties of transgenic rice and maize (Waltz, 2010). Biosafety approval does not, however, guarantee successful commercial application.

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