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 39: Canola

Derek Brewin and Stavroula Malla


The introduction of biotechnology and intellectual property rights (IPRs) has completely transformed the canola sector in Canada. Currently, private firms dominate in the research investment and control most of the research output both in terms of new varieties and proprietary technology. In the 1970s, most agricultural research was a result of public investment and research output was a public good. The modification of rapeseed into canola and open pollinated canola into herbicide-resistant and hybrid canola through biotechnology was an agronomic revolution. The changes in this crop led to an area increase from less than 1 million hectares (ha) in 1969 to over 7.5 million ha in 2011; from less than 5 per cent of crop land in Canada to over 30 per cent. Canola revenues are forecasted to be over C$5.5 billion in 2012 (AAFC, 2011). While initial public sector research was a vital first step, the role of biotechnology was pivotal in creating herbicide-tolerant (HT) varieties which then facilitated the mass production of hybrid varieties. Together, patentable HT technology and hybrid seed sales fostered a boom in private canola variety development. Oil pressed from rapeseed has been used for lamps and stoves in Asia and Europe for centuries. This oil was also a valuable lubricant in steam engines in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The first major planting of rapeseed in Canada was for use in these steam engines during World War II (Casséus, 2008).

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