GENET archive


2-Plants: DuPont supports GE sorghum project funded by Gates Foundation

                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  DuPont donates technology valued at $4.8 million to Africa
        nutritionally enhanced sorghum project
SOURCE: Pioneer Hi-Bred International, USA, sent by Checkbiotech, Switzerland
DATE:   1 Jul 2005

------------------- archive: -------------------

DuPont donates technology valued at $4.8 million to Africa nutritionally
enhanced sorghum project

We are very pleased that Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International
has been selected for a grant of $16.9 million for the project,
Nutritionally Enhanced Sorghum for the Arid and Semi-Arid Tropical Areas
of Africa, by the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative.

"Partnering with Africa Harvest, we are excited to be the scientific lead
on this project and will donate the initial technology valued at $4.8
million," stated Dean Oestreich, president, Pioneer Hi-Bred
International, Inc. "This project promises to help improve the
nutritional value of sorghum and fight malnutrition in parts of Africa."

The $4.8 million in-kind donation represents the intellectual property
rights, materials and know-how for creating sorghum with improved
nutritional value for human consumption. The initial donation is a
transgenic biofortified sorghum that contains 50 percent more lysine
compared to traditional sorghum. Lysine is an amino acid and a key
component of protein.

DuPont, through its subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred, will also host scientists
from Africa at its headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, beginning Fall 2005.
The visiting scientists will develop the next generation of African
biofortified sorghum (ABS) and learn about key technologies, which is
expertise that they will further develop when they return to their home
countries. In developing the next generation of ABS, scientists will
explore the inclusion of a highly fortified product with improved
essential amino acid composition, protein and starch digestibility, iron
and zinc availability, and elevated levels of select vitamins, including
Vitamin E.

"Today marks the beginning of an innovative approach toward addressing
tragic malnutrition issues in areas of Africa," Oestreich said. "Our
scientists are anxious to work with the African scientists on this
project to explore the potential of sorghum through this unique
opportunity provided by the Grand Challenges initiative. We fully
appreciate the opportunity that the initiative has provided."

For additional information, visit Grand Challenges in Global Heath,

DuPont is a science company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work
by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier
life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont
offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets
including agriculture, nutrition, electronics, communications, safety and
protection, home and construction, transportation and apparel.

Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., a subsidiary of DuPont, is the
world's leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock
producers, and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des
Moines, Iowa, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics, crop
protection solutions, and quality crop systems to customers.

Contact Stephanie Jacobson
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  African scientists plan GMO super sorghum
SOURCE: Reuters South Africa, by Alistair Thomson
        sent by Checkbiotech, Switzerland
DATE:   5 Jul 2005

------------------- archive: -------------------

African scientists plan GMO super sorghum

JOHANNESBURG - African scientists are developing a genetically modified
(GMO) super strain of the staple grain sorghum that they say will be
vitamin-packed to help fight malnutrition.

The project brings together several African research institutions as well
as a unit of U.S. Dupont, South Africa's Council for Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR) said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The primary objective of the project is to produce seeds of
nutritionally improved cultivars of sorghum, appropriate for planting,
which African small-scale farmers can source on a licence-free basis,"
CSIR plant biotechnologist Blessed Okole said in the statement.

Development of the new sorghum will be carried out primarily by Dupont
subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International, the University of Missouri-
Columbia in the United States and by South Africa's CSIR.

Sorghum is a hardy grain that thrives in the semi-arid conditions that
often prove too harsh for non-indigenous crops such as maize, which has
replaced sorghum as the staple in many parts of Africa since it was
introduced by European colonists.

But natural sorghum does not contain enough nutrients on its own, and
adults and children whose diet is primarily based on sorghum can develop
a form of hunger called micronutrient malnutrition, CSIR said.

Super sorghum will have higher levels of pro-vitamin A and E, iron, zinc
as well as essential amino acids, CSIR said.

Biotech crops have sparked controversy in Africa, where some countries,
despite having trouble growing enough food, have refused GMO food aid or
insisted it be milled before distribution to avoid contamination of local
seed stocks.

Anti-GMO activists say so-called Frankenstein foods risk destabilising
the environment and food production, for example by creating super-weeds,
or might damage those who eat them via unknown side-effects.

GMO producers -- including several in South Africa, which has pioneered
GMO research in Africa -- counter that more productive crop strains
better able to cope with climatic extremes will help ensure fewer people
go hungry in the poorest continent.


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
In den Steinäckern 13
D - 38116 Braunschweig

P: +49-531-5168746
F: +49-531-5168747
M: +49-162-1054755
E: coordination(*)
W: <>

   GENET-news mailing list