Humans face the challenge of producing enough food to meet the demands imposed by economic, biological and agricultural factors: rising population; rising income; and an expectation of higher quality food and a more diverse diet; decreasing amount of land available for food production; lowering environmental impact of agricultural practices and preserving biodiversity.
Biotechnology is one of the most exciting and dynamic industries of our day. It offers us the possibility of reducing our dependence on intensive farming. Plant biotechnology is central to the search for effective, environmentally safe and economically sound alternatives to the use of chemical pesticides and the exhaustion of natural resources. Today, applied plant science has four overall goals: increased crop yield, improved crop quality, reducing production costs and reducing negative environmental impact. Biotechnology is proving its value in meeting these goals. It offers farmers higher yielding crops with lower costs of production and new outlets such as nutraceuticals and crop-based bio-factories. It offers the European economy the potential of high quality, knowledge based job creation and the European consumer better quality, tastier and more nutritious food.
Though there is public concern of genetic engineering, those who are close to the science understand that this is the next big frontier to be crossed. The potential and opportunities offered by plant biotechnology must not be missed. We must go forward on that basis rather than turning our backs on the science.
Phytosfere'99 provides a comprehensive overview for plant biotechnology. It combines specific scientific articles, review articles and comments from outside people on it, which is unique in European Literature.
Phytosfere'99 - Highlights in European Plant Biotechnology Research and Technology Transfer, 1st Edition
Preface. Section I Introduction.
Prof. Paolo Fasella (1930-1999). The European Plant Biotechnology Network and Phytosfere '99 (Owen P. E. Doyle). AMICA, supporting the development of plant biotechnology in Europe (Karin Metzlaff). Technology transfer support by the Plant Industrial Platform (Gert E. de Vries). Section II Opportunities And Challenges Of European Plant Biotechnology.
Why do we need genetically modified plants? (Sylvia Burssens, Marc Van Montagu). Science and agriculture in the 21st century (Jeff Schell). Opportunities and challenges of EU plant biotechnology (Etienne Magnien).
The forgotten area of plant biotechnology (Steve Bowra et al.). Biotechnology, food, agriculture, public policy and consumer concerns (Beatrix Tappeser).
U.S. biotechnology regulatory system. An industry view (Terry L. Medley). Section III Control Of Genes.
The cluster: "Control Of Genes" (Bernd Reiss). The molecular genetics of homologous recombination in plants (Tesfaye Mengiste, Jerzy Paszkowski). Developments in plastid transformation (Phil J. Dix). Post-transcriptional gene silencing in plants: Pain or delight in transgene research? (Michael Metzlaff). Comments from the session rapporteur (Karin Hollricher). Section IV Mapping Gene Location.
The cluster: "Gene Location Mapping Cluster" (Michel Delseny). Function maps of potato (Christiane Gebhardt et al.). Novel traits for cereal biotechnology - Positional cloning revisited (Donal M. O' Sullivan, Keith J. Edwards). Insertional mutagenesis of the Arabidopsis genome (Elly Speulman, Andy Pereira). Comments from the session rapporteur (Helen Gavaghan). Section V Controlling Development and Architecture.
The cluster: "Controlling Developmental Processes And Architecture" (Chris Bowler). The European Plant Embryogenesis Network (EPEN) (Sacco de Vries). Molecular analysis of flowering time and vernalization response in Arabidopsis, a minireview (Caroline Dean et al.). Modification of plant development by genetic manipulation of the ethylene biosynthesis and action pathway (Domenico De Martinis). Molecular aspects of the strawberry fruit softening (Livio Trainotti et al.). Signals and their transduction in early plant embryogenesis (Sacco de Vries). Mutational studies of root architecture in Arabidopsis thaliana (Malcolm J. Bennett). Section VI Response To Challenges Of The Environment.
The cluster: "Responses To Challenges Of The Environment" (Carmen Castresana). Concerted efforts to develop handles for plant parasitic nematode control (Godelieve Gheysen et al.). Isolation and application of nematode induced promoters, genes and proteins from Arabidopsis thaliana (P.S. Puzio, F.M.W. Grundler). Cis-elements in nematode-responsive promoters (S. Sanz-Alférez et al.). Virus resistance models in a EU crop plant, Pisum sativum(Andrew Maule). Generation of 13k-gene sugar beet transformants and evaluation of their resistance to BNYVV infection (Kriton Kalantidis et al.). Phytotoxic activity of Mycosphaerella graminicola culture filtrates (G. Perrone et al.). Helping plants to defend themselves: biocontrol by disease-suppressing Rhizobacteria (L.C. van Loon). CO2 exchange of potato transformants with reduced activities of glycine decarboxylase (Olav Keerberg et al.). Comments from the session rapporteur (Marianne Heselmans). Section VII Uncovering Metabolic Pathways.
The cluster: "Uncovering Metabolic Pathways" (Christian Bachem). Improving fertiliser use efficiency in agro-ecosystems and nutrient efficiency in plants (Nicolaus von Wirén et al.). A European approach towards phosphate efficient plants (Babette Regierer et al.). Remodelling pectin structure in potato (Jean-Paul Vincken et al.). Toward the identification of the genes for the synthesis of condensed tannins in forage legumes (F. Damiani et al.). Section VIII Entrepreneurship In Plant Science.
An overview of important market and technology transfer issues for commercialising academic plant biotechnology (Gwilym Williams). Author Index.