Nigel Taylor, Lawrence Kent, and Claude Fauquet
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St Louis
The production of genetically modified cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) plants is routine in the advanced laboratories that invested in this technology during the 1990s. The ultimate aim of those engaged in cassava biotechnology is to develop and deliver improved planting materials to farmers in the tropical regions. Transgenic plants are now being produced that express traits with potential agronomic importance. Although good science will remain an essential basis for this goal, if farmers are to benefit from this investment, it is essential that researchers and others involved in these programs adopt a mindset geared towards product development and delivery. The first field trials of cassava are now under way. This paper examines the major challenges facing public sector research organizations engaged in the transgenic improvement of cassava.
Key words: Cassava, field trial, intellectual property, product development, transgenic.