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Challenges for Agricultural Research

image of Challenges for Agricultural Research

As the world has changed during the past 50 years, so has agriculture. And so has agricultural research, which continues to confront new challenges, from food security to ecological concerns to land use issues. Indeed, as Guy Paillotin, the former president of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) has noted, agricultural research “has reached new heights in biology and is exploring other disciplines. It is forever changing, as are the needs of the society”.

The changing challenges faced by agricultural research were examined in depth at a conference organised by the OECD’s Co-operative Research Programme on Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, together with the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Agriculture. Participants came from all agricultural sectors and included farmers, industry, scientists and decision makers, as well as other stake holders.

This publication presents the twenty papers delivered at the conference. They highlight recent major progress in agricultural research outcomes and address the challenges that lie ahead.

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Animal Cloning and Transgenesis

Two techniques, cloning and transgenesis, offer new possibilities to improve the exploitation of farm animal genomes. Cloning is a way to generate genitors having the same genome as that of their genetic parents. This allows the prolonged use of genitors having a high value genome validated by the properties of their offspring born after sexual reproduction. Transgenesis is a way to introduce known new traits into genitors in only one generation. This implies foreign gene addition to a genome or specific inactivation of endogenous genes. Among the current projects are the generation and the study of animals having resistance to diseases, accelerated growth, improved milk or meat composition, milk containing anti-pathogen proteins or reducing pollution. Cloning and transgenesis are thus opposite but complementary techniques.

English

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