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April 29, 2000


nuclear power plants and substantial equivalence


- http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com

Dear Colleagues,
The discussion is turning to sociology and ethnology: that’s not a bad idea.
Let me then add some comment on various messages

a) We are not in the same position as our colleagues in nuclear physics, for
at least two reasons: military objectives and secrecy and state owned or
supported industry are not involved. As long as large companies (Novartis –
Monsanto – Aventis etc … ) are willing to play openly and with goodwill
there is a chance of success. The recent move of Pharmacia-Monsanto to make
available its rice genome data is a good example but only a beginning, we
all want to see more.
b) Ann Oaks made an interesting comment which I have heard many time but to
which the scientific establishment and the company managers have not given
any answer: how could you convince ordinary people that the substantial
equivalence argument is OK and in the same time be claiming patents on
genes? To answer that question need more than dogmatic sentences about the
intellectual property rights (nobody believe in it when it came from a big
player). We should remember that the old UPOV rules were protecting a
product (and not a process) and that the right to use registered biological
objects (plants or animal) was granted with no right to financial
compensation. This system was perfectly adapted to the agricultural system:
for many of us (strong proponents of the use of GMO) the opinion is that we
should go back to it in some way.

That’s all folks, best regards

Jean-Pierre Zryd
Institut d'Ecologie de l'Université de Lausanne
CH 1015 LAUSANNE (Suisse - Switzerland)
Tél ++4121-6924251; Fax ++41216924255