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World’s richest men aid ‘Green Revolution’ center

February 15, 2013

World’s richest men aid ‘Green Revolution’ center

The research center largely responsible for launching the “Green Revolution” of the 1960s that dramatically raised crop yields is getting support from the world’s richest men to develop genetically-modified seeds to help farmers in the developing world grow more grain in the face of changing climatic conditions and increased demand.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim donated a total of $25 million to build a new cluster of biotechnology labs at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico.

It was yet another coming of age moment for GM crops, because the nonprofit CIMMYT has become known over the last 50 years for providing low-cost, improved seeds through hybridization efforts, using its vast stockpiles of native corn and wheat genes from across the world to cross-breed the best attributes, like drought-resistance.

While CIMMYT Director Thomas Lumpkin claimed that even hybridization represents a sort of genetic modification by selective planting and breeding, he noted that CIMMYT hasn’t shipped any true GM seeds yet, and acknowledged that some countries might have concerns. “We want to facilitate the movement of those (genetic) traits to the countries of the developing world that request them, that want them. Nothing is being pushed, nothing is being forced, and CIMMYT will not profit,” says Lumpkin

Read more at Jakarta Post.

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