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Biotech strengthening links with business

In the Irish Examiner (Friday, Aug 3), Dr Oliver Moore, in his article Digging Deep for Answers, quotes Teagasc’s head of crop research, John Spink, as saying that Teagasc’s GM research programme “has no links with any biotech industry and this study is not about developing GM potatoes for commercialisation”.

Which biotech companies have no links with any of the 21 other participants in the OMEGA project? One well-known university in Europe gets millions of euro annually from corporate sources. Whatever about commercialisation, there is a bundle of patents on that GM potato A15-031, and many of the patent holders are scientists — and many of them are based in the same university.

It is getting harder by the day to disconnect biotech academic research from commercial interests, and the links between those two are getting stronger and stronger. Reading Mr Spink’s comment, I wonder how this development has escaped his attention.

Richard Auler



Co Tipperary


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