A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Interested in GIS?
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Posted 7:32 PM by Luigi
Confusion Grows Over Taro Patent
Julia Norton-Dennis - firstname.lastname@example.org (KGMB9 Radio)
Taro, is not just a sacred native Hawaiian plant. It's a Hawaiian ancestor.
"The main reason why we're here is to protect our kupuna," said Noe Goodyear-Kaopua, who works at H?lau K? M?na Public Charter School.
"One of our first kupuna being Haloa, so that's the kalo, the kalo is the elder sibling of Hawaiian people," she added.
But, the Hawaiians believe their ancestor is being threatened by modern science.
The University of Hawai'i's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources has been awarded a patent for a new breed of taro.
"So, we're drawing a line in the sand, and we're saying university you have crossed over that line. You are going no further," said Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte.
Hawaiians oppose any genetic modification of their native taro.
"I'm really against it," said Palala Harada, a student at Kanuikapono Public Charter School on Kaua'i, "because in our belief system, we believe that haloa is very sacred to us and that we should care for it as an elder rather than just a plant." "To us, there's a spirit that comes with all things Hawai'i or Hawaiian," Harada said.
And the Hawaiians built a rock alter on the lawn of Bachman Hall at the University of Hawai'i Saturday, to demonstrate their commitment to protect their ancestors, and their opposition to any genetic modification of their sacred plant.
There's some confusion over what the patent is for.
"We are not doing any work on genetically engineering the Hawaiian taros," said Andrew Hashimoto, Dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
The college says it simply combined two varieties of taro, a Hawaiian variety and a Palauan variety, and came up with a stronger plant that resists disease.
"The taro that was the result of this, after various trials, was demonstrated some degree of resistance and that was the concept that was patented," Hashimoto clarified.
When asked if the words "genetically modified" were in the patent, Hashimoto simply answered "no."
The college says it's all a misunderstanding -- one it's willing to discuss with native Hawaiians. "We've tried to inform them, but that perception seems to persist," Hashimoto said.
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