>> Okay, Okay! lets deal with this head on. If I am smart and
>> organized enough to come up with superior varieties, what is
>> wrong with my protecting them from people who would steal
>> them? Don't I have a right to earn a living?
> Yes, it is good to deal with this issue head on. What do you
> mean, steal them? You took the varieties from the public pool,
> didn't you? Once you release your breeding results, they're
> back to the public pool, and the public is entitled to use them.
> That's what all farmers have been doing. Earning a living has
> nothing to do with stealing from the public pool.
Breeders take publicly available genetic resources and use them as raw
material to breed improved varieties. They do this by sexually recombining
existing varieties, often adding in exotic breeding material from public
collections. Hidden diversity is made manifest by crossing and selfing.
Finding the few genetic combinations that are truly better than existing
varieties is very difficult and expensive.
Imagine dealing out hands of cards, but instead of a deck of 52, using a
deck of 52,000. So you deal out (with replacement), say, 20,000 hands, each
with thousands of cards. only a very, very few of these are winning hands.
Each hand is analogous to a line produced by selfing the progeny of a cross.
You cannot just LOOK at the hand, you have to grow plots of each one and
compare its yield (and other agronomic properties) to existing varieties to
see if it is a winner. This is done at hundreds of locations around the
world to gain enough confidence in the comparisons, and determine
adaptation. This is a lot of work, and it is possible to steal a variety.
So the varieties we come up with are truly new, not stolen from the public
pool. The resources, the raw material, is still there. Do you want some of
these varieties? you can get them from the USDA:
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