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AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS
RESEARCHER STUDIES THE ECONOMICS OF PATENTS
A U.S. Supreme Court decision in December 2001 strengthened intellectual property rights for plant research. The court held that plant seeds and plants themselves, whether traditionally bred or genetically engineered, are patentable under U.S. law. This decision is expected to have important consequences for the seed industry and farmers. GianCarlo Moschini, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Chair in Science and Technology Policy at the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), analyzes the benefits and costs of patents in two recent papers. Patents do not allow farmers to save seed from harvest, nor can patented varieties be used legally by researchers to develop new crop varieties. While patents generally stimulate innovations that otherwise would not take place, the fact that they grant exclusive rights on exploitation of a new product or process can adversely affect the efficient use of new knowledge after it is generated. To learn more about the economics of patents, see CARD Series papers 01-WP 275 and 02-WP 293, available on the Web at
. Contact Moschini, (515) 294-5761, after April 20; or Sandy Clarke, CARD Communications, (515) 294-6257.
ISU RESEARCH FARM EXAMINES EGGSHELLS AS A LIME SOURCE
What can you do with six tons of eggshells? That's a question researchers at Iowa State University's Northern Research and Demonstration Farm near Kanawha hope to answer with an experiment that evaluates eggshells as a liming source. Dave Rueber, farm superintendent, and John Holmes, ISU Extension crops field specialist, recently applied six tons of eggshells to 25 plots using five different liming rates. During the next six growing seasons those plots will be compared to 25 plots that received applications of an equivalent rate of ag lime. The crushed shells are a byproduct of egg-breaking plants in Iowa. The plants raise laying hens and ship out yolks and whites to buyers by tanker. The goal of the experiment is to provide better recommendations to farmers who want to use the eggshells as an alternative to lime. Contact Dave Rueber, (641) 762-3247; Holmes, (515) 532-3453; or Barb McManus, Ag Communications, (515) 294-0707.
ISU EXTENSION PROJECT STUDIES VITAMIN B IN PIG DIET
Does a diet rich in B vitamins help improve pig performance? One Iowa State University Extension swine field specialist is hoping that a current study will help provide the answer. Larry McMullen, Jones County Extension, developed the project to demonstrate whether the feeding of supplemental B-vitamins (Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin and B12) would increase the grow-finish performance of high-lean gain pigs. For two trials, both including control and test groups, the project features a B-vitamin supplement at 500 percent the level recommended by the National Research Council for grow-finish pigs. The following evaluation measures will be compared between the treatment groups: total gain and average daily gain, feed efficiency, feed cost per pound of gain, scanning data (percent lean and lean gain per day) and Excel kill sheet analysis (yield, percent lean, fat and loin depth, matrix index, etc.). The first trial is ending now, and McMullen anticipates total project data to be available in the fall. The project is conducted in cooperation with staff and students at the Kirkwood Community College swine unit in Cedar Rapids. Contact McMullen, (319) 462-2791, or Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center communications, (515) 294-4496.
INTERNATIONAL PIG VETERINARY CONGRESS AT ISU, JUNE 2-5
"Consolidation of the swine industry requires a worldwide knowledge base about disease, production, environmental and consumer issues for profitable pork production," says Hank Harris, professor of microbiology and veterinary diagnostics and production animal medicine at ISU. Harris is president of the International Pig Veterinary Society (IPVS), which will convene its 17th congress at the ISU Center in Ames, June 2-5. Approximately 2,000 veterinarians, producers, animal scientists and others involved in the swine industry in 50 countries will attend. In addition to scientific presentations and research posters on pig health, production/management and consumer/environmental issues, the program will feature 18 invited speakers recognized internationally for their fundamental and applied contributions to veterinary medicine and pork production. This year's theme, 'Global Technology for Health Assurance,' is especially timely, Harris said. "The past two years have alerted us to new food safety, product quality and bioterrorism concerns." Co-hosts for the 17th IPVS Congress are Iowa State's College of Veterinary Medicine, the National Pork Board and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. For more information, visit the IPVS Web site at
, or call Dr. Tom Burkgren, congress secretary, (515) 465-5255. Contact Hank Harris, (515) 294-1664, or Teddi Barron, ISU News Service, (515) 294-4778.
MONSANTO FELLOWSHIPS LAUNCH PLANT SCIENCE RESEARCHERS
Two promising graduate students in plant genetics at Iowa State are recipients of Monsanto Diversity Graduate Research Fellowships. Tyrell Carr and Latrice Swain study with researchers affiliated with the Plant Sciences Institute. Swain earned her bachelor's degree in environmental science from Alabama A & M University and conducts research in the lab of Paul Scott, a USDA collaborator in agronomy. Her research involves characterizing the inheritance of transgenes in corn, specifically the 1Dx5 gene from wheat. Carr is investigating plant viruses with Steve Whitham, assistant professor of plant pathology. He graduated from Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina with a bachelor's degree in biology with concentrations in cellular biology and biotechnology. His research focuses on understanding how plant cells change when viruses infect them. Monsanto established the one-year fellowships to help outstanding minority students develop research careers in the plant sciences. Contact Scott, (515) 294-7825; Whitham, (515) 294-4952; or Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778. Note to editors: A downloadable, print-quality photo of Monsanto Fellow Tyrell Carr and ISU plant pathologist Steve Whitham is available at
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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