The Sarpo Mira potato is a public domain blight-resistant variety which is part of the ongoing breeding project in which farmers are always engaged. It was developed by Ireland’s Sarvari Trust. Britain’s BBSRC, a government body, handed out over 750K pounds of taxpayer money to a corporate laboratory to steal this potato and engineer it with additional traits pirated from other public domain varieties. They’re calling the result some kind of great technological achievement, but in fact the genetic engineering process accomplished nothing which conventional breeding can’t accomplish better and at far less cost. This is assuming the crop works at all and doesn’t suffer from the inherent weaknesses common to GMOs, and isn’t toxic the way GMOs often are.
This is standard in GMO development. In almost every case, the cartel rips off an existing public domain variety and modifies it to be resistant to herbicides or to ooze its own pesticide. That’s all GMOs are – perfectly good regular crops pirated and turned into poisons.
This is especially true in the case of alleged special trait GMOs like “drought-resistant GMOs”. These too are invariably pre-existing drought-resistant varieties stolen and modified to be poisonous.
Meanwhile there’s no special funding for the potato’s real innovators to work on the resistance traits, since in a system dominated by corporations, money goes almost exclusively to projects whose only goal is to further corporate imperatives of profit, enclosure, control, and domination. That’s why the system expends vast amounts of public money to develop a dubious, shoddy product when we could have a better product at far less cost.
This perfectly describes the entire GMO project. GMOs are a crappy product and serve no agricultural or social purpose whatsoever. By every measure non-GM conventional agriculture is superior, and organic agriculture is vastly superior. The only exception to this rule is that GMOs are the weapon by which a handful of corporations and governments seek total domination over food and agriculture, and from there over broad swaths of the economy and politics.