Highlighted Selections from:

Genetics, Statistics, and Regulation at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, 1919-1969

Dominic, Berry J. Genetics, Statistics, and Regulation at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, 1919-1969. University of Leeds (2014) link

p.4: The National Institute of Agricultural Botany, founded in 1919 and still operating today f􏰀rom its sa􏰁e Ca􏰁􏰂􏰀mbridge head􏰃quar􏰀ter􏰀s, is o􏰄ne of B􏰀ritain􏰄􏰅s oldest ag􏰀ric􏰆ultu􏰀al s􏰆cienc􏰄􏰆e institutes. Using the extensive and hitherto unexamined archive materials held by NIAB, this thesis offers both a new history of the Institute from 1919 to 1969, and an analysis of that history in the light of wider historiographies of science. It is well known that state patronage of science in Britain entered a new phase towards the end of the nineteenth century. The number of national laboratories, organisations, and institutions dedicated to scientific work grew rapidly, as did the number of professional scientists. The agricultural sciences an􏰄d thei􏰀r i􏰄stitution􏰄􏰅s benefited as much, if not 􏰁mor􏰀e, fr􏰀om􏰁 the state􏰅s newfound interest in science, and yet hardly anything at all is known about them. This historiographical oversight is all the more troubling when one considers the changes that took place within British agriculture and the global food industry at this time. The thesis makes three important new points in particular. Firstly, that scientific regulatory bodies (often marginalized in preference for basic research centres) offer a valuable new perspective for historians interested in relations between science and the state. Secondly, that the techniques used during regulation and assessment (which draw upon the latest scientific developments and theories), can 􏰀rev􏰇eal a g􏰀eat deal a􏰂bout a􏰄n i􏰄stitution'􏰄􏰅s soc􏰆ial loc􏰆ation􏰄. Fi􏰄nally􏰈, app􏰀rec􏰆iating the perspective on variation and heredity held by agricultural scientists and plant breeders, one which will be shown to be quite different from more general biologists, offers solutions and problems for contemporary historiography on issues ranging from the impact of Mendelism on plant breeding to the history of plant patenting. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.12: Rivalled only by the likes of Rothamsted Experimental Station and the John Innes Centre in terms of longevity, NIAB has remained at its Cambridge headquarters since their completion in 1921. These headquarters have seen considerable expansion and contraction over the past 100 years, as have the number of different locations occupied by the institute across the UK, and the variety of academic and non-academic institutions with which it has collaborated. Sociologically the Institute also sits in some unique territory; a charitable organisation established with the intention of making a profit; a scientific institution with an emphasis on intervention in industry; an independent organisation initially established with private and public money, which was almost absorbed by the civil service but today has come to be run as a not-for-profit company. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.17: Fitzgerald has focussed on the emergence of an industrial ideal in US agriculture in the early twentieth century. There is a great deal in this analysis that can inform the history of NIAB, particularly the extent to which apparently scientific innovations depended on a whole host of other support systems (including social systems, such as banking and legislative change) before they could influence industry. Her chapters on quantification and mechanization have been particularly influential, the former with regard to its importance for state intervention (in the same sense described by Theodore Porter, and which James Scott has characterised as making societ􏰈y 􏰊'legi􏰂le'􏰅 to the state)􏰌 a􏰄nd the latter􏰀 􏰉with 􏰀rega􏰀rds to the p􏰀roc􏰆ess of professionalization in agricultural disciplines. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.19: Tilley offers a highly sophisticated historiographical tool for understanding the relationship between the knowledge of scientific experts and the knowledge maintained by the societies in which they work. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.19: Her account of colonial Africa in the interwar years quite rightly sets agricultural experts alongside those other experts (ecological, medical, social and anthropological) invested in the project of colonial development, in a way that helps situate the current thesis in the broadest possible discussions of science in the twentieth century. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.19: In a chapter dedicated to agriculture, Tilley i􏰄ntr􏰀odu􏰆ces the 􏰆conc􏰄􏰆ept of 􏰊􏰇'vernacular science' as a 􏰉way to characterise local or indigenous knowledge, without carrying over much of the analytical baggage of previous historical and sociological interpretations, which have often been too keen to romanticize such knowledge while caricaturing the dystopian visions pursued by arrogant colonial scientists. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.20: Numerous historians have charted the rise of increasing state patronage of science in non-agricultural industries (as they will stubbornly be referred to throughout this thesis) in Britain around the turn of the twentieth century. Whether supported 'public scientists', or for the advancement of colonial exploitation, as part of the communist or Fabian agenda, or motivated by concerns over national security, various heterogeneous groups sought for and secured increased national funding for science and technology, from which NIAB was but one beneficiary. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.24: Hei􏰁􏰅m's thesis is most useful when she analyses the slippery nature of the terms in which agricultural scientists can refer to the organic material of interest to them, particularly during times of military crisis. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014


The double, or triple, role assigned to plants, as research objects, raw materials, and strategic resources, allows scientists to move between these different areas. In wartime, they make use of political and military power (for example during an occupation) in order to gain access to interesting breeding material. At one moment, they legitimise this appropriation by appeals to national interests; at another, by concern for the common heritage of humanity, or by the unselfish striving of science for knowledge. No mention is 􏰁made of the r􏰀esearc􏰀􏰆her􏰀s'􏰅 i􏰄nte􏰀rest i􏰄n the pla􏰄nts o􏰀r seeds as 􏰂building blocks for thei􏰀r o􏰉􏰄wn c􏰆ar􏰀eer􏰀s. No􏰀r is any􏰄􏰈 m􏰁e􏰄ntion􏰄 􏰁made of the fa􏰆ct that, i􏰄n the 􏰊'food war', control of plant genetic resources could become an issue on which survival depended, i.e. a central issue for war strategy.

-- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.26: His 1988 monograph, First the Seed: The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology, has recently gone through its second edition, and remains central to the investigation and interpretation of plant breeding. Two key themes in his work have informed this historiography and in turn the present thesis; commodification and institutional divisions of labour. Commodification, a concept drawn from Marxist historical theory, is the process by which items that otherwise resist ownership assume the position of a commodity in the economy. Seeds (capable of generating more plants and more seeds) are difficult to own, and thus to extract profit from. Any number of different process might go into seed commodification, and their number will be added to in this thesis. It is a p􏰀roc􏰆ess 􏰆closely􏰈 align􏰄ed 􏰉with 􏰉what has 􏰂been􏰄 ter􏰀m􏰁ed 􏰊'appropriationism', in which parts of the extant agricultural industry are turned into industrially produced inputs, rather than being sourced from agricultural processes themselves. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.27: The se􏰆con􏰄d of the t􏰉wo ke􏰈y them􏰁es i􏰄n Kloppe􏰄􏰂nbur􏰀g'􏰅s 􏰉wo􏰀rk to be discussed here, his emphasis on institutional divisions of labour, is also linked to commodification and deskilling. Private enterprise attempts to bring about the correct division of labour between itself and the state, restricting the role of the state to only those tasks from which it is too difficult to extract capital. As with the majority of the authors above, the topic of public and private enterprise, and public and private patronage of science, features heavily in the present thesis. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.36: There remains a need for a "comprehensive and comparative picture of the ways in which the war took up and harnessed the full spectrum of the natural and social sciences – both in relation to the conduct of military operations, and in relation to the changing ethos and practices of production." -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.36: The growth in government sponsorship of research, as evidenced by the formation of bodies such as the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), founded in 1916, and the Medical Research Council (MRC) - whose earlier incarnation had been established in 1913, adn the MRC itself in 1919 - alongside more specialised bodie such as the Board of Invention and Research form a base on which to build. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.36: Lastly, the importance of communications technology for the state and the War effort, and the importance of this intellectual property for its inventors, has begun to receive much needed critical attention. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.37: Fertilizers can be understood as no more civilian, and perhaps no less militaristic, than shells and machine guns; the efforts of farmers on the home-front no less war making than soldiers on the front-line. This was precisely the kind of rhetoric relied upon by successive governments in the First and Second World Wars. It is a rhetoric that continues to benefit farming today, particularly in the public imagination, and which is echoed in that most recent academic-military-industrial conundrum 'food security'. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.41: More attention also has to be paid to crop rotation in case the seed of a different variety enter the stock, and much more time given over to removing rogues. As an example of this distinction in action, consider one seedsman's wartime complaint that "growers were imbued with the idea that the only patriotic thing to do was to grow foodstuffs. Farmers preferred to grow crops for food as they only took half the time and half the labour required for seed crops." -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.51: ... first general meeting of the Design Industries Association (DIA) in London in January 1916. This organisation, which was devoted to improving British manufacturing and design, has attracted remarkably little attention. The DIA was opposed to the protection of British industry through the imposition of tariffs, particularly on rival German products, on the grounds that "you cannot tariff our brains". -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.51: Importantly the DIA did not consider itself to be responding to an immediate wartime problem, but rather one of long term and lasting public policy. The Association fed on "public recognition of the need for leaving no stone unturned to strengthen British Industry in the commercial struggle". The war merely happened to have "given a greater impetus to the movement than it would otherwise have had." -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.60: To briefly return to the ideology that motivated the Design Industries Association, it is interesting to note that in the same pamphlet describing the DIA's aims, quoted from above, the authors go on to writer that "In order to attract the best brains it is advisable to associate the name of the Designer with the article produced, and this should be recognized as a commercial asset to both Manufacturer and Distributor". The argument is not that Weaver directly picked up and applied such a notion, rather than his schemes - in agriculture and design - seem to display similar patterns of thought. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.62: From NIAB's perspective the most interesting feature of this Swedish institute was the way in which it went about marketing and selling its varieties. In 1891 a separate company was formed to complement the breeding work of the Institute and take over the multiplication and sale of its most successful plants. This arrangement had proved successful enough that some of the profits could go towards funding the research side of the organization while the rest went to the shareholders. It was this institutional division of labour that Weaver coveted. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.72: Around July 1918, he decided that NIAB must take the form of a charity. Weaver made this decision swiftly so as not to lose momentum, "the sooner we get the trust deed established, the better, before some pious donor dies or other inconvenient incident disturbs us." -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.82: At the opening of the Institute, if you had asked Weaver what was NIAB's purpose, he might have been able to tell you about the poor condition of seed supply for the need for agricultural reconstruction. Were you to press him further, the all-purpose scientific institute that he had set out to create would not have been far from his mind. Indeed, he said as much immediately before the Institute's official opening, at the same Cophenhagen conference quoted from the line above. "I desire to make quite clear what are the functions of the Institute. It is designed to bring into one organization, I might almost say, under one roof, all activities for the improvement of the agricultural seed." -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.82: Had you asked the same question of Biffen or Hall, the answer would have been that NIAB was a nationally funded seed multiplier, built to rapidly increase the quantity of seed available from PBI varieties, returning enough profit so as to fund further research at the PBI and repay substantial DC loans. Had you asked Miln he might have emphasised varietal trialling, or perhaps have even given a similar answer to Biffen, though he wouldn't have been particularly interested. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.84: In 1921, NIAB was still none of these things. Throughout the following years this ambiguity of purpose continued to shape the Institute as NIAB set about constructing a programme of work. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.85: Perhaps in part because of its eminently sensible outward appearance, the significance of NIAB's trialling programme has been read in quite a different direction. It has been argued that the field trialling activities pursued by NIAB largely benefitted private plant breeders and members of the trade by subsidising the costly business of breeding. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.86: Government support for trials "placed the burden of research on the state and thus reduced the costs incurred by the seed trade while developing new varieties." -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.94: While the question of geography will arise in this Chapter, the aim is to demonstrate that choice of trialling method itself – only part of which includes the problem of trialling location – can reflect different attitudes to agricultural, commercial and scientific communities. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.100: Those who rejected randomization did not do so irrationally, while Fisher's promotion of randomization was linked with his own values and priorities, and those of the institution at which he worked. Randomization may well appeal to a certain statistical ideal, but impedes the capture of important botanical information, while failing to facilitate the valuable social functions attached to national trialling work. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.102: What is more, the field trial had become a location of primary importance for the relationship between scientists and farmers. "By laying down such local plots and meeting farmers on them to inspect and discuss the results, the staffs of the various institutions have been brought into touch with the agricultural public, and a mutual understanding has resulted." To ensure that these field trials performed both social and research functions, it was necessary to guarantee that "the precision of the methods adopted was capable of solving the problems posed." -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.117: Engledow and Yule's articles were published in the Empire Cotton Growing Review. Throughout the empire, botanists in various forms of scientific institution were exploiting, expanding and exporting the planets natural resources. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.117: Attempts were made around the turn of the century, particularly after the devastation of the Great War, to improve provision for colonial agricultural science, to increase the quality of the applicants to these posts and increase their number. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.117: This arrangement also came to benefit NIAB, which was made responsible for providing training in the conduct of agricultural yield trails. Every year around the end of July and the beginning of August, a group of Colonial Office Scholars would come to the NIAB for one week's theoretical instruction, followed by three weeks at a trial station, gaining experience in the recording and managing of a harvest. This close association with NIAB ensured they were given a good working knowledge of the half-drilling strip. This was one of the more direct ways in which Beaven's methods, alongside the publications of those such as Engledow and Yule, were exported across the empire. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.126: With regard to the universal aspects of the relationship between farmers and agricultural scientists, regardless of period or nationality, the importance of demonstration for contemporary field triallers has been highlighted by Christopher Henke in work on North America. Speaking of the local nature of trials for many farmers he writes "This authenticity makes field trials a powerful demonstration for growers, but the local, place-bound qualities of field trials also make them difficult to control; in many ways advisors also ened to strike a balance when using field trials as a means of intervention." He adds that "Advisors can give their research trials an aura of realism and commercial relevance by placing them in a growers field, but this also means special risks to the experiments scientific status." -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.127: Finally, the plant variations that NIAB's trials attepted to correct for, caused further and perhaps more essential, problems. When one recognises, as NIAB most certainly had by 1930, that plants can demonstrate wide fluctuations in variability depending upon the conditions under which they are grown, one can begin to question the extent to which genetic constitution determines a plants appearance. James Tabery has put the apparent neglect of the environment by the wider genetics community at the core of Lancelot Hogben's dissent from eugenics. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.128: This variability also caused problems for the varietal market, masking truly novel plants while disguising older types. As the next Chapter will demonstrate, there was at this time much confusion over the identity of agricultural crops in Britain, so much so that in 1930 NIAB launched a campaign to identify cereal varieties and bring the varietal market under control. In doing so, the Institute would confront proponents of a naïve Mendelism, with important consequences for the existing genetics historiography. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.132: To state the argument in its briefest terms; those who sought the most stringent controls on synonyms, whether academic or commercial breeders, were those who drew considerable social and financial credit from their status as the breeder of particular (and economically successful) varieties. On its own such a conclusion would not be surprising, particularly writing from the perspective of the early twenty-first century when aggressive control over proprietorial plant material and germ-lines has become ubiquitous. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.134: One of the best examples of this activity is the 1920 trade catalogue published by Dunns (the agricultural plant breeder and seed trader) which attempted to include all of the then known varieties of wheat (Figure 3.1). No commercial or private actor had attempted to produce such a publication before. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.136: As Dunn well knew, professional breeders put great store in their ability to cultivate and recognize distinct varieties. An accusation of synonymity was a serious judgement on both that traders' business practices and skills as a plant breeder. This was one of the main disincentives for tackling the problem of synonyms in an public and systematic way. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.145: In 1909 all that he had proposed was a voluntary system of plant registration, one that allowed dealers and farmers in search of distinct crops to obtain them, without infringing upon the activities of firms that wished to continue multiplying and selling 'selected' seed on whatever grounds they desired. Plans for the appropriate management of synonyms reflected vastly different ideas as to the adequacy and location of plant breeding expertise. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.146: Those whose loyalties lay ostensibly with the consumer and, lest it be forgotten, their own continued efforts to gain professional recognition (Parker and his academic colleagues), failed to see the harm in centralising decisions over varietal identity, especially when one considered the inherent difficulties of plant identification. A state of affairs that on one account was a manifesto for inaction was, on another, quite the reverse. These tensions between academic and commercial communities came to the fore during the debate between Parker and Beaven that followed the CSC's creation. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.158: The US offers an important point of comparison as an example of a non-fascist state that nevertheless implemented strong IP legislation very early on (1930, the same year in which NIAB's CSC was established). However this legislation only applied to asexually reproduced plants. Here we see yet another reason for the peculiar perspective of the agricultural geneticist distinct even perhaps from the horticultural geneticist; the nature of the organic material upon which they worked. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.164: In more liberal climates, only those wealthy enough to pursue economies of scale sought to protect varietal identity, confronting those who undermined 'hard' heredity. For instance Philippe de Vilmorin, owner and operator of one of the wealthiest plant breeding establishments in Europe, declared it "proven that the external factors have no hereditary influence, that is to say there there exists no 'inheritance of acquired characters' as hypothesized by Lamarck". -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.164: On the view advanced by this Chapter, it seems quite clear that de Vilmorin is here protecting his investments from those breeders who made a good trade out of taking overseas productions, growing them for a few years, and claiming to have 'acclimatized' or 'improved' them through selection. In order to hold such a view, one has to define varietal identity purely by pedigree or genotype, and blind oneself to the generations of labour that go into their maintenance. This chapter argues that beliefs as to the plasticity of plants mapped on to the social and economic contexts inhabited by various commercial and academic breeders. The extent to which any (academic or commercial) breeder believed novel varieties to be immutable, corresponded with the extent to which they, as a plant breeder, relied upon the potential financial and cultural credit gained from their production. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.167: Nor was the undeniably large and rapid expansion of agricultural output due to the adoption of new technologies and techniques, but was instead achieved through the greater exploitation and expansion of available land. "Far from the traidtional image of war stimulating a wave of output-increasing technical change and using every national resource as efficiently as possible, it appears that agriculture was only managing to produce a reduced diet by using as many resources as it could lay its hands on." -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.167: The second important conclusion that emerges from recent scholarship is that farming became more scientific as a direct result of the war. This conclusion has been conserved from the earlier official histories, though no longer forms part of an explanation for any supposed increase in productivity. Short et al. write that "scientific and productivist methods were now thrust upon more and more farmers, and the national farm became more business-like in this drive to modernity in the countryside." -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.169: On the 26th of September 1939, after internal communications amongst themselves, three Cambridge plant breeders and geneticists interrupted this inertia by attempting to seize control of NIAB on the grounds of wartime expediency. Frank Engledow, Herbert Hunter (Figure 4.1), and Redcliffe Salaman proposed the creation of an Emergency War Committee, consisting solely of scientists and adopting all the powers of the Executive Committee over matters of principal and policy. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.170: Despite the fact that all of the official agricultural laboratories and plant breeding institute's in Cambridge received substantial funding from MAF and the DC, this did not necessarily predominate in their self-identification as scientists. Attachment to the University kept them within another powerful circle of influence. For some years (it is not clear how many) these university based agricultural scientists had formed themselves into a Central Committee for Agricultural Research Organizations of Cambridge University. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Engeldow, Hunter and Salaman's plan failed, despite the authority they believed to possess. It would after all have required NIAB's Council to vote in favour of its own irrelevance during wartime. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.173: After the war in Europe had ended, British farmers continued to be enticed and exhorted to produce greater and greater amounts of food. Aside from those who balked at the new morality of farming - in which farmers were seen to surrendor the greater part of their autonomy in exchange for continued subsidies and price supports - political and socially there was little descent from the continuation of these schemes in peacetime. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.174: National scientists assumed a new responsibility, ensuring the wider public got a good return on the subsidisation of the industry through gains in efficiency. Another example, one which was designed to better integrate research work and farming practice, was the creation of the National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAAS). -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.174: Currently there is a growing body of work that wishes to place such post-war agricultural and industrial development programmes within a national security and geopolitical context. John H. Perkins' Geopolitics and the Green Revolution has been the most signifiant in this respect, and despite the substance of the book being dedicated to the history of twentieth century plant breeding, it has received surprisingly little attention from historians of science. His argument focusses upon the United States, Mexico, India, and Great Brtain, and in each case he interprets a rapid expansion of agricultural science funding (either immediately preceding or following the Second World War) as serving international political ends, rather than a more simple desire to improve the lot of farmers.

Put somewhat differently, after 1945, wheat breeding by American scientists became more than just an exercise in the modernization of agriculture. Old motivations for seeking new varieties did not disappear, but new motivations arose to justify expenditures. In addition, American scientists came to do their work not only in the United States for American farmers but overseas for foreign governments. Wheat breeding acquired an ideological dimension more elaborate than simply "the promotion of progress". Instead, wheat breeding and other agricultural science became part of the "battle for freedom".

-- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.175: The idea that agricultural science developed these significances only later in the twentieth century (whereas beforehand scientists had purely been focussing on improving domestic agricultural production as an end in itself) ignores the great deal of work within the history of science that demonstrates these incentives and power structures from the early nineteenth century onwards. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.175: The national security perspective is certainly an import one, and much more attention must be paid to global food supply networks and their control, though at present how agricultural science plans and programmes developed within Britain itself still needs to be explained. Perkins is nevertheless right to stress that the Second World War and the changed global relations it brought, prompted a good deal of rearrangement of, and reinvestment in, the extant agricultural science networks established within different countries. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.208: Productivism is (unsurprisingly) the term given by historians of agriculture to the large state-sponsored expansion of agricultural production that took place throughout most of Europe following the Second World War. In comparison to earlier periods (and earlier Chapters in this thesis) agricultural science and technology have by no means been ignored by the productivist historiography. On the contrary, science and technology are seen to be crucial driving forces behind bigger yields in everything arable and pastoral. It is believed that growth has in a "been achieved by plant and animal scientists, chemists, and geneticists simultaneously with a mechanical revolution, a management revolution, and now an electronic revolution." -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.252: We can now return, armed with Patrick Joyce's description of another British institution, one that was also a "completely characteristic creation and reflection of the liberal state." Established in 1922, only a year after NIAB's headquarters were completed, the BBC can now be understood as NIAB's twin.

It is as Lord Reith put it "a public service, not only in performance but in constitution - but certainly not as a department of state". This delicate positioning involved being in the state and drawing its authority from it as a state monopoly, but yet not being of the state as a government department because it was a public corporation. However it had been given its constitution by teh state, which could change or revoke it at any time. As a state monopoly it was charged by the state with representing the (multi-) nation state. It was forever precariously balanced between dependence and independence because it shared the perennial problem of the liberal state itself, which was supposed to embody the nation and yet stand above as its supposedly neutral regulator.

Aside from switching 'public corporation' for 'charity', this description of the BBC could just as easily be a discription of NIAB. Our outline history of NIAB the National Institute, would then continue from this observation, demonstrating over and over again how the Institute was a product of, an influencer upon, and reflection of, the state, just as security, geography and efficency of that body was subjected to new stresses and underwent further change, eventually aiming squarely for Edgerton's late twentieth-century landscape. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.256: The seed has often dominated our attention, either because of its slippery nature (as explained in the Introductory Chapter), or because of its fecund promises of potential. If a plant is a mirror to society, the seed is a veritable glitter ball. One truly important conclusion to be drawn from this thesis therefore is that seeds have no power in and of themselves, even if produced in brightly-lit laboratories by genetic modification. Power can certainly be invested in given stocks of seed, but only when the necessary legislative, commercial and economic infrastructure has first been built. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

p.257: Beyond the UK, historians of science investigating plant breeding around the world must begin to consider the perspective that institutions such as NIAB (often with a heavy emphasis on regulation and only limited pretension toward basic science) can lend to our understanding of the changes in this industry. There is at present a sense of urgency leant to research in the history of agricultural science, one which will hopefully make it increasingly attractive. It is an urgency generated both by the subjects' current marginalization, and its crucial importance in discussion of the environment, climate change, food security, industrialization, and development. NIAB, as a mechanism for change within this global picture, and a historical lense through which to view it. -- Highlighted aug 24, 2014

Adding These Selections to my Reading List

Alter, Peter, The Reluctant Patron: Science and the State in Britain, 1850-1920, (Oxford: Berg Pub Ltd., 1987)

Austoker, Joan, and Linda Bryder, (eds.), Historical Perspectives on the Role of the MRC: Essays in the History of the Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom and its Predecessor, the Medical Research Committee, 1913-1953, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989)

Ba􏰂ber􏰀, Zaheer􏰀, 􏰊'Glo􏰂alizatio􏰄n Scientific Research: The Emerging Triple Helix of State-Industry-University Relations in Japan and Singapore', Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 45, (2006), pp. 431-462

Brockway, Lucile H., 􏰊“􏰆Science and colonial expansion: the role of the British Royal Botanic Gadens', American Ethnologist, 6, (1979), pp. 449-465

— Science and Colonial Expansion: the role of the British Royal Botanic Gardens, (New York, London: Yale University Press, 2002)

Buttel, F􏰀ede􏰀ri􏰆k H., Ma􏰀rti􏰄n Ke􏰄􏰄eney􏰈 a􏰄nd Jac􏰆k Kloppenb􏰄􏰂ur􏰀g, 􏰊'Biotechnology and the Third World: toward a global political economic perspective', Politics and the Life Sciences, 2, (1984), pp. 160-164

Co􏰆􏰀croft, Wayn􏰈􏰄e D., 􏰊'First World War Explosives Manufacture', in Roy MacLeod and Jeffrey Allan Johnson (eds.), Frontline and Factory: Comparative Perspectives on the Chemical Industry at War, 1914-1924, (Dordrecht: Springer, 2006), pp. 31-46

Collingham, Lizzie, The Taste of War: World War Two and the Battle for Food, (London: Allen Lane, 2011)

Crawford, Elisabeth, Denationalizing Science: The Contexts of International Scientific Practice, (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993)

Drayton, Richard, Nature's Government: British Imperialism and the 'Improvement' of the World, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000)

Edge􏰀rton􏰄, Dav􏰇id, 􏰊'The 􏰊'White Heat􏰅' Rev􏰇isited: The British Government and Technology in􏰄 the 􏰐􏰑􏰙􏰖1960s'􏰅, Twentieth Century British History, 7, (1996), pp. 53-82

— Britain's war machine: weapons, resources, and experts in teh Second World War, (London: Allen Lane, 2011)

Fransman, Ma􏰀rti􏰄n, 􏰊'Designing Dolly: interactions between economics, technology and sciecne and the evolution of hybrid institutions', Research Policy, 30, (2001), pp. 263-273

F􏰀riedm􏰁an􏰄􏰄, Ha􏰀􏰀rriet, 􏰊'The political economy of food: the rise and fall of the postwar international foor order􏰀􏰅', American Journal of Sociology, 88 (supplement), (1982), pp. 248-286

— and Philip McMichael, 'Agricultura and the State System: The rise and decline of national agricultures, 1870 to the present', Sociologia Ruralis, 29, (1989), pp. 93-117

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