Issue of New Biotechnology – Transgenic Plant for Food Security

Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Agbiotech

November 30, 2010

The official scientific journal of the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) has published the proceedings of the Study Week on ‘Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development’ held under the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at its headquarters in the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican from 15 to 19 May 2009. The Conference was attended by public scientists and was organized by Ingo Potrykus, ‘father’ of the Golden Rice, and Klaus Ammann (managing Editor).

See: http://www.ask-force.org/web/Vatican-PAS-Studyweek-Elsevier-publ-20101130/PAS-Studyweek-NBT-20101130.pdf

The summary conclusions of the Study Week are very supportive of agriculture biotechnology to improve sustainable development:

1. More than 1 billion of the world population of 6.8 billion people are currently undernourished, a condition that urgently requires the development of new agricultural systems and technologies.

 2. The expected addition of 2-2.5 billion people to reach a total of approximately 9 billion people by 2050 adds urgency to this problem.

3. The predicted consequences of climate change and associated decreases in the availability of water for agriculture will also affect our ability to feed the increased world population.

4. Agriculture as currently practised is unsustainable, evidenced by the massive loss of topsoil and unacceptably high applications of pesticides throughout most of the world. 

5. The appropriate application of GE and other modern molecular techniques in agriculture is contributing toward addressing some of these challenges.

6. There is nothing intrinsic about the use of GE technologies for crop improvement that would cause the plants themselves or the resulting food products to be unsafe.

7. The scientific community should be responsible for research and development (R&D) leading to advances in agricultural productivity, and should also endeavour to see that the benefits associated with such advances accrue to the benefit of the poor as well as to those in developed countries who currently enjoy relatively high standards of living.

8. Special efforts should be made to provide poor farmers in the developing world with access to improved GE crop varieties adapted to their local conditions.

9. Research to develop such improved crops should pay particular attention to local needs and crop varieties and to the capacity of each country to adapt its traditions, social heritage and administrative practices to achieve the successful introduction of GE crops.

The New Biotechnology open source Volume 27, 5, p. 445 – 717

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/18716784

Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development

– Proceedings of a Study Week invited by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City, May 15-19, 2009

A joint publication of the invited participants of the Study Week as an open source Volume of NEW BIOTECHNOLGY of Elsevier and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Food security – sufficient nutritious food at all times to live a healthy and productive life – is one of the prime challenges for mankind. On the background of the public debate about the potential contribution from transgenic plants and the interest of the Vatican in the this challenge, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences was inviting an interdisciplinary group of independent public sector scientists, known for their scientific rigor and their engagement in social justice, to analyze the peer- reviewed state of science about transgenic plants and to explore the conditions under which the obvious potential of this technology could be made available in a better way for public good and the poor.

In summary, the program of the study week was designed (a) to present the potential of plant genetic engineering to contribute to food security, (b) to analyze the causes for the obvious exclusion of the public sector and projects from the delivery of public goods and (c) to develop concepts how to improve the situation to the benefit of the poor. The participants represented a wide and interdisciplinary range of scientific disciplines including philosophy, theology, political science, economy, agricultural law, agricultural economics, development economics, intellectual property rights, botany, ecology, plant pathology, evolution, botany, microbiology, agriculture, crop science, biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, food safety, biosafety, and regulation.

Against this background the program of the study week was organized into the following sections,

http://www.ask-force.org/web/Vatican-Studyweek-Elsevier/Summary-Study-Week-Potrykus-2010.pdf

About the organizers and participants:

Prof. Dr. em. Ingo Potrykus ingo@potrykus.ch was the organizer of the study week; Mons. Prof. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences was inviting the 41 participants to Vatican City. Prof. Dr. em. Klaus Ammann klaus.ammann@ips.unibe.ch was the editor of the proceedings, together with Prof. em. Ingo Potrykus

List of participants including email addresses of the contributors:

http://www.ask-force.org/web/Vatican-Studyweek-Elsevier/Participants-List-english-email.pdf

The program and scientific contributions of the Study Week

Program of the May 2009 meeting with abstracts, invitation by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdscien/2009/booklet_transgenic_34.pdf

Full bibliography (including open source links) of published papers and statements:

http://www.ask-force.org/web/Vatican-PAS-Studyweek-Elsevier-publ-20101130/PAS-Studyweek- NBT-20101130.pdf

This information was sourced through: AgBioView, November 30, 2010

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