A debate on the potential of GM crops in agriculture in developing countries takes place in Cambridge on Friday 16 May (4pm), hosted by the University's Sainsbury Laboratory (SLCU).
Festival of Plants: 'Biotechnology and genetic modification: a mature conversation'
Our understanding of plant biology is rapidly increasing. We have made significant progress in analysing important agronomic properties such as disease resistance and drought tolerance. This knowledge can be applied in many different ways but there is no doubt that, in some cases, GM approaches have the potential to deliver major improvements in crop productivity.
However, in Europe, GM is extremely controversial and this has all but eliminated the cultivation of GM crops here. There is good evidence that the European attitudes to GM are having knock-on effects on GM adoption in developing countries.
To discuss these issues, we are hosting a panel discussion. The three panel members have all contributed to science and policy debates on genetic modification and biotechnology in the context of contemporary agriculture and food production. Professor Ottoline Leyser, Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory will give an overview of the technology. Professor Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy at the University of Sussex, will explore the controversies surrounding the adoption and use of genetic modification and biotechnology, and how civil society and policy actors have framed the science-policy dialogue in this context. Finally, Dr Emmanuel Okogbenin, Director of Technical Operations at African Agricultural Technology Foundation will consider the role, potential and limitations of genetic modification and agro-biotechnology, with a specific focus on Africa.
The panel-style discussion, followed by a structured Q&A session, will be chaired by Susan Watts, formerly Science Editor on BBC Newsnight.
Professor Leyser explains "It's time to move beyond the hyperbole surrounding GM and ask instead how we can best use the many and diverse tools and resources available to us to address the pressing issues of global food security".
Attendance is free but ticketed. Tickets are available fromhttp://food-security.eventbrite.co.uk
The Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU) is a new research institute funded by the Gatsby Foundation. The aim of the Laboratory is to elucidate the regulatory systems underlying plant growth and development.