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NEWS ADVISORY — Biotechnology: Science and Society at a Crossroad

Leading scientists and policy experts from around the world are gathering in Seattle this weekend to debate issues about revolutionary advances in agricultural biotechnology, such as cloning and other genetic manipulations of plants, animals and micro-organisms.

Is biotechnology a tool with unprecedented potential for humanitarian and environmental benefit, or an unproven technology with the potential for unforeseen catastrophe?

NABC 15, the 15th annual conference of the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council, opens Sunday, June 1, at the Westin Hotel. It will conclude Tuesday, June 3.

“Not all scientists agree that the benefits of genetically modified organisms outweigh the risks,” says conference co-chair Sandra Ristow, associate director of WSU’s Agricultural Research Center. “Our speakers and attendees will include leading scientists representing a diversity of viewpoints on the subject and we anticipate some lively discussions.”

Speakers of potential interest to the media include:

  • Lessons Unlearned: How Biotechnology is Changing Society. Sunday. Lawrence Busch, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Michigan State University.
  • Biotechnology: Cause and Consequence of Change in Agriculture. Sunday. R. James Cook, Washington State University; Member, National Academy of Sciences.
  • Consumer Attitudes and Willingness to Pay for Genetically Modified Foods: A Cross-Country Comparison. Monday. Jill McCluskey, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the IMPACT Center, Washington State University.
  • Regulating the Benefits and Risks of Biotechnology: GM Labels. Monday. Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes. University of Missouri, Editor of Agbioforum.
  • Traceability and Trade of GM Food. Monday. Peter W. B. Phillips, University of Saskatchewan.

MEDIA ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE
For assistance at the conference, contact:
Denny Fleenor 206/972-8590 (cell)
Terence Day 208/301-1839 (cell)
Or call the Westin, 206/728-1000 and ask for one of us at the NABC Registration Desk.

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