10th EMBO/EMBL Science & Society Conference: Food, sustainability and ...

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10th EMBO/EMBL Science & Society Conference: Food, sustainability and ...

10th EMBO/EMBL Science & Society Conference
Food, sustainability and plant science - a global challenge

6-7 November 2009, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany


The 10th joint EMBO/EMBL Science & Society Conference will examine the future of sustainable agriculture from the perspectives of plant science, technology and society. How can science contribute to addressing global challenges such as the requirement to feed a growing population, climate change and biological threats to yields? How can individuals make informed decisions whether the new technologies are safe and effective in the battle against hunger?

Following a scene-setting keynote talk addressing the current global state of agriculture and food supply, the conference is composed of four sessions:

* Plant breeding and the maintenance of diversity
Important food crops such as rice and wheat are vulnerable to disease and environmental disasters because we use so few high-yield varieties with little variation between them. How has this come to pass and what are the breeding aims to address these problems, conserve biodiversity and protect the environment?

* Breeding and the molecular genetics that support it
How can gene banks and genomics approaches enhance conventional breeding? A range of current projects are aimed at increasing and diversifying hybrid vigour in staple crops to address the problem of low genetic diversity in breeding lines.

* Enhancing plants by GM
What are the contributions of genetic modification to food and industrial crops in terms of introducing new resistance traits to pathogens, pests, drought, poor soil and herbicide tolerance, and to increasing nutritional value? Does genetic technology have a role to play in the future of agriculture and feeding the growing global population?

* Public perception and risk assessment
The European public is resolutely ‘anti-GM’. What factors guide the public perception of plant biotechnology? Is there a difference between the perceived and actual risks of plant biotechnology? How can we reopen a dialogue between scientists and the public?

The tenth anniversary of the Science & Society conferences at the EMBO/EMBL presents an opportunity to look to the future. We invite you to participate in the discussions of these and many more important topics at this multidisciplinary and international conference.

Alessandra Bendiscioli
Administration Officer
EMBO Science & Society Programme
T. + 49 6221 8891 119