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ISU Professor To Testify In NZ On GM Ethics

ISU Professor To Testify In New Zealand On Ethics Of Genetic Modification

AMES, Iowa - An Iowa State professor will present testimony on bioethical issues of agricultural genetic engineering to the New Zealand Royal Commission on Genetic Modification. Gary Comstock, professor of philosophy and religious studies and director of Iowa State's Bioethics Program, will testify on Nov. 22 in Wellington, one of several sites for public hearings before the independent commission.

The government of New Zealand will determine the future of genetic modification and the use of genetically modified organisms and products in New Zealand based on the recommendation of the commission.

The New Zealand Life Sciences Network, an organization of scientists, invited Comstock to present his ideas on the complex ethical issues raised by genetic modification.

He will present his method for reaching ethically sound judgments on the acceptability of genetic modification of crops. Comstock will discuss his 12-year personal journey from vocal critic to cautious supporter of the ethical acceptability of genetic modification.

Comstock also will speak about the ethical responsibilities of scientists involved in the discussion, distinguishing the different ethical challenges faced by scientists in industry, academia and nonprofit organizations

The New Zealand Royal Commission on Genetic Modification was appointed to address the advantages and disadvantages, benefits and risks, cultural and ethical considerations, legal obligations and economic considerations surrounding the use of genetic modification in New Zealand.

The hearings, which started in August, will conclude in June with a report to the government.

"This process is being watched by other countries," Comstock said. "It is an unprecedented approach in that it is a very deliberate, intensive and concentrated public discussion of the issues surrounding this technology." -30-

Teddi Barron ISU News Service 515/294-4778 (voice) 515/294-4654 (fax) tbarron@iastate.edu


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