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Impacts of Emerging Biotechnologies Symposium

Impacts of Emerging Biotechnologies Symposium

New Zealand researchers gather in Wellington this Friday (September 5) for a two day meeting to discuss and debate research into a wide range of issues relating to the impacts of new biotechnologies such as genetic modification. The meeting which is open to the public will include discussion on research looking at the risks associated with GM products through horizontal and vertical gene transfer, and research that addresses ethical and cultural concerns as well as the socio-economic impacts of such new technologies.

The research is funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and Group Manager, Dr John Smart, says the Foundation is now funding 20 research contracts addressing these issues at total investment of $6.7m p.a. These research contracts have been developed over the past 3 years in response to recommendations by the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification and increased government funding says John.

This research will be used to inform public agencies, such as the Environmental Risk Management Authority, of the risks involved in new biotechnologies as well as giving us a better understanding of the different cultural and ethical concerns of the public.

Sir Paul Reeves will address the meeting as chair of Toi te taiao (The Bioethics Council) on the work of the council and the ethical issues they are considering in relating to emerging biotechnologies.

The Symposium runs Friday and Saturday at Victoria University and will feature a number of panel discussions and an open forum to give participants the opportunity to both question the researchers and identify important research questions for the future.

Further information on the Symposium is available on the Foundation website under the title Foundations for Success.

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