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ICSU releases synthesis report entitled on new genetics, food and agriculture

The International Council for Science (ICSU) today announced the release of a new report entitled New Genetics, Food and Agriculture: Scientific Discoveries – Societal Dilemmas.

PARIS, France – A synthesis of more than 50 science based reviews, the report assesses the risks and benefits of applying new genetic discoveries to food and agriculture.The report was commissioned by ICSU’s Advisory Committee on Genetic Experimentation and Biotechnology (ACOGEB).

“This report is based on thorough examination of reviews prepared by national academies of sciences, international organizations, and private agencies over the past three years (1999 – 2002),”says author Dr.Gabrielle Persley of the Doyle Foundation.“We’ve analysed key issues, identified areas of scientific convergence and divergence, and highlighted gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed through further research.”

In relation to societal concerns about genetically modified foods and other genetically modified organisms, the report addresses five key questions:

  • Who needs GM foods?
  • Are GM foods safe to eat?
  • Will GMOs affect the environment?
  • Are the regulations adequate?
  • Will GMOs affect trade?

The report was simultaneously launched today in print and on the Internet (, making it a readily available resource tool for scientists, policy makers, and other stakeholders. It is supported by an extensive annotated bibliography, with the electronicversion providing direct links to original reviews. Digital photos will be available in the Media Room on the ICSU website immediately after the press CD-ROM copies will be available shortly for individuals who do not have easy access to the Internet.

“ICSU recognizes that the safety and environmental concerns associated with GM foods and GMOs are directly linked to issues of food security and poverty, particularly in emerging economies,” says Dr. Carthage Smith, Deputy Executive Director of ICSU. “Putting this material into the hands of people around the globe will help them to understand the issues and inform policy development and future research.”

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