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Academic and Science Community Applauds WTO GMO Ruling

Contact: Dr. CS Prakash of the AgBioWorld Foundation, 334-444-7884; Prakash(at)tuskegee.edu

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7-- Independent academics and scientists from around the globe applaud the long-awaited World Trade Organization ruling today which directs the European Union to end its defacto moratorium on biotechnology-improved crops.

"This decision affects not only Argentina, Canada and the United States, who prevailed in this complaint, but the future of agricultural biotechnology for all countries," said Professor C.S. Prakash, president of the AgBioWorld Foundation. "This favorable ruling gives European farmers the option to use safe, approved and proven tools to grow food crops, and gives consumers the right to choose those foods in grocery stores."

Over 3,400 scientists, including 25 Nobel Laureates such as Dr. Norman Borlaug, Dr. James Watson, Dr. Arthur Kornberg, Dr. Marshall Nirenberg, Dr. Peter Doherty, Dr. Paul Berg, Mr. Oscar Arias Sanchez and Dr. John Boyer have signed a declaration of support for agricultural biotechnology sponsored by the AgBioWorld Foundation. The Foundation hopes that WTO panel decision will be an important step towards replacing special interest politics with sound science and responsible regulatory and market practices wdhich will benefit consumers in Europe and throughout the globe.

"This ruling enables developing nations to feel confident that they can adopt the modern crop technologies they need to feed their people while retaining access to European export markets," added Prakash. "Independent scientific bodies, including the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization - not to mention tens of millions of consumers across the globe - agree that biotech crops with such beneficial traits as resistance to drought, pests and weeds offer the potential of increased agrdicultural productivity and improved nutrition, which can contribute directly to enhanced human health and development."

The ruling supports a 15-year study funded by the European Union itself found that biotech plants and products have not "shown any new risks to human health or the environment" and concluded that these foods are in fact safer than conventional foods.

Some 222 million acres were planted with biotech crops last year. Of this, more than one-third was in developing countries. Biotech crops are grown by approximately 8.5 million farmers, with roughly 90 percent living in developing countries. That represents a huge contribution to the economies of the poorest countries in the world.

C. S. Prakash is professor of plant biotechnology at Tuskegee University, Alabama and president of the AgBioWorld Foundation.

The AgBioWorld Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Auburn, Alabama, and is run by Professor C.S. Prakash of TuskegeeUniversity. AgBioWorld aims to provide science-based information on agricultural biotechnology issues to various stakeholders across the world. Its website and e-mail service are a daily source of information for thousands of subscribers from dozens of countries.