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July 6, 2000




AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com


Scientists Urged to Sign Pro-Biotechnology Declaration

Contact: Gregory Conko 1 (202) 331-1010
or C.S. Prakash at prakash@tusk.edu

TUSKEGEE, ALABAMA July 6, 2000-The International Society for Plant
Molecular Biology's board of directors unanimously voted to endorse
AgBioWorld's "Declaration in Support of Agricultural Biotechnology." At
the Society's Sixth International Congress, held last week in Quebec City,
Canada, the board officially urged the Society's 1,800 members around the
world to sign the AgBioWorld Declaration, drafted by Professor C.S.
Prakash of Tuskegee University.

Members of the International Society for Plant Molecular Biology (ISPMB)
will join more than 2,700 other scientists, who have already added their
signatures to the AgBioWorld Declaration. Notable signatories include
Nobel Prize winners Norman Borlaug and James Watson, and such highly
regarded agriculture and health experts as World Food Prize winner Gurdev
Khush, immunologist Hilary Koprowski, cancer researcher Bruce Ames, and
Golden Rice developer Ingo Potrykus.

Professor Prakash thanked the Society's board of directors and applauded
the ISPMB decision, saying that, "It's important for respected members of
the scientific community to counter the unfounded attacks that
anti-biotech activists are spreading about these products." Prakash added
that, "Biotechnology is powerful and safe technology that can contribute
substantially to agriculture, health care, and the environment. Despite
the nonsense being spread by anti-biotech activists, this technology can
actually improve environmental conditions while helping to boost world
food production."

"There is no scientific reason to believe that genetically-engineered
foods are any less safe than the foods we've been eating for centuries,"
said Professor Prakash. "Consequently, we in the scientific community have
felt a need to debunk many of the myths surrounding the technology." Dr.
Prakash also commended the 1,200-member Society for In Vitro Biology for
endorsing its own statement in support of agricultural biotechnology at
its annual meeting in San Diego two weeks ago.

The text of the "Declaration in Support of Agricultural Biotechnology" and
a list of signatories can be viewed at the www.AgBioWorld.org web site,
established by Dr. Prakash to share information with policymakers,
reporters, and members of the public. Information about the International
Society for Plant Molecular Biology can be found at the ISPMB web site at
http://www.uga.edu/~ispmb, or by contacting Dianne Anderson at
1-706-542-3239. For more information about the AgBioWorld Declaration,
please contact Gregory Conko, Director of Food Safety Policy at the
Competitive Enterprise Institute, at 1-202-331-1010, or Professor C.S.
Prakash at prakash@tusk.edu.