Meetings and Notices

Meetings and Conferences

  • FAO international symposium on agricultural biotechnologies

    On 15-17 February 2016, the FAO international symposium on “The role of agricultural biotechnologies in sustainable food systems and nutrition” will take place at FAO Headquarters, Rome. The symposium will explore how the application of science and technology, particularly agricultural biotechnologies, can benefit smallholders in developing sustainable food systems and improving nutrition in the context of climate change. The symposium takes a multisectoral approach, covering the crop, livestock, forestry and fishery sectors. It also aims to cover the wide spectrum of biotechnologies that are available in these sectors. During the symposium, keynote speakers will address the plenary sessions on 15 and 16 February. A high-level ministerial segment will be held in the afternoon of 16 February. Three parallel sessions will also be held each day. For further information about the symposium, including participation and its advisory panel, see or contact Representatives of non-state actors (civil society, private sector, research/academic institutions and cooperatives/producer organizations) who are interested in attending can express their interest in participating before the deadline (6 December) at

  • NABC 28: A Flourishing Agricultural Genetic Tool Box: Applications for Plant and Animal Improvement
    Hosted by Washington State University Pullman, WA
    June 1 and 2, 2016

    Powerful new versions of classical genetic techniques fueled by new methods that generate and manipulate huge amounts of data are radically altering our ability to genetically modify plants, animals and microorganisms. These supercharged approaches take advantage of high-throughput genetic and phenotypic characterization and very often involve the creation and manipulation of large data sets. Whole organism and exon DNA sequencing, RNASeq and other expression-profiling technologies, correlation of traits with high-resolution DNA markers, and rapid determination of genetic variants have enabled the creation of genetic maps and their use almost in real time. These technologies allow characterized libraries of variants to be generated and searched at the molecular level to identify interesting traits that can then be moved into the production pipeline, where various phenotype determination methods can be used to determine their influence on the properties of the whole organism. The effort depends heavily on improved bioinformatics to track and organize information and for correlating genotypes and phenotypes. Ultimately, integration of this information can be used to guide breeding strategies in order to yield plants and animals with multiple desired traits, including improved quality, yield, disease resistance and nutrition. Combinations of these technologies are lending much more precision in gene discovery, and the meeting will discuss the agricultural implications of this sort of advanced classical genetics.

  • Scientific Colloquium
    on the occasion of retirement of Prof. Dr. Joachim Schiemann

    Agricultural biotechnology:
    risk/safety assessment, impact assessment and importance for a bio-based economy

    When: June 22-24, 2016 (recommended arrival on June 21, 2016)
    Where: Palais Salfeldt, Quedlinburg (Germany)
    Participation fee: 150 €per person

    Sessions and speakers

    Crop Genetic Improvement Technologies:
    • Frank Hartung, Julius Kühn Institut (JKI), Quedlinburg, Germany
    • Holger Puchta, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
    • Patrick Schweizer, Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Gatersleben, Germany
    • Erik Wijnker, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
    • Jens Keilwagen, Julius Kühn Institut (JKI), Quedlinburg, Germany
    Plants as Production Platform:
    • Dirk Prüfer, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
    • Katja Thiele, Julius Kühn Institut (JKI), Quedlinburg, Germany
    • Ralph Bock, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPIMP), Golm, Germany
    • Julian Ma, St George's, University of London, London, UK
    Risk/Safety and Impact Assessment:
    • Boet Glandorf, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands
    • Pablo Steinberg, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation (TiHo), Hannover, Germany
    • Alan Gray, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Lancaster, UK
    • Andrew Pullin, Bangor University, Bangor, UK
    • Jeremy Sweet, Sweet Environmental Consultants (SEC), Cambridge, UK
    • Gijs Kleter, RIKILT-Institute of Food Safety (RIKILT), Wageningen, The Netherlands
    • Christian Kohl, Julius Kühn Institut (JKI), Quedlinburg, Germany
    • Ralf Wilhelm, Julius Kühn Institut (JKI), Quedlinburg, Germany
    Social Implications:
    • Karin Metzlaff, European Plant Science Organization (EPSO), Brussels, Belgium
    • Rene Van Acker, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
    • Ralf Lindner, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), Karlsruhe, Germany
    • Armin Spök, Alpen-Adria-University of Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria
    • Eric Sachs, Monsanto, St. Louis, USA
    • Piet van der Meer, University of Ghent, University of Brussels, Belgium
    Round Table: A Paradigm Shift in the Interpretation: Technology-Based or Trait/Product-Based Risk Assessment and Regulation of Crop Genetic Improvement Technologies –or both?
    • Rene Van Acker, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
    • Piet van der Meer, University of Ghent, University of Brussels, Belgium
    • Joachim Schiemann, Julius Kühn Institut (JKI), Quedlinburg, Germany
    • Justus Wesseler, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
    • Yann Devos, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
    • Boet Glandorf, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands
    More information about travel, accomodation, and programme to come soon.
    Questions? Email to
    GMO Risk Assessment and Communication of Evidence
    Final Conference
    9-10 November 2015 - Potsdam, Germany

    The GRACE Final Conference on 9th-10th November 2015 in Potsdam, Germany (near Berlin), will mark the end of GRACE, a research project funded by the European Commission’s 7th framework programme from 2012-2015.

    GRACE pursues two key research objectives:
    • Firstly, it aims to provide comprehensive reviews of the existing evidence on the health, environmental and socio-economic impacts of GM plants – considering both risks and possible benefits. GRACE reviews go beyond what has been done so far and are conducted in a highly systematic, transparent and inclusive way, based on concepts of systematic reviews and evidence maps. Both types of evidence synthesis tasks have been proposed or used as a valuable tool to support policy making in many areas including medicine, environmental studies, social studies, and - more recently - food safety. In the context of GMO risk research and risk assessment systematic evidence synthesis methods are fairly new and their potentials were investigated in the frame of the GRACE project.
    • Secondly, GRACE evaluates animal feeding trials (90-day, 1-year) and alternative methods for use in GMO risk assessment. This is a particular topical issue as the need for mandatory animal feeding studies in GMO risk assessment in the European Union will be evaluated in 2016.

    General conference information, registration information and registration form, accomodation information, and other details are available at
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