Overview: The South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP), the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute, the Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences, and the Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL) held the 1st Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference and Workshop in New Delhi, India, from September 18-20, 2013. This conference was organized under the South Asia Biosafety Program with further support from the Department of Biotechnology and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. The event provided attendees with an opportunity to hear leading scientists from regulatory agencies, public sector research institutions and the private sector in Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, France, Hungary, India, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Switzerland, and the U.S. present on the current science on the development of GE plants and their regulation.

Program: The conference featured sessions on:

  • Challenges to the Development and Regulation of Genetically Engineered Plants in South Asia
  • Regulation of Genetically Engineered Plants in the Context of Biodiversity, Phytosanitary and Food/Feed Safety Laws
  • New Plant Breeding Techniques and Biosafety Risk Assessment
  • Post-Approval Considerations for the Commercial Release of Genetically Engineered Organisms
  • The Scientist as Public Communicator
  • Understanding Test Protocols – Design, Reporting and Data Interpretation

Agenda:

Session I: Challenges to the Development and Regulation of Genetically Engineered Plants in South Asia

Regulation of Genetically Engineered Plants in Bhutan
Ms. Tashi Yangzom, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority

Biosafety Regulation in Sri Lanka: A Status Update
Prof. Athula Perera, National Science Council, Sri Lanka

The Regulatory System in Pakistan
Dr. Anwar Nasim, Pakistan Academy of Sciences

Advances in the Bangladesh Biosafety Regulatory System
Mr. M. Solaiman Haider, Department of Environment, Bangladesh

An Update on Biotechnology Regulation in India
Dr. S.R. Rao, Department of Biotechnology, India

Session II: Regulation of Genetically Engineered Plants in the Context of Biodiversity, Phytosanitary and Food/Feed Safety Laws

Biosecurity as a Unifying Theme for Agriculture and Food Production
Dr. Peter Kearns, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, France

Weed Risk Assessment and Genetically Modified Plant Risk Assessment
Dr. Michael Dornbusch, Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, Australia

Lessons Learned from Risk Assessment of Biological Control Organisms
Dr. Barbara Barratt, AgResearch, New Zealand

The Intersection of Biodiversity and Biosecurity
Dr. Alex Owusu-Biney, United Nations Environment

Session III: New Plant Breeding Techniques and Biosafety Risk Assessment

Cisgenics, Intragenics and Site-specific Mutagenesis
Dr. K. Veluthambi, Madurai Kamaraj University, India

Zinc Finger Nucleases and Transcription Factors
Dr. Andrew Roberts, Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, USA

“Planting the Future: Opportunities and Challenges for using Crop Genetic Improvement Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture” – a Report from the European Academies Science Advisory Council
Dr. Ervin Balazs, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

New Plant Breeding Techniques and Australian Gene Technology Legislation
Dr. Michael Dornbusch, Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, Australia

Risk Assessment and Regulation of RNAi Pesticides in the Context of Genetically Engineered Plants, and the Regulation of Novel Plant Breeding Techniques in the United States
Dr. Andrew Roberts, Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, USA

Session IV: Post-Approval Considerations for the Commercial Release of Genetically Engineered Organisms

Considerations for the Commercialization of Embrapa’s Virus Resistant Common Bean
Dr. Thiago Souza, Embrapa Rice & Beans, Brazil

Bringing Golden Rice to Market in South Asia: Perspectives from Plans and Processes in the Philippines
Dr. Eric Reynoso, International Rice Research Institute, The Philippines

PAT – Project Aedes Transgenic – in Brazil: Planning, Operation and Commercialization
Dr. Aldo Malavasi, Moscamed, Brazil

Genetically Modified Crops and Integrated Pest Management
Dr. Franz Bigler, Agroscope ART, Switzerland

Perspectives on Coexistence of Agricultural Production Systems
Dr. Stuart Smyth, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Workshop I: The Scientist as Public Communicator

Keynote Presentation: “The Scientist as Public Communicator”
Dr. Aldo Malavasi, Moscamed, Brazil

Workshop II: Understanding Test Protocols – Design, Reporting and Data Interpretation

Data Quality
Dr. Michael Dornbusch, Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, Australia

Protein Safety Assessments – Toxicity and Allergenicity
Dr. Laura Privalle, Bayer, USA

Feeding Studies
Dr. Bryan Delaney, DuPont Pioneer, USA

Ecotoxicology Studies to Evaluate Adverse Impacts on Non-target Organisms: Tiered Testing, Study Design and Interpretation
Dr. Chad Boeckman, DuPont Pioneer, USA

Data Analysis and Interpretation for Biosafety Risk Assessment
Dr. Chad Boeckman, DuPont Pioneer, USA

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