Crop Production Experts Meet in Vienna & Press Briefing
IAEA to Host International Symposium on Induced Mutations in Plants
8 August 2008 - UPDATED 11 August 2008 |
The world is facing a food and energy crisis that threatens to drive tens of millions of people into hunger and poverty. A scientific technique that dramatically improves crop productivity could be part of the solution.
More than 600 scientists, researchers and plant breeders from around the world will attend an International Symposium on Induced Mutations in Plants (ISIM), 12-15 August 2008, at the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna. The symposium will focus on the latest innovations and how they can improve crop varieties in the future.
The eighth of its kind, this International Symposium is part of a series promoted by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, which is hosted at Agency headquarters, in Vienna. The Joint FAO/IAEA Division is a 44-year example of the United Nations delivering as one on behalf of its Member States and humanity.
"This is the most important gathering in the field of mutation induction in the last 10 years," says Pierre Lagoda, Head of the Agency´s Plant Breeding and Genetics section.
"It will bring together world experts and critical stakeholders in order to tackle the challenges to food security and the current global food crisis spawned by climate change and variability."
The application of scientific interventions to improve the productivity of crops is not new. For more than 80 years, mutagens such as X-rays, gamma radiation and chemicals have been used to produce plant varieties that are disease-resistant or best suited to conditions such as high altitude or saline soil. The IAEA has worked with radiation technology to induce mutation in plants since the 1960s. Today the technology is being used worldwide.
The process of mutation induction in plants emulates spontaneous mutations found in nature, which over millions of years have allowed the development of domesticated crops. But the scientific approach using induced mutations to develop superior varieties is at a greatly accelerated pace. To date 2700 mutant crop varieties have been officially released, many of them in developing countries, with enormous socio-economic benefit to local communities.
The Symposium is open to journalists.
Those wishing to attend should contact Ms. Angela Leuker at: Email: A.Leuker@iaea.org; telephone: [+43-1] 2600-22627.
Press BriefingExperts participating in the Symposium on the contribution scientifically driven crop improvement and selection can make to the current global food and energy crisis, will brief journalists in Vienna.
The Press Briefing will take place on 12 August, 12:00 in room B0438 at the headquarters of the IAEA, Wagramer Strasse 5, Vienna.